Over the past four months, Steven and I have been in the process of changing banks. And yes, I said four months. I *hate* changing banks. We pay so many of our bills through automatic drafts or online payments that changing banks requires me to update about 15 accounts online with the new routing and account information. What a pain!
To be honest, I was quite lazy with the process. I decided to keep our old account with Bank of America open until I was 100% certain that all automatic draft & online payment accounts had been updated. So for four months I managed an account with Bank of America and BBT. Again - what a pain!
Finally, I had enough and I sat down one afternoon and checked every account to make sure the correct bank information was on file. I left the BofA account open for another two weeks just to make sure no unexpected activity cleared and when I was satisfied that all was well, I stopped by our local Bank of American to kindly request to close our joint account.
Because of our class/work schedules, it wasn't possible for Steven & I to go to the bank together. I was fully prepared to sign all the necessary paperwork to close the account and have the bank associate tell me that my husband needed to stop by to sign the closing documentation as well and then we could withdraw the remaining funds from our account and it would be closed.
Imagine my surprise when after signing only one document the bank associate asked me if I would prefer cash or cashier's check for the funds in our joint checking & joint savings account.
"Cashier's check will be fine. Wait....my husband doesn't have to authorize the closing of these accounts even though it's a joint account in his name?" To which the associate responded, "No. Two signatures are required to open the account - but only one is necessary to close it."
Red flags began to fly all over the place. This policy makes it incredibly easy for one spouse to completely screw the other. Imagine how easy it would be for me to go the bank, withdraw all our money, close the accounts and skip town. I guess in theory you could withdraw all the money from your account without having to close it, but most banks have a limit on the maximum amount of funds that can be withdrawn in any given day - but if you close the account, you can take it all.
Considering that I wasn't planning to screw my husband, but rather immediately deposit the cashier's check into our new joint account at BBT, I accepted the cashier's check with a clear conscience.
But still...how scary is it what someone could get away with? I guess you really better trust your spouse if you plan to maintain assets together!
And yes, it probably should concern my husband that my immediate thoughts were how easy it would be to take him for all he's worth! :)