Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Could Take Him For All He's Worth

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from your account without having to close it, but most banks have a limit on the maximum amount of funds that can be withdrawn in any given day - but if you close the account, you can take it all.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!  :)

23 comments:

Amanda Heady said...

I used to work at a bank and I have seen this happen first hand.
A husband seperated from his wife was totally destroyed when he noticed all the money she had withdrawn from their account. She could actually have ruined his credit if the account was outstanding. However, I think their lawyers were able to prove it all out. Just a pain. It is also a pain to go from a joint account to a single.

Christina said...

That is crazy. We're in the process of moving things together right now and we both have had our parents on one account from when we were kids and they won't let you remove a person from the account without them being present...but you can close it? Weird.

Stacey said...

He won't be surprised with that thought coming from you.

Nicole-Lynn said...

Gosh what a pain! I'm in the process of switching over to my fiance's bank and having a joint account since we just bought our first home and are getting married in a couple months. I called and have opened a savings account at his bank and will have to wait for some things to clear in my account before completely switching over to his but gosh, this is all such a pain.

You're so right, you definitely have to trust your spouse/partner 100%!

Neely said...

LOL I love this post!

The Mrs. said...

I hate changing banks, it's a serious pain in the butt. When Ryan was at basic Bank of America was declining his deposits from the AF and he wasn't getting paid. Finance made him open another account, we have 3 accounts with them at the moment because I'm so nervous that I'm forgetting an auto deduct.

Rebekah said...

I hated changing banks. When we first married, I still had my own account, but I then switched to Dylan's bank because it was USAA. I've heard horror stories of things like that happening on base. Especially while the husband is deployed. It breaks my heart to think about how they can do that? My bank account had my mom's name on it since I was a teen when I opened it and when I closed it, I had to have her sign off on it. She didn't have to go in, but I had to bring paperwork to her since she didn't live there anymore.

Danielle said...

It's crazy right?! I used to work for Chase Bank and the policy is the same. I would imagine it's the same at most banks. Convenient for us HONEST people. But I definitely saw occassions where one half of a divorcing couple would close the account and take everything in it.

Laura said...

ewwwwie.... thats creepy. can't believe it was that easy...

Rissy said...

hahaha that probably would have been my first thought too...

I think there is definitely a whole lot of trust involved when money comes into play.

Maybe I'll be a huge sketchball and keep my own little private account hehe (evil laugh)


CarissaExplainsItAll

Ashley said...

Surprisingly I know a handful of people that this has happened to. It sucks too and really doesn't make sense.
It wasn't too much of a pain for us to switch since we didn't share accounts and he was allergic to online banking haha =)

Jessica said...

Woah, I would have never even thought of this! That's super scary. :/

Mateya said...

That is so crazy! I had no idea you could do that, hmm... :)

But yeah, changing banks is a huge pain in the butt when you do automatic payments for things.

Sarah said...

Haha! See, I would have been furious that he would HAVE to sign to close the account! I hate feeling like everyone thinks I'm going to screw my husband over... I understand that it DOES happen, but isn't that like punishing the many for the actions of the few? I can't stand that.

Chardonnay said...

Marriage opens all kinds of doors!! I was surprised when I could call my credit card company the other day and have my husband added to the account - affecting his credit score - basically without his permission!

Nicole said...

Oddly enough I knew that was possible... my mom used to work at a bank. And at the same time... bank personnel can't see your spouse in the bank and you at the grocery store and say oh I saw your husband at the bank yesterday because if you didn't know your spouse was there and they were withdrawing all your money, the bank personnel can get in trouble for telling you. (I think I worded that so it makes sense)

Megan said...

That is very scary!! I never even thought about that before.

Sonya said...

That seems crazy! I'm sort of surprised that more banks haven't changed their rules on that.

Squirmy said...

That's crazy. We've just opened a joint account and it was a total pain in the backside! Seems crazy that when it's so awkward to set up the account it's so easy to close it!

Kristi said...

That is terrifying!...truly one of my biggest fears and why our accounts are separate and I have no authorized users other than myself!

Bryan & Chelsey said...

Wow, that's crazy! I never knew that! Good to know though! ;)

Jessica @ Acting Adult said...

That's so odd that you need two signatures to open the account but only one to close it! You'd think it would be the same for both transactions.

d.a.r. said...

I agree-that's totally nuts!!



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