Dear Policy Setters at BECU and Chase,
Most of the time, I don’t think much about banking, what banks we put our money in, that sort of thing. It’s just one of the things we do as adult citizens, right? You put your money in, the bank lends out a portion of it to finance people’s homes and businesses and whatnot, and they keep a certain percentage of it on hand for when you need to use it.
We maintain accounts at both BECU and Chase bank. We prefer the service and stability of BECU, but since they don’t have teller services near us, we keep one of our old checking accounts at Chase active. Our Chase account was opened nearly two decades ago; the BECU accounts are more recent. Our savings accounts are at BECU; we use the Chase account primarily for paying a couple of bills each month.
At the beginning of July, we had the opportunity to purchase a tractor for our new farm. It was one of those opportunities that shows up out of the blue and won’t last long, and so we went for it. It was a Saturday, so the only BECU branch near us with teller services wasn’t open… but Chase was.
I went to a BECU branch in Lake Stevens that has account representatives and got a cashier’s check made out to myself, and took it across the street to the Chase branch to cash it. I had my infant son and toddler with me, so this was no minor undertaking. I remember thinking, “Why do we keep our money in two separate banks, now that WAMU has crashed and Chase took it over? We’re not worried about Chase crashing… why don’t we just keep all the money in one place? I’ll have to think about it after I get this check cashed and the tractor purchased. Who needs BECU, anyway?”
But… Chase wouldn’t cash the check.
I talked to the manager. She said that it was not ‘guaranteed funds’. I pointed out that it was a cashier’s check – did she think that BECU couldn’t cover it?
She said that I might have altered the check. I asked her to call over to the BECU branch and talk to the rep that had just issued it not ten minutes ago, and confirm that it was valid.
She said I might put a “stop order” on it, and then Chase would be out the funds. I’d have to wait for it to clear before they’d cash it for me. I asked her to take a look at my account record – it goes back nearly 20 years! – and pointed out that I’d been a reliable customer for a very long time and had never pulled any such monkey business before. Plus, they know where I live. If I were going to pull a criminal act like that, I sure wouldn’t do it for such a small amount. She was adamant. Cash that check She Would Not.
Back to BECU I went. In the parking lot, I called my husband, who said that the tractor’s owner would take a cashier’s check if he couldn’t have cash. The BECU employees were very helpful; they didn’t charge me anything to reissue the check in a different name, and were gratifyingly upset that Chase wouldn’t honor their check.
So – here’s where I’m at. BECU treated me like royalty. They were very patient with me and my children, even when my baby melted down at the account rep’s desk, and when I had to come back and get a new check right at closing time… they were terrific. We purchased our tractor with no more glitches, and have been getting all sorts of work done.
Chase, on the other hand, did everything they could to alienate a long-time customer. Way to make me feel like a criminal, Chase! I mean, it isn’t enough that I’ve had an account at your bank for, hello, going on 20 years, and have been a reliable customer with money in the bank and no funny stuff going on?
Nope – let’s face it: I tried to cash a check for well under the daily reportable cash limit that was, like it or not, guaranteed funds, and your rationale for not providing that basic banking service was that I MIGHT be a crook even though you knew I wasn’t.
To make it even richer, I received two different solicitations from Chase yesterday and today: one for a car loan and one for ‘free cash’ if I’d just open a savings account there with a significant balance. Why would I entrust any more of my money to Chase? They obviously don’t trust – or even value – me.
Who needs Chase, anyway?