Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Change of Banking Institution…ABORT! ABORT!

Okay, so I get this bright idea.

WHEREAS my otherwise excellent credit union is a 40-minute round-trip from the Funny Farm; and

WHEREAS my pretend-employer, a certain Vast Community College District, waited eight (8) months to let us know it had released all of our personal information (including our names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, bank routing numbers, bank account numbers, employment histories going back to our first jobs, and every single college-level course we have taken from freshman year all the way through the Ph.D.) to hackers who put said information up on the Internet for sale to the highest bidder; and

WHEREAS I don’t trust the bastards to direct-deposit to my NEW! checking account without forking the relevant data over to their crook friends;

WHEREAS the last time I tried to deposit checks electronically it took 40 minutes to upload a $20 check from Medicare and I gave up after an hour of trying to upload the community college’s piddling $350 paycheck; and

WHEREAS at $60/hour I can NOT afford that kind of opportunity cost,

THEREFORE I decided to move my checking account from its present home in a local credit union, whose nearest branch is on the way to nothing anyone in their right mind would choose to visit unless they were employed by the Great Desert University, to another local credit union that has a branch right in the middle of my beaten path.

Oh, how grand (thought I) it would be to have an account at the Desert Schools Credit Union, where I could deposit the endless flow of stupid goddamn paper checks as I’m running my regular errands.

Sounds almost reasonable, doesn’t it?

heh heh heh heh heh…. It does, if you’re not living in a Monty Python Show.

You will recall that because of the community-college-district fiasco referenced above (second WHEREAS), I had to put a freeze on all three credit bureau accounts.

Now, you know and I know that to open a bank account these days, you have to subject yourself to a full-blown credit check. Right? For the prospective banker to accomplish this, he/she/it has to be able to access your accounts at one or more (preferably all three) credit bureaus. This makes a certain twisted, Big-Brotherish sense, right?

So, I go over to the Desert Schools Credit Union, explain the deal, and remark that if they want to proceed with this, I’ll need to go home and remove all the freezes on the three credit bureau files. I ask if this is REALLY necessary, though I believe I know the answer.

But apparently they don’t.

In Trip to the Credit Union the First, an exceptionally gorgeous CSR (o god, black curly hair and sapphire blue eyes and the sweetest manly smile: hevvin help us!) says ohhhhhhhh NO problem. No, we don’t need to do a full credit search. All that needs to happen is you give us a phone number where we can reach you and if we can confirm that then we can move ahead.

But alas, His Gorgeousness is not a permanent employee of the branch but is only standing in because the regular dude in that office is out sick. He says I should come back with the amount I would like to deposit in cash and checks and see a young woman we shall call Ms. Greene. On this particular day, I have not shown up with either money nor checks, but these are easy to marshal.

The next day I present myself to Ms. Greene with $3,000 worth of undepositable checks and cash rebates from the Costco Amex. She says that since I don’t have a cell phone, she must call my land line at home to confirm I’m who I say I am.

Reflecting silently on the idiocy of this (THINK about it! 😀 ), I say fine. She says “Call me this afternoon at your convenience and I’ll call you back.”

I do call her; reach her voicemail; she doesn’t call back until after 5:00 p.m., and, she informs me, she has the following day off. Will I come in the day after that (today, Wednesday)? I say OK, and find a place to hide the cash and checks.

Today I show up there and, after another 20- or 30-minute wait, once again she claims her computer doesn’t work. I point out that this is probably because the credit bureaus have a freeze on my (totally unasked-for) accounts. She says she will talk to her manager.

Another 15- or 20-minute wait ensues, during which I am painfully conscious that the bank probably has a camera staring at me, since we are supposed to not be bothered that privacy is a thing of the past.

Finally she drags back into her office, looking like a whipped puppy. Now she says that because I have a freeze on all three credit bureau files, they can’t do anything until I unfreeze them. She looks so woebegone that I refrain from remarking that I’ve now been told not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES that it’s unnecessary for me to do this.

Time to cut my losses.

I drive to my existing credit union, 20 minutes up the freeway, and deposit the cash and checks I’ve been dragging around for the past week or 10 days. I ask the teller if she could please remark to management about the despair caused to at least one customer by the stubbbornness of their online check deposit software. She cheerfully says she’ll pass that report on to the IT department.


By the time the third meeting with the Desert Schools Credit Union people was wrapping up, I realized none of them could tell their bung from a hole in the ground. Ms. Greene seriously thought I was going to traipse back to her precincts for the FOURTH time, sit around for 20 minutes for the FOURTH time, and take  a FOURTH chance that maybe she could manage to figure out how to open an account for me.


Sometimes other people’s incompetence makes mine look good.


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Author: funny

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  1. I know I don’t have all the details, but I can’t help but feel that you’re way overreacting to the info breach that happened 8 months ago. There are ways to manage this other than completely destroying your entire financial system and trying to move it 3 steps to the left. I get that your employer totally effed up, but it took them 8 months to tell you about it and in that time you saw no ill effect right? So a few reasonable precautions should be in order, but burning down the village just in case seems like overkill to me.

    • Yeah, but the reason we haven’t felt a lot of repercussions yet is that data thieves typically wait a year or two to use this kind of information. After the dust has settled and people think the coast is clear, that’s when the fraud starts.

      And I haven’t even tried to file my income taxes yet. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone else has filed and collected a refund in my name. Or if they do so next year.

      I’ve done what was advised by the fraud investigator at American Express, the manager of the Arizona State Credit Union, and a CSR in the fraud department of one of the major credit bureaus. If just one of them had said to proceed to freeze all credit bureau files, I might have shrugged it off. But all three of them? Independently? That sounds pretty credible.

      This was a major data breach. In my case, the hackers have the following information:
      my name
      my address
      my Social Security number
      my date of birth
      my telephone number
      my e-mail address
      the name of my S-corporation
      the date of the company’s incorporation
      the company’s address and phone number
      my bank routing number
      my bank account number (actually, they don’t have that because we killed that account and opened a new one under a new number)
      my employment history dating back to 1979
      my entire educational history, including a list of every college-level course I have ever taken from freshman year all the way through the Ph.D.
      a list of all my publications
      a list of every course I’ve ever taught

      And on and on. That’s enough, I’m afraid, to set off a fairly loud alarm bell. {sigh}

    • And also, waitaminit: I’m not burning down the village just now. All I want to do is move my checking account to an institution that’s an 8-minute drive from my house and is in the vicinity of stores that I frequent, rather than sticking with one that is 20 to 30 minutes from my house (a 40-minute to one-hour round trip) by freeway in a part of town that has NOTHING else to attract my commerce.

      Not that I don’t love the institution I’m with. Just that its location is an inconvenience.

  2. I recently went to open a savings account. I waited about 5 minutes then an employee came over and led me to her desk. She had me sit down and said she’d be right back. The desk was pretty messy and sitting right in front of me on the desk was a loan application a previous customer had completed with all their confidential info including social security number and bank accounts, name, address, etc. I decided not to give any confidential information to an employee that leaves that kind of paperwork just sitting on her desk for anyone to see. So I got up and left.

    • LOL! That was kind of the response I had: “If you can’t do better than this for someone who proposes to move 22 grand to your august institution, what on earth are you gonna do once you have me in your clutches?” 😆

  3. I share your “angst”….there seems to be no sense of urgency today in business. One has to wonder if these folks really care that they are losing customers. With ya on the security breach….I go over my statements every month with a fine tooth comb. DF and his wife had their identity “stolen” a couple of years back AND they still have problems popup. Then they have to provide a bunch of documentation….etc… At the risk of getting ya stirred up….any chance you could bank by mail at the credit union to save gas? Mine used to give me envelopes already stamped for just such a purpose.

    • Yah, I’ve been TRYING to bank by mail. The problem is, their software sucks.

      After an hour of trying to get that $350 check deposited electronically — which followed the 40 minutes required to get the piddling $20 check deposited electronically — I had arrived at the hair-tearing stage.

      In the olden days, my CU used to provide stamped envelopes, too. No more of that!

      The time they lost about $1,000 in checks I snail-mailed in for deposit to the S-Corp’s checking account was the last time I tried mailing checks to the credit union.

  4. Yeah, having to drive several miles and minutes out of my way to make a deposit would make me pretty unhappy, too. Sorry you couldn’t open an account elsewhere. That’s just ridiculous what they put you through for nothing!

    • LOL! Actually, I just finished a wad of bill-paying and bookkeeping and thought…jeez, I’m glad I’m not having to juggle a new account in with all this ditz.

      The truth is, there IS a Costco up in that general direction. And where is it written that every stupid little check has to be deposited within X number of hours after it hits your mailbox? This morning I unearthed a little basket from the debris in the back of the closet and set it on the desk to collect checks.

      Whenever I go to Costco and happen to have some checks, I’ll just drive up to THAT outlet, stopping at the credit union on the way. Voila. Gas economized (sort of); nicer outlet of Costco patronized; two birds kilt with one stone.

  5. I don’t have the patience to deal with incompetent banks. I remember how much of an ordeal closing my Chase account was at a branch in Midtown East Manhattan. The lady just went on and on about why I was closing. I finally had to tell her I just didn’t believe in big banks that screw the consumer and she finally gave up.

    When my husband dumped Chase a year later at a different location, the employee didn’t even care. I guess it depends on who you get!