Over the past year, I have three times received an out-of-state check for more than $5,000. Yes, very lucky of me, I know! Sadly, it’s not typical for my monthly income, but those little blips upward have been nice. Ish.
I have to add that “ish” because on those occasions when my monthly income check has been above $5,000, my credit union has placed a nine business day hold on that check. Business days don’t include weekends, so when I deposited my check for more than $5,000 at the credit union today, a Monday, I was told I couldn’t actually use the money in that deposit until next Friday. That’s in December, eleven actual days from now. Back in September, I had the misfortune of making a deposit on a Friday before a week with a national holiday in it, which meant I had to sit and wait for fourteen calendar days — two whole weeks — before I could access my deposit. In each circumstance I’ve run into like this, the credit union has been “so kind” as to grant me 100 measly dollars of my deposit to use for these 11-14 day periods. Jeesh! I’m not made out of extra money, and sometimes I can’t afford to wait that long.
When I asked the tellers and (more than once) the managers of the credit union why I had to wait so long to use my own money that had been deposited, the consistent response was first that the credit union had to find out whether the bank cutting my check actually had the money for deposit. The backup response, when I asked why in the Internet age it took 11-14 days for one bank to communicate with another, was simply that “this is our policy.”
Well, today I finally had it. Even with a cashier’s check from a bank, my credit union still told me I’d have to wait 11-14 days to access the deposited moneys. That just didn’t sound right, and this time I was going to do something about it. I called up Mr. Truth for a little assistance.
Mr. Truth helpfully pointed me to a number of items. The first is the Check 21 Act, aka the “Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act.” My credit union is a participant in this system, which introduces fully electronic transmission of check information, greatly speeding up the process. Under this new system, it should not take 11 to 14 days for my credit union to obtain verification of sufficient funds in a check’s originating account.
The second item Mr. Truth pointed me to is the Expedited Funds Availability Act. Codified in U.S. Code Title 12 Chapter 41 and realized in the Code of Federal Regulations, the law says that at least $5000 of the balance my out-of-state check has to be made available to me within five business days. That’s not what my credit union has been doing, and “any federal credit union or credit union insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund” must abide by the law.
The third item Mr. Truth pointed me to is the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) website, on which a body can find out if one’s credit union is either a federal credit union or a credit union insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. Mine is the latter, and therefore must abide by the above law.
Thank you, Mr. Truth! Thanks to you, I went back armed with this information and cornered my credit union into acting within the bounds of the law. My deposit? Cleared. If you find yourself in a similar situation, Mr. Truth can help you, too. Mr. Truth will set your deposit free.