Seven Days of Things that Bug Me - Day Six, 3.18.10
Friday, March 19, 2010
This one is really easy, because I just went through it today.
I am the Trustee for an account and have the authority to appoint a many co-trustees as I want, under the terms of the Trust. This is a family Trust, and I wanted my brother to have access to the account so that either one of us could take care of financial affairs for the Trust.
He lives in North Carolina and I live in Missouri. I went to my local bank, told them what I wanted, and they told me it was not possible.
That stumped me. There is a branch of this national bank in my hometown and a branch of this same bank in his hometown, so what was the problem?
"We have to identify both of you". OK. You can identify me and the bank in North Carolina can ID my brother. You've ID'd both of us. Why can't we add him as a signer?
"ITS AGAINST BANK POLICY"
That's what bugs me. I thought that the whole job of taking care of a customer was to find a way to get it done.
I continued to be a pest, asking how the bank could accommodate a good customer (mortgage, both IRA's a 401(k), a decent savings account and some decent CD's.
"Well, . . . I guess I could call customer service." Really, it's going to be a strain to pick up the telephone and call your National Customer Service line? Whoopee.
National Customer service says they can do it. They will send me a form to be notarized in the presence of the banker and will send the same form to my brother. We will then send the completed form to Customer Service and they will add him as a signer.
Isn't that essentially what I had suggested?
Never mind, we were going to California on vacation and he was going there for a conference, we could meet up there, go into the local branch at the same time and get it done that way.
We go to California - he drives north from San Diego, we drive south from Newport Beach. We go into the local branch, let them know what we want to do. "No problem", says the banker. She asks for a bank debit card or credit card to pull the account up.
"Uh-oh." What, uh-oh?
"Well, your account was opened in another state." OK, so?."Well, California is on a different system then where you opened the account and our system can't communicate with their system."
California, Oregon and Idaho are on a different system than all the other states the Bank has branches? "Yes, I feel really badly for you, but there's nothing I can do about it?"
Right. a National bank that has two different banking systems that can't even communicate with each other? Maybe that's why the bank had to take TARP money - to buy the computers so the whole system could operate together. I kind of thought that was part of the service of having an account at a nationwide business. Guess not.
We are both in Nevada, in a town that has a branch of that bank. A telephone call revealed that they could indeed get him on the signature card.
We got to the bank at 10 AM, waited for about a half an hour because of the number of people in front of us who had business with the personal bankers.
Our turn came and we went into the bankers office,showed my ID, gave her a copy of the trust and a copy of the death certificate. The banker looked over the Trust document and you could see her go into suspicious mode. "If our step-dad had passed away in May of last year, why were we only now getting around to adding my brother to the account?"
Not that it was any of her business, but I had found I needed more help to handle all of the things associated with the Trust. I wanted him on the signature card so he could also pay bills, talk to lawyers, etc. "Well, I'll need to see the Banking Center Manager." She takes all of the documents plus our ID. My brothers DL and his military retiree ID card and my DL and Veterans Admin ID card. I looked at my brother and asked, "Be straight with me, did I forget to use deodorant this morning"?
He had to turn away and cover his mouth with his hand to keep from laughing out loud.
The banking center manager read every page of the Trust and then accompanied the banker back to her desk. "The trust doesn't say anything about whether a co-trustee has the authority to be on an account." But then again, it didn't say one couldn't and as co-trustee he has all the authority to buy and sell stocks, etc,. as the original Grantor - which would indicate that it was something that would be needed in order to accomplish.
"We'll have to call legal."
Isn't this where you're supposed to read us our Miranda rights? Can we call our attorney? WTF?
Legal is consulted in another state completely on the other side of the country. Legal needs a copy of the Trust and a copy of the appointment.
The Trust is about 40 pages, plus the bank's cover sheet. It's now 1:30 PM.
Legal takes their sweet time reading the Trust, then comes back and says, "Because of the way the Trust is worded, the appointment as Co-Trustee must state that the Co-trustee has signing rights on any and all accounts, so the original Appointment is not valid".
My eyes are closed and my lashes are starting to curl back into my eyelids. The is the faintest whisper of smoke. What should the assignment say, Exactly how should it be worded?
OK, got it. we'll drive back out in the country to the house, re-do the appointment and come back to the bank. It should take us about an hour.
"Oh good. That will give me time to go to lunch. If anything comes up, I'll be here until six, though".
She almost beat us out the door.
Back to the house. re-did assignment to comply with the bank's legal department, grabbed a sandwich and headed back to town. Back into the bank and another half hour wait as people in front of us were taken care of.
OK. Showed the banker the document. She called the manager over to look at it and it was approved. We started to sign the document and the banker says, "That has to be signed before a notary, don't do it now"!
Uh, aren't you a Notary? "Well, yes, but I can only notarize bank documents."
Your legal department required this document to be re-done in a specific way, which we did to comply with the requirement of your legal department, and this doesn't qualify as a bank document? "Nope, it doesn't have a bank form number."
A deep breath, the smell of smoke is stronger. My brother puts his hand on my shoulder and asks brightly, well, do you know of another notary in town? Yes she does and she happily gives us the address.
We go to this notary's place of business, enter, and on the wall is a plaque that says, "Notary Services. Five dollars for each signature witnessed. OK, ten bucks, but we've got to have it.
She gets her book out copies down all the ID info and we sign the document. We need to have two originals, so we sign the second original. She goes . . . . "Uh, . . . "
I look up, look back down at the second original I had just signed and said, "One document, two signatures, two originals. Twenty bucks?"
That was right.
Most expensive notary service I ever paid for. But it was necessary.
Back to the bank, only waited 10 minutes this time.
Gave her the documents. Turns out she has to fax them back to legal for one last approval. We wait. The banker comes back after faxing the docs and calls legal. Just a minute while I get it from the fax. OK, I've read it and it's OK, but you'll need for the manager to sign that the signature card was completed correctly.
FINALLY! Everything was done. We could leave and go back to the house. It was 6:10 PM.
A shade over eight hours to fight our way through a bureaucracy of, "I really don't care what you want or how inconvenient it has already been to take care of this issue, but We got you through all the hoops we wanted you to jump through.
Want to know the icing on the cake? I worked for this institution as a banker and could have done the work entirely by myself. I knew exactly in which section of the Rules and Procedures Book where the relevant directions were. As a personal banker, I could have completed it all in 40 minutes.
It obviously Bugs me when not only can't a person do their job, but their boss doesn't know, either. Then, their legal department is so spooked THEY have a special set of hoops for you to jump through.
I have another bank that I've been doing business with for over forty years. When I get home, I'm going to start moving our mortgage and accounts to my other bank.
They like me so much that even though they don't have a branch in my town - or in my state, they accept for deposit a check emailed to them front and back and endorsed by me. When they received the check, they called me to confirm and deposited it into my account immediately.