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Bank policy frustrates grieving family
ABC7.com ^ | July 30,2008 | KABC

Posted on 07/31/2008 6:15:26 AM PDT by kms61

HEMET, Calif. (KABC) -- He gave his life serving this country in the war zone of Afghanistan. But a local bank has refused to cash the government check to pay for his burial. Now his family is fighting back. Navy Corpsman Marc Retmier was the 500th Californian to die in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had dreams of coming home to Hemet to become a doctor. Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch the accompanying video to this story. But now his family says a controversy involving a bank and his bereavement check is adding an insult to their tragedy. The family of 19-year-old Navy Medic Marc Retmier told Eyewitness News they were stunned when they told by their bank branch manager that they would have to wait nearly two weeks before they could have access to their son's bereavement funds -- money they needed to pay for his funeral services. The family says the two $50,000 checks from the U.S. Treasury could have been verified with a phone call. However, according to the Retmiers, the Hemet branch of Downey Savings and Loan refused to budge. "He did what he believed in doing," said Joy Retmier, Marc's mother. "And they said he was the best of the best, and I believe that. And I

(Excerpt) Read more at abclocal.go.com ...


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: California; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bereavement; check; marcretmier; navy; son

1 posted on 07/31/2008 6:15:26 AM PDT by kms61
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To: kms61

I bet this is resolved by noon today with sufficient emails and phone calls to the bank’s management.


2 posted on 07/31/2008 6:18:39 AM PDT by mgc1122
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To: kms61

From a banker? Must have been this guy!...........

3 posted on 07/31/2008 6:19:42 AM PDT by Red Badger (If we drill deep enough, we can reach the Saudi oil fields from THIS side..........)
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To: kms61
Two weeks is not a long time to wait for life insurance.

Most funeral homes will wait for their money or take a credit card.

It took nearly three weeks for my husband's insurance money last year.

I think that their grief is clouding their thinking.

I thank this family for their sacrifice.

4 posted on 07/31/2008 6:23:04 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek
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To: kms61

5 posted on 07/31/2008 6:24:49 AM PDT by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: kms61

Downey Savings & Loan.

Hello Chuck Schumer? Want to run your mouth for a GOOD cause for once in your life?


6 posted on 07/31/2008 6:28:58 AM PDT by mkjessup
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To: kms61

Sad as it is- the bank’s holding of significant amounts of funds form deposited checks- is related to combatting money laundering and terrorist financing. When they do that to me, I grit my teeth and try to remember 9-11 and why we now have some of the changes we do.

BTW- they didn’t need even one $50K check to pay for a funeral. Mom and Dad hopefully will take a chill pill and collect their son’s insurance in 14 days, and stop bludgeoning a bank manager who is following the law.


7 posted on 07/31/2008 6:32:26 AM PDT by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: Coldwater Creek

You said it beetter than I did- the parents have grief brain. But fie on the reporter who made a sensational story out of this. There are no winners here.


8 posted on 07/31/2008 6:34:01 AM PDT by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: kms61
The implicit claim that it takes two weeks to verify that the check won't bounce* or turne out to be a forgery is preposterous on its face. Clearly, the bank has a policy of stringing its customers along for what amounts to an interest-free loan (while, no doubt, immediately tallying up any transactions in the other direction in order to collect an overdraft fee every time they get a chance to bump debits ahead of credits in the processing queue).

*Yeah, I know, insert joke about the US Government's fiscal situation

9 posted on 07/31/2008 6:34:30 AM PDT by steve-b (Intelligent design is to evolutionary biology what socialism is to free-market economics.)
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To: mgc1122
It has already been resolved.
The family took the checks to a credit union and got them cashed.

That said, the bank could have made a phone call and verified the checks, especially since these people were already customers for 10 years.

10 posted on 07/31/2008 6:35:22 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: silverleaf
Sad as it is- the bank’s holding of significant amounts of funds form deposited checks- is related to combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.

Bravo Sierra! Verifying that a US Government check isn't connected to some shadowy money-laundering scheme is trivial, if the bank chooses to do so. They choose not to, for reasons explained in my previous message.

11 posted on 07/31/2008 6:36:14 AM PDT by steve-b (Intelligent design is to evolutionary biology what socialism is to free-market economics.)
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To: Just another Joe

Bank of America does stupid things like this. Any check over 500 or so is held for 10-14 days even though I have more than enough to cover in the many accounts I have there; where I have been a customer for 10 years at least. Policy policy policy I guess. Doesn’t bother me, but I can see where it will bother some people greatly.


12 posted on 07/31/2008 6:39:44 AM PDT by commonguymd (A de facto single party country is nigh. The partisan bickering is a mere bilking mechanism.)
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To: kms61

First, condolences to the family. However, this seems like an overreaction to me. Any bank is going to be concerned when a party wants to cash $100,000 in checks. Aren’t credit unions or S&L’s more on the line to their members should the checks turn out to be bogus? They claim the bank could have verified the funds with a phone call but who to call and how may not have been that clear. How many of us can get through to the necessary party in the government at the spur of the moment?

As another poster pointed out, all they had to do is deposit the checks and then notify the funeral home and they doubtless would have been able to provide whatever kind of funeral they wanted. It sounds like they got the funeral but are just angry at the delay in getting the funds.

I fully understand the frustration and the effect of grief but they are jumping on the litigation bandwagon way too fast and trashing a credit union whose rules were in place long before this incident. Please, let this not be another Cindy Sheehan in the making.


13 posted on 07/31/2008 6:43:48 AM PDT by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things)
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To: silverleaf
top bludgeoning a bank manager who is following the law.

Following the law? That's a funny way of looking at this. The law, which was written by bankers (and their blood sucking lawyers) ALLOWS banks to hold the funds from certain classes of checks for various lengths of time. BUT THE LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE A BANK TO HOLD FUNDS.

So, saying the branch manager is following the law by holding the funds is bank spin.

But I agree with others who have posted that the funeral home will wait for their money if they know the family is waiting for funds to clear the bank. So, there really shouldn't have been any panic over this matter.

14 posted on 07/31/2008 6:45:55 AM PDT by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: kms61

One Bank that I once dealt with with was particularly unscrupulous in the use of this loophole which legalises CHECK KITEING by the banks. Even though I had had an accout with US Bank for years, even though my need to cash Checks over $5,000.00 was rare, and those checks were certainly not overtly suspicious, US Bank would always hold such checks for the 11 days they are permitted by law and often sveral days longer. The overdraft fees alone that they get from unsuspecting victims must amount to multi millions for the banks.


15 posted on 07/31/2008 6:54:17 AM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: mgc1122

or another bank will step up


16 posted on 07/31/2008 6:57:32 AM PDT by purpleraine
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To: nkycincinnatikid

We left bank of america after they took 17 days to clear a check. Union Bank in Oceanside has never held a check more than 6 days and that was a large out-of-state check.


17 posted on 07/31/2008 6:58:59 AM PDT by purpleraine
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To: savedbygrace

perhaps a banker will weigh into this discussion about the financial reporting provisions of the Patriot Act and the Bank Secrey Act- both of which levied reporting requirements on banks and led to special treatment of withdrawals in excess of $10,000

It is not something a bank would lobby for- having to profile customers and collect and report information to the US Govt

There are new (since 9-11) rules about banking transactions in excess of $10,000, including those by customers for whom such large transactions are out of their normal profile.

I have been through this several times when depositing large checks. Banks do have some flexibility in developing their own policies in how to comply with the federal laws and acts. Soemtimes we dont find out what they are until we experience them. If we don’t like them, if we think the holds are excessive, we change banks.

But few of us who aren’t normally high rollers are going to walk into any bank and cash two checks for $100K and walk out. The credit union that did this- might seem like nice guys- but maybe they should be questioned by shareholders for making rules by the seat of their pants.

It is curious that pointing this out has led to me being called a bullshitter and otherwise reviled


18 posted on 07/31/2008 6:59:38 AM PDT by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: caseinpoint

The bank is being an a—. It could have cleared say 10,000 from one check to handle the expenses.


19 posted on 07/31/2008 7:00:45 AM PDT by purpleraine
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To: purpleraine

Don’t know if you can partially clear one check. Had the parents deposited the checks, then perhaps it could have authorized $10k charges but apparently the parents were trying to cash both checks, not deposit them. At least that’s how I read the article.


20 posted on 07/31/2008 7:04:36 AM PDT by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things)
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To: caseinpoint
My bank shows the full deposit and makes only partial funds available immediately if they are holding the check. Union Bank.

When faced with a government check and a grieving family, the manager should have stood up on his hind legs and done the right thing. Sometimes policy is an a--.

21 posted on 07/31/2008 7:06:46 AM PDT by purpleraine
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To: Coldwater Creek

I agree with you. Two weeks is not that long. I imagine most bills will wait that long to be paid. Besides, the bank says two weeks to clear, but they can release the funds much sooner than that.


22 posted on 07/31/2008 7:09:44 AM PDT by rawhide
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To: silverleaf

AFAIK, the law allowing banks to hold funds deposited from certain classes of checks was NOT either of the two laws you cite.

If I’m wrong, I’ll certainly apologize.


23 posted on 07/31/2008 7:10:13 AM PDT by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: kms61

Time to find another bank! If your bank doesn’t have the time of day for a reasonable transaction, so that you may act appropriately, then act appropriately - get another bank.


24 posted on 07/31/2008 7:10:42 AM PDT by Issaquahking (Obama, the coming of the Antichrist.)
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To: kms61

There are hundreds of banks out there. Take your business elsewhere, and don’t make a big stink about it.


25 posted on 07/31/2008 7:11:39 AM PDT by WilliamReading
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To: Coldwater Creek; kms61; silverleaf
Two weeks is not a long time to wait for life insurance. Most funeral homes will wait for their money or take a credit card.
It took nearly three weeks for my husband's insurance money last year.
I think that their grief is clouding their thinking.
I thank this family for their sacrifice.

I watched the video clip. It appeared to me that the family already had two checks in hand from the government, and the bank wanted to put a hold on the deposited funds for two weeks! If that is accurate, it's pure BS. The bank just wanted to use the funds interest free (or at an extremely low rate) for that time period. Banks have gotten very good at moving money around very quickly. A three day hold to verify that the check was legit is plenty.

26 posted on 07/31/2008 7:12:07 AM PDT by rmh47 (Go Kats! - Got Seven? [NRA Life Member])
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To: silverleaf

Here’s the law:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode12/usc_sec_12_00004002——000-.html

Assuming the two checks were drawn on federal or State accounts, the funds should have been made available on the next business day after the day of deposit.


27 posted on 07/31/2008 7:15:51 AM PDT by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: purpleraine

You may be right but I don’t know all the details. Was the manager there at the time? This is vacation time and a lot of decision-makers might be out. I can see the frustration and perhaps some action needs to be taken in terms of changing that institution’s policies in the future, but calling publicity hound Gloria Allred in on this seems a tad over the line.


28 posted on 07/31/2008 7:19:27 AM PDT by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things)
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To: caseinpoint

I agree about Gloria Alred, I’m glad the credit union stepped up.


29 posted on 07/31/2008 7:30:52 AM PDT by purpleraine
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To: silverleaf
I don't understand why anyone would want to cash checks of that size anyway. It would make more sense to do a wire transfer to wherever you wanted the money to end up rather than carry around cash.

Carolyn

30 posted on 07/31/2008 7:35:16 AM PDT by CDHart ("It's too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the b@#$%^&s."--Claire Wolfe)
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To: commonguymd

It’s not a stupid policy for the bank- they make money holding checks. It is not necessary for them to hold checks that long to verify and it is a pain for customers. My bank clears funds as soon as they clear- it can be 1 day, or three days is about the longest time it takes now to clear a check. My bank says they can hold checks up to 10 days but really they release the funds to you as soon as the check is processed and they know the funds are there.


31 posted on 07/31/2008 7:46:07 AM PDT by Tammy8 (Please Support and pray for our Troops, as they serve us every day.)
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To: caseinpoint

It’s very easy to find out if a check is “good”. You call the issuing bank, ask to “verify funds”, then give them the checking acct number. In this case, I would assume it’s the treasury dept. A few minutes with our good friend google would have made this much easier on the family.

I say this as a person who “verifies funds” a lot, and as a bank customer who wanted cash for a very large check, drawn on the same bank. They “didn’t think they could do it...it’s very irregular”.. So, I told them I’d be happy to sit in their lobby and chat it up with the other bank customers, and voila! 10 minutes later, I walked out of there with my cash.

Banks need to remember that the money they hold is not their own personal fortune, it belongs to the depositors!


32 posted on 07/31/2008 7:55:53 AM PDT by blu (Last one out of Michigan, please turn off the lights.)
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To: blu

Most banks no longer verify funds. However, if you walk into the bank where the check is drawn and ask if you can cash it, you will find out then and there whether or not the check is good. A lot of banks may not allow you to walk in to the branch and cash a large check. Depending on the size of the branch and how much cash they keep in the vault, a large check may clean them out till the next shipment. At the bank I work for we ask for 2 days notice if you want to cash a large check so we can order the cash for you and not put us out.


33 posted on 07/31/2008 8:09:31 AM PDT by reformed_dem (libs should think of executions as just late, late, late, late term abortions)
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To: rawhide

Too right. Any and all checks (under $10,000), we request to be deposited as CASH. Since we hold accounts at the bank, they cannot deny us this, and the funds are available immediately.


34 posted on 07/31/2008 8:22:32 AM PDT by MJemison
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To: blu

I see your point but I wonder if there is anything to the fact this was an S&L, not a large bank like Wells Fargo or Bank of America. It could be its funds are not as liquid and it had to wait for the checks to clear. I just want more facts before I jump all over the S&L.


35 posted on 07/31/2008 10:55:09 AM PDT by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things)
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To: Coldwater Creek
Two weeks is not a long time to wait for life insurance.

Most funeral homes will wait for their money or take a credit card.

I think that their grief is clouding their thinking.

I thank this family for their sacrifice.

Quoted for truth.

36 posted on 07/31/2008 12:17:08 PM PDT by newzjunkey (Racist, Charismatic Leader Promises Hope, Change and Socialism? USA, 2008 or Germany, 1932?)
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To: rmh47

Such a hold on a large check is *NOT* unusual. They’re complaining about a standard business practice of the banking industry. I’ve seen five business-day holds on checks far smaller, a longer wait for two 50K checks is not unexpected.


37 posted on 07/31/2008 12:20:54 PM PDT by newzjunkey (Racist, Charismatic Leader Promises Hope, Change and Socialism? USA, 2008 or Germany, 1932?)
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To: caseinpoint
Even large banks will put a hold on. I suppose the number of days for the hold might be a factor that it's an S&L but Downey have over $13 billion in holdings and 50 years of being in business.

Bottom line here is people are upset ONLY because it involves a veteran's grieving family. If it were you or I unexpectedly needing to bury a loved one, no one would give us the time of day on this kind of story.

Death is not cheap. Even if they chose a no-frills cremation without ceremony, with a free burial at a national cemetery, it's likely to run $5000 or more in California. Of course, you can't forget the sales tax either.

38 posted on 07/31/2008 12:30:13 PM PDT by newzjunkey (Racist, Charismatic Leader Promises Hope, Change and Socialism? USA, 2008 or Germany, 1932?)
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To: kms61

It’s “Tear It Up” time, folks. Remember the character in the movie, “Glory?”

Tear it up.

Downey Savings
Location : Hemet Loan Center
1211 S. Sanderson, Suite B
Hemet, CA 92545
Branch Manager : Armando Martinez
Phone : 866-885-0889
Fax : 951-658-5513.

Michael D. Bozarth, Chairman
Gary W. Brummett, Vice Chairman
Michael B. Abrahams
James H. Hunter
Thomas E. Prince
Jane Wolfe

Who are these people? What are their political affilitations?

Call. Write. Fax. Tie up their comm lines. Tear it up.

http://ir.downeysavings.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=92306&p=irol-govhighlights


39 posted on 07/31/2008 12:54:39 PM PDT by combat_boots (She lives! 22 weeks, 9.5 inches. Go, baby, go!)
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To: combat_boots
We are a military family, and you are severely overreacting!
40 posted on 07/31/2008 1:19:53 PM PDT by Coldwater Creek
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To: Coldwater Creek

It’s their policy that’s being exercised. Not the law.

See Post #27.


41 posted on 07/31/2008 1:24:44 PM PDT by combat_boots (She lives! 22 weeks, 9.5 inches. Go, baby, go!)
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To: Coldwater Creek

By the way, so are we.


42 posted on 07/31/2008 3:30:24 PM PDT by combat_boots (She lives! 22 weeks, 9.5 inches. Go, baby, go!)
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To: kms61

Here are some details that I know for sure based on all the reports I have read and my knowledge of the banking industry:
1. The family did not want to cash the checks (the reports are wrong). The family only wanted to get an immediate $20,000 in cash. Therefore, you have to wonder how accurate the reports are.
2. The checks were Gov’t checks, but they were questionable because they were typed on a typewriter and personally signed (copies of the checks can be seen at ABC.com). Most Gov’t checks are pre-printed so I can see how the bank was a little concerned about their authenticity.
3. The bank did offer to release funds after verifying the issuance of the checks. The only reason this would have caused a problem is if it was after 5PM and the issuing office was closed (reports did say it was Friday, so it’s very possible it was after 5PM since banks open late on Friday).
4. Bank holds may be a little excessive, but banks have to wait for checks to clear just like customers, and sometimes banks don’t know a check is bad for several business days. Checks are just pieces of paper and banks take huge losses from cashing bad checks.
5. The Credit Union that ended up cashing the check was a Navy Credit Union. Of course they’ll cash it, it was a Navy check. Probably, because nobody else would.

My personal opinion is that the Retmier family were distraught and they probably were not ready for a small inconvenience. Even though the bank was prepared to help them, they probably were a little over-sensitive and did not want to have to wait. It’s unfortunate that the media (via Gloria Allred) have to make this into a big deal. Ultimately, the bank will probably suffer because of the negative publicity, even though most people don’t understand the whole situation and the media publicizes only the things that will get people emotional (like the family crying on tv). Of course their crying, their son was just killed. The thing that bothers me is that they make it look like it the bank’s fault. I’ll apologize for the long post, but Gloria Allred just gets the blood boiling, so I thought I’d do some homework on this one...


43 posted on 07/31/2008 6:11:37 PM PDT by AddSomething Worthwhile
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To: newzjunkey

I know. The average cost of funerals lately in California is around $8k, and that’s just the funeral home fees. One can’t forget the food, the flowers, the headstone, the travel. I feel sorry for the family, grateful for their sacrifice, disappointed more could not be done to smooth the way for them, but things like this happen all the time and people don’t run off to Ms. Allred for recompense.


44 posted on 07/31/2008 7:07:19 PM PDT by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things)
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