Keeping up with The Jones

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bank on it

I’ve been back from vacation for about a week and a half, and nothing inspires a return to the blogosphere like a trip to the bank.

On Tuesday, one of our teens came into my office. He had recently returned from a summer working at camp and needed help cashing his paycheck. He has no bank account of his own, and the way most people in this neighborhood can cash their checks is by giving up 10% to the local check cashing business (a business whose proprietors will surely spend eternity next door to the people who brought you Rent-A-Center).

I agreed to deposit his check in my account and withdraw the funds for him. When we got to the front of the line I explained our situation.

“Well, then you’ll both need to sign the back of the check…”

I signed under his name.

“…and I’ll need your friend to show me two pieces of ID.”

Two? He’s a high school student with no license. All he carries is his school ID.

“Well then all I can tell you is to go deposit the check at the ATM and withdraw the funds that way.”

So in here we need not one but two forms of ID,


But ten feet away we can deposit the same check at the same bank without having to prove his ID at all.

“Well, we can’t control what you do at the ATM.”

Really? You limit the amount of funds I’m allowed to withdraw from an ATM in a day, and even count the period ranging from closing time Friday to opening time Tuesday as one day. But you can’t have an ATM policy disallowing the deposit of a check made out to a party other than the account holder? And in here you must insist on two forms of ID, why exactly?

“The woman at the service desk can show you how to make this deposit at the ATM.”

Who runs these banks?