- had a deposited check put on a 5-business-day hold?
- had the same deposited check put on hold multiple times (causing deposited-check-$amount to be debited from the destination account's Available Balance multiple times)?
I'm a long-time NFCU member getting hit with some problems that appear to be systematic, and I'm wondering whether any other NFCU members at Bogleheads are experiencing the same issues:
- until last week, I had never had a mobile deposited check (which describes all my deposits to my NFCU accounts these days) put on a 5-biz-day (effective 1 week) hold. It is within NFCU policy to impose such a hold, but over the course of many years it had never happened.
- On the early afternoon of 5/31 (a business day) **edit 6/10/21: using the NFCU app on my iPhone** I deposited 5 checks; these were "received" and "approved" minutes later that day, according to emails from NFCU, as usual. Depositing this many checks in a single day was slightly unusual, but all of the deposited checks were "regular monthly checks" that I've been depositing for years.
- Overnight, one of the checks (the only one for an amount less than $2000) was added to my Available Balance (i.e. it experienced a nominal 1-day hold).
- the following day (6/1 also a business day) in the afternoon (approx 24 hours after performing the mobile deposits), I began receiving emails from NFCU indicating that a check I had deposited 5/31 was being put on a 5-biz-day hold "for my security".
- I called NFCU's 800 voice number to inquire as to the cause of this extended hold being imposed for the first time ever (and how it increased "my security"). The first-line responder did not provide meaningful answers, so I escalated to the next level "supervisor".
- while I was talking to the NFCU supervisor, I noticed that I was now receiving duplicate 5-day hold emails (i.e. for each distinct deposited check amount, I was receiving a second email telling me that a deposited check of that amount was being put on a 5-day hold "for my security". At first I assumed "an email processing screw-up".
- however at the same time, I noticed that, on the NFCU website, the deposit destination account's Available Balance was now lower than it had been prior to any of the checks being deposited on 5/31 (no withdrawing transactions had cleared 5/31 or 6/1), so I asked the supervisor, who told me after a few minutes "it looks like they've actually debited the amount of the deposited check TWICE from your Available Balance". ... "don't worry, I will cancel one of the debits." In real time, the Available Balance of my account (according to the NFCU website) rose accordingly.
- I asked the supervisor, since they were unable to provide any concrete explanation for why any of this was happening, if there was a next level of escalation available. They said there was, but they would not necessarily respond until 2 biz day later. I requested that they file an escalation on my behalf. They did so.
- an hour later, I repeated the entire "call NFCU" experience again as a few more 5-day-hold email notices arrived, with duplicate hold notices arriving shortly thereafter. Each of the (now total of 5) duplicate debits was reversed by the supervisor. Even the sub-$2000 check which was earlier that day added to my Available Balance, was put on a 5-day hold (i.e. it was Available for perhaps 6 hours, then became unavailable due to hold imposition).
- on 6/3 I received the following response from the "Escalation Team" via internal message: "Navy Federal Response 06/03/2022 : Mr. Sunnysideup,
This message is regarding your recent concerns raised via phone call to our Contact Center. After you spoke with a Supervisor, your concerns were elevated to and thoroughly reviewed by our Escalation Case Management team. At this time, we do not have any other solutions to offer for your concerns and consider this escalation case closed."
- today (6/7) I called NFCU again to see if there was any other escalation option, and hit particularly hard on the multiple debits of held check amounts being (obviously erroneously) taken from my Available Balance. I posed the question, "what if I had not noticed (only by inference, noticing that Available Balance was far lower than it should be) the multiple incorrect hold debits?" NFCU's response was "well, in 5 biz days the erroneous duplicate holds would also expire and be added/restored to your available balance"; I responded "and in the meantime, what if those erroneous debits had taken my account Available Balance negative for 5 biz days?" The supervisor had no response and basically hung up on me.
- thereafter today (6/7) I finally drove to the closest NFCU branch (not close) and spoke to a supervisor. I was told that:
- The practice of applying 5-day holds to perhaps all deposited checks (including government checks) started approx 2 weeks ago.
- the customer who she was serving before me had had his held check amount debited from his Available Balance not merely twice but thrice!
- she said that my 5/31 depositing of 5 checks (for a total $ amount > $10K) was not the cause of the imposition of the 5-day holds, but that the holds were being imposed on a wide spectrum of deposit checks, maybe all of them.
- aside from a nonspecific statement that this new back-office behavior was a response to "check fraud is getting really bad lately", she said that she and peer branch supervisors within the same region that she's conferring with about this situation remain completely in the dark regarding why this policy is apparently being applied to all deposited checks, let alone why their systems are erroneously double- or triple debiting held-check amounts from Available Balances. The only way she and her peers knew these problematic practices are occurring is due to the (apparently large) flow of customers walking into their branches with complaints.
- The only positive thing she was able to convey to me is that she would (presumably after review) be able to lift such a 5-day hold if I visit the NFCU branch in-person and make an appeal to the supervisor. Better than nothing, but only slightly.
Anybody else in Boglehead-land experiencing these problems?
P.S. to preempt a likely question: I cannot receive these funds by direct/ACH deposit; they must be paid to me by mailed paper check.
Edit: added TL;DR at top.