Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

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Beleiber
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Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by Beleiber »

My parents have maintained a Wells Fargo checking account for about 20 years. Their social security checks get electronically deposited into the account and their Memory Care bill is automatically withdrawn from the account. Worked fine until 2/10/24.

On 2/10, Wells Fargo sent an email which stated

"Your deposit account ending in XXXX has become inactive and requires action.

Your account ending in XXXX has become inactive because you have not initiated any account-related activity on the account for an extended period of time. Please note that automatic transactions such as transfers between accounts, preauthorized payments (for example, an ACH loan payment), and electronic direct deposits may not prevent an account from becoming inactive."

When I logged on to the account (I have POA), the account showed it was already Inactive.

I am OK with WF changing their governing rules. What bothers me is the lack of advance warning of the deactivation. If I had not seen the email and reactivated the account, what would have happened to next months SS check? This months memory care auto-withdrawal (due on 11th) would certainly not clear.

Why would WF not notify customers in advance of such action?

On Monday I have an appointment with the manager at the local WF branch to provide copies of the POA and try to get some answers. That may be another interesting episode.
Geologist
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by Geologist »

Communication could obviously be better, but probably what constitutes inactivity is described in the terms for the account. Probably you need to arrange for activity beyond the automatically deposited social security checks and Memory Care bill withdrawal.

If this means you need to write a check manually (even if shifting funds from this account to another), then you need to do that. I had to do something similar for an account of my father's bypass trust (write a check but only about every six months; it was not Wells Fargo).
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8foot7
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by 8foot7 »

It is nonsensical to me that debits and credits do not qualify as activity yet once the account was made inactive they would presumably both be blocked. If those types of transactions are not activity, then why block them? Typical nonsense from Wells Fargo.
livesoft
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by livesoft »

Beleiber wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:09 pm Why would WF not notify customers in advance of such action?

On Monday I have an appointment with the manager at the local WF branch to provide copies of the POA and try to get some answers. That may be another interesting episode.
Maybe they did. :)

I use WF and at one time one of my neighbors was the manager of the closest WF to me. So far I've never had any issues with them, but now I will have to be on the lookout. Thanks!
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rich126
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by rich126 »

Really makes no sense. Money going in and money going out should count as activity.

I closed my WF after 20+ years because they seemed to flag so many things as potential fraud and at times ignored my text messages in response to their queries that the transaction was legitimate.

Unfortunately all banks have strange stuff. I mentioned elsewhere about Chase periodically locking my online access without any kind of text, phone or snail mail notification.

Currently I am using Schwab for banking although I assume at some point I will run into an issue there as well.
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mhalley
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by mhalley »

I think this is great. You now have a good reason to exit the criminal enterprise masquerading as a bank.
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Chv396
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by Chv396 »

We had similar issues with WFC after having been a customer for 20 years. Left in 2009 and never returned. Tried to speak with a branch manager at that time, but his attitude just reflected indifference.
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tetractys
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by tetractys »

Beleiber wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:09 pm"Your deposit account ending in XXXX has become inactive and requires action.

Your account ending in XXXX has become inactive because you have not initiated any account-related activity on the account for an extended period of time. Please note that automatic transactions such as transfers between accounts, preauthorized payments (for example, an ACH loan payment), and electronic direct deposits may not prevent an account from becoming inactive."
This is probably a documented security measure that you have overlooked. Do you ever login to check the statements? If you didn’t reactivate the account already by logging on you may be able do it with a phone call.
gavinsiu
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by gavinsiu »

Have you check with Wells Fargo if logging in is an action? If you just login once in a while. Going online and initiating a transaction would probably count.
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TheRoundHeadedKid
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by TheRoundHeadedKid »

An ATM withdraw would count or a debit card purchase. I have an almost 30-year-old WF checking account. I know they want to close that account because it is a totally free with no-minimum account that was grandfathered in from a bank merger. They did put my account on hold, but not closed, when there wasn't activity for more than a year. I couldn't do any transactions with it. But I spoke with a bank branch manager, and she called someone to get the account re-activated. Other than that, no issues with WF, including mortgage and credit card.
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Stinky
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by Stinky »

Beleiber wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:09 pm
On Monday I have an appointment with the manager at the local WF branch to provide copies of the POA and try to get some answers. That may be another interesting episode.
Please let us know how the appointment with the branch manager goes.

It will be interesting to hear whether WF wants your parents' business or not.
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lthenderson
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by lthenderson »

Beleiber wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:09 pm Why would WF not notify customers in advance of such action?
Some thoughts as a long time customer. Often their notice is charging some sort of account maintenance fee on a monthly basis. I have one account that gets charged a $10 fee if it falls below a certain balance. There is nothing mailed, only that it will appear on the monthly statement.

Second, I suspect they require account activity because it is a special account, i.e. they are paying higher interest or something similar. I would ask them if you can just change it to a basic checking or savings account where there are many less such rules.
gavinsiu
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by gavinsiu »

Based on my experience with various banks.
  • If your account falls below a minimum, they won't inform you that they are charging you a fee.
  • If you haven't use your ATM card in a while, they will cancel that card and then send you a letter after they cancelled the card.
  • If you haven't access the account in a while, they will send a letter indicating that there have been no activity before they close it.
  • For Wells Fargo, check the summary page to see if there is an option to reactivate, sometimes there is.
On another note, I am often surprised by the difference in the quality of service between a brick and mortar bank like Wells Fargo and a brokerage house like Schwab and Fidelity. The brokerage houses seemed more polish and professional, while I often feel a sense of disdain from the Bank rep. The brokerage places are also often more flexible in their approach to the problems. Frankly, i wonder if these old banks stick around because their older customer based just don't want change.
snic
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by snic »

gavinsiu wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:18 am Based on my experience with various banks.
  • If your account falls below a minimum, they won't inform you that they are charging you a fee.
  • If you haven't use your ATM card in a while, they will cancel that card and then send you a letter after they cancelled the card.
  • If you haven't access the account in a while, they will send a letter indicating that there have been no activity before they close it.
  • For Wells Fargo, check the summary page to see if there is an option to reactivate, sometimes there is.
On another note, I am often surprised by the difference in the quality of service between a brick and mortar bank like Wells Fargo and a brokerage house like Schwab and Fidelity. The brokerage houses seemed more polish and professional, while I often feel a sense of disdain from the Bank rep. The brokerage places are also often more flexible in their approach to the problems. Frankly, i wonder if these old banks stick around because their older customer based just don't want change.
That struck a chord. I have a WFB account that was "inherited" as part of a merger. One day, I went to the branch to withdraw around $1,000 in cash. I told the teller I'd like $100 bills. She said they may not have any. Surprised, I said something like, "this is a bank, isn't it?" Her answer was, "we don't make the cash in the back, you know."

I immediately moved my business to a local bank down the street, which has given me nothing but friendly, stellar service every single time I interact with them. (Well, except that one time a teller forgot to sign a cashier's check, but that's another story.) Unfortunately I still have to deal with WFB for various other reasons, but mostly it's online so it's fine.

Re OP's experience of a WFB account becoming inactive: different banks probably have different policies, but I believe they are governed by state law - they HAVE to make your account inactive under certain conditions. So it may not actually be WFB's fault if the state law dictates those conditions (although it is bad practice for them not to warn you). Generally the best way to avoid this is to write a check, purchase something with the debit card, use the ATM card to withdraw $20, or make an in-branch deposit or withdrawal once a year - any transaction that is not automated. Presumably a mobile check deposit would also work.
gavinsiu
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by gavinsiu »

snic wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:42 am That struck a chord. I have a WFB account that was "inherited" as part of a merger. One day, I went to the branch to withdraw around $1,000 in cash. I told the teller I'd like $100 bills. She said they may not have any. Surprised, I said something like, "this is a bank, isn't it?" Her answer was, "we don't make the cash in the back, you know."
A similar issue occurred when I attempted to add myself as POA to help my mom with customer serivce. The rep attempted to get me to sign a joint account instead. This would be OK for a small checking account, but not for a large account. I end up demanding that they do a POA and then I realized why because the rep didn't know where the forms are so I had to wait about half an hour for him to look it up and then spend another hour to filled it out. The dude was unhappy. I am sympathic but in the end, it's his job after all.

In contrast, I apply for POA at Fidelity, they printed the forms right away and pointed me to the fields I need to fill in, then Notary was called from the back to sign it. The whole operation was completed in less than 15 minutes, while my kids sip hot coco from their concession machine.
investor4life
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by investor4life »

I have a WF account that is mostly dormant. I get their email annually stating that if I don't take action, the assests will revert to the state via escheat (I had to look that word up the first time, lol).

Anyways, when I log-in, there's a "reactivate account" link that I click and I'm good for another year. For good measure, I go to the local WF ATM and do a small withdrawal as well.
gavinsiu
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by gavinsiu »

Do you know if logging in will reset the no-activity clock? I am curious if something like Fullview or Empower dashboard that pulls data from the site counts as a login.
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illumination
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Re: Another Wells Fargo Story. What to do?

Post by illumination »

Wells Fargo is a terrible bank. I'm even part of their "Private Bank" group and it's still garbage imo. But most traditional retail banks are terrible, but for certain things (like business accounts) I need them, so I stay.

It's totally nuts though that an account that has monthly activity somehow gets deemed "inactive". I would explore options like Schwab or Fidelity for accounts in a situation like the OP's.
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