Banned Bank Of America Customer Says His Credit Is Clear

Earlier this week we wrote about how BoA told Jesse he could never have an account with them, but they wouldn’t give a specific reason. A lot of readers and tipsters suggested ChexSystems was the culprit, so we asked Jesse if there was something in his credit past causing the problem.

Here’s how ChexSystems works, courtesy of an Assistant Vice President at a “large regional bank” who contacted us:

We have had to close out accounts in the past due to a negative report from ChexSystems which shows that the customer had a charged off account with money owed. To keep using ChexSystems we have to not open accounts that have money owed to other banks. That is usually the only way [for those banks] to collect.

Of course, BoA could have explained everything a lot better. Just because someone has a negative ChexSystems report, it doesn’t mean they are blackballed forever. It’s kind of like bankruptcy, as you come off their records after 7 years.

Although that’s probably why most customers denied a new account at any bank are rejected, it doesn’t sound like it applies to Jesse’s case based on what he told us:

They said it “may have something to do with an unpaid account.” The only problem is that I am young, have good credit, and had never had any account with Bank Of America. Their claim was impossible.

ChexSystems doesn’t care where the old account was—in fact, the whole point of it is to catch people with bad accounts at unrelated banks. But if what Jesse told us was true then we doubt he has an unpaid account with a former bank.

We contacted him and asked him to spill more secrets about his financial history for the benefit of the community. Here’s his response:

I had 2 accounts with a local branch in Massachusetts, the first was a savings account which I closed when I switched over to a checking account.

I waited to close this account until I had received my new one. After receiving my TD Bank card I closed the account with this bank over the phone and they had no issues with me.

I barely ever use checks and have never bounced one.

I have only one credit card, which I got only a few months before applying for BOA. I have yet to be late on a payment.

I have no idea how ChexSystems works, but the only debt I have is from student loans which are actually still in a grace period.

My best guess is that I was denied due to some sort of issue identifying my residential address because I had just moved. Of course that doesn’t explain why they sent me the cards in the first place.

Who knows, maybe it was ChexSystems who caused the problem and not BOA. Still, is it really means to ban a customer for life?

We received so many stories from other readers telling us how BoA screwed up their new accounts that we had to spin them off into another post. After reading those stories, you may begin to feel that Jesse dodged a bullet by having been turned away immediately. At least that way BoA couldn’t charge him overdraft fees, “research” fees, or other penalties without explanation.

Continue reading: “Bank Of America: ‘That’s Why You Don’t Open New Accounts Online’”

RELATED
“Bank Of America Bans Customer For Life”
(Photo: TheTruthAbout)

Comments

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  1. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    OMG Consumerist is “investigating” and “following up”! I like it!

  2. Go Pug Yourself says:

    Bankruptcy stays on for 10 years.

    • katstermonster says:

      @Go Pug Yourself: He’s young enough that he has student loans still in the grace period. I highly doubt he’s declared bankruptcy. And unless he’s lying about being young and having good credit…I’d say bankruptcy doesn’t fall under that.

  3. PaperBuyer says:

    I think reading Jesse’s comments about his address history what probably happened was he got caught up in a “Red Flag” issue.

    Recently the FTC passed regulations requiring banks to make a more concerted effort in verifying customers identities when opening accounts or loans. As part of this if the address does not match the address reported by the credit bureau your application MUST be turned down unless the bank can use other approved methods to verify your identity.

    The Ftc has pushed back the implementation of these rules until August but most banks have already rolled out their protections systems in order to make sure they are working.

    I spend a large part of my day having to clear red flags and while it protects the consumer it is time consuming – I wouldn’t be surprised if a BOA auditor came across this account that had a red flag alert on it and forced them to close the account as they could run afoul of the new regulations.

    [www.ftc.gov]

  4. Felix the Cat says:

    My newly established BoA checking account was slammed shut after only 2 days. I complained several times and finally I got an incoming call from a the B of A Office of the CEO Ken Lewis, from a Matthew Taft (813 805-4873) who referenced my earlier complaints and asked if anyone had explained to me ‘why’ my account was closed. I told him that I had various conversations on the matter with B of A but that aspect of the matter had not been resolved.

    He related to me that the issue was my Social Security number and that it seemed to have been used elsewhere and that flagged it as potential fraud and the account was flagged by their Risk Management and the account closed.

    My response was that I was not surprised the SSN was used outside the area I had applied in as I had a condo in Florida (the original bank used for my monthly SSN deposit was in Florida).

    He further related that B of A first establishes an account and then subsequently it ‘verifies’ the information using CheckEx to look for bad checks and does further background with the major credit reporting agencies.

    I then asked him why I had not received a letter stating which of the 3 major credit reporting firms had provided B of A with the information that caused them to abruptly close the account.

    This was clearly an uncomfortable subject and he back tracked a bit claiming that there was a ‘soft’ and a ‘hard’ enquiry and that this was a ‘soft’ one and no letter needed to be sent. He did eventually send a letter citing the 2 agencies and I did inquire, but I never found any info with them that could have accounted for the closing. This is just a screwed up bank and I would never deal with them again. I guess you could say “I have banned BoA for Life”!

    [bankofamericageorgiasucks.blogspot.com]

    • econobiker says:

      @Felix the Cat: Great complaint blog.

      • katstermonster says:

        @econobiker: I said the same thing…but this exact same post gets thrown in the comments every time Consumerist does something on BoA (or at least the last 2 or 3 articles). A little annoying. Submit via email…if it doesn’t get accepted, suck it up and move on, I say!

    • the_wiggle says:

      @Felix the Cat: merchant soft pull gets different data set than consumer pull soft or hard.

      consumers will not be able to see the merchant pull set. yet consumers can & are being shafted over that data set.

      get used to it. unless genuine credit reform to include the bureaus! happens, this kinds of bs will continue to happen & frankly get worse.

  5. Matthew Coussens says:

    Regarding ChexSystems, it maybe that Jesse is the victim of identity theft. I was involved in a similar situation in which someone used my ssn and opened up several bank accounts in another state that I had not lived in since 1984. I did not discover this until I moved and tried to change banks. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to get this cleared up through ChexSystems. I believe all I had to do was mail in a form and a photocopy of my social security card.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @Matthew Coussens: “I believe all I had to do was mail in a form and a photocopy of my social security card. “

      All you have to do is just pass all the info needed for identity theft through the mail to a company you never heard of before and you call that easy? I call that dumb.

      • AliyaBabasaur says:

        @Corporate_guy: Plenty of people know what ChexSystems is. I call you dumb.

      • Gramin says:

        @Corporate_guy:

        You’ve never heard of ChexSystems? Maybe we should call you dumb. Though, in your defense, it’s taken a back seat to the credit reporting agencies. However, banks still run your information through it.

        • Corporate_guy says:

          @Gramin: Please, how would anyone know of ChexSystems? And in knowing anything about them, have you ever dealt with them first hand?

          In the end it’s a 3rd party that has nothing to do with the business you are a customer of trying to shake you down for info.

  6. steph3530 says:

    Years ago, I had a check not be approved at Walmart, because it got denied by ChexSystems when they ran it through. I knew I had plenty of money in my account, had no other payment methods with me, and had to walk away embarrassed.

    Walmart gave me the phone number for the check verification place, and when I called, they explained that based on my check information, my name was and that I had written a bad check at a gas station in some state across the country that I had never been to. I submitted something from my bank, didn’t hear back from them, and forgot about it… but I never wrote a check in a store again.

    Anyway, if this does turn out to be a problem with ChexSystems, it’s possible they have bad info associated with this guy’s name. It happened to me.

  7. cabjf says:

    I’ve dealt with something like this issue before. I was going to open an online savings account with OnBank and they kept coming back that I was getting denied by ChexSystems. I went to ChexSystems and their report came back all clear. The OnBank CSR’s kept insisting the denial was coming from ChexSystems while ChexSystems said their report was all clear and I would have to go to the individual credit reporting agencies to find any mistakes (even though their report came back all clear?!). I had no idea what to do since my credit reports were all as they should be. So I just took my business elsewhere and had no problem opening an account.

  8. econobiker says:

    Maybe its due to these jokers: Certegy Check Services.

    [www.fidelityinfoservices.com]

    Also well known for a data breach when one of their employees boosted id’s…

    This place is yet another “shadow” credit report agency. We had a paper check declined (about $500 for new tires, local store, local address check) because the tire store called these jokers who we had never heard about. No info on why the check was declined from the store.

    (Yes,yes, we know about debit cards and credit cards- we wanted the money to come from a certain low use checking account. We thought we had the debit card in the check book which we brought with us. Instead we used our debit card from our primary checking account and had to quickly transfer the money over.)

  9. einstoch says:

    ChexSystems reports drop off after 5 years, not 7. Also, I recently had a dispute over an item that was found in my ChexSystems report and had it dropped after 30 days because the bank didn’t have the balls to respond because they knew they were wrong.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I applied for a checking account from Net Bank a few years ago and there was delay after delay. Sorry sir, we can’t tell you over the telephone what is going on. Finally I received a letter that I was was denied.

    I was shocked, my credit score is in the high 700′s, I have a 35 year banking history with various institutions, have never been late paying a bill, living in the same place 15 years, own my own home, etc.

    Turns out when I requested a reason from ChexSystems, they had *NO* record of me. Not a good record, not a bad record, no record at all. You can get my basic information just from Googling my name.

    Screw ChexSystems and Net Bank. Everbank set me up quickly, no problem, they were glad to accept my deposit.

    So yeah, ChexSystems has a real problem and it costs their customers business.

  11. smileboot says:

    With a quick look you can request your information from ChexSystems @
    [www.consumerdebit.com]

    So he should do that then dispute any wrong info. If just to prevent this in the future.

  12. mac-phisto says:

    another possibility – jesse may be popping up on an OFAC list –> [www.treas.gov]

    as part of the new account process (since PATRIOT, i believe), new accounts need to be run thru the database to ensure you’re not a baddie. if you’re on the list, good luck figuring out how to get off – there is some info on the OFAC treasury page about what to do, but it seems rather vague. unfortunately, it can be pretty difficult to determine if you’re even on one of these lists – i’d recommend finding a local institution (savings bank or CU), sitting down with a manager & explaining your story. hopefully, if they cannot open an account for you, they can at least provide a little more info than “no”.

    • skycrashesdown says:

      @mac-phisto: If he’s coming up on OFAC, it must be an alarmingly close match. I’m not sure if the system my bank uses to compare names with the OFAC list is our search engine or OFAC’s, but it’s /awful./

      Even the slightest match causes a hit. Making an official check out to Alice or Alexander? Turns up a slew of Arabic names that begin with Al-. Making an official check out to U.S. Bank? Turns up another bank that starts with U. AAA? Gets a hit. It’s matched names simply because they have the same first initials and a few of the same consonants elsewhere in the name. I’ve never once had an OFAC hit that I felt had any validity to it (although I’m lucky to work at a small bank where we know nearly all of our customers.)

  13. Gordon M. Tenney says:

    To quote comedian Doug Benson, “Bank of America’s new slogan should be, ‘BofA, B Very OfA’.

  14. pot_roast says:

    ChexSystems is something that I think should be destroyed, violently. I had the misfortune of dealing with them some years back after a theft issue with US Bank. The issue was corrected, but neither US Bank or Chexsystems would correct the issue. ChexSystems said they will not remove until the bank says so, US Bank says “We do not ever remove anybody from ChexSystems. This went on for four years. Finally, a strongly worded letter from an attorney (that I could finally afford) magically resolved the issue. ChexSystems sent me a letter stating that there had been an error and my ‘account’ with them had been removed and deleted.

    Screw ChexSystems, and the Deluxe Corp, their parent. Don’t buy checks from Deluxe.

  15. Scrutinizer says:

    Why is this happening? Big banks have to take yours, mine and Jesse’s business but it is not nearly as profitable as corporate accounts. If they make it difficult or expensive for us to do business with them and we go some where else then they can focus on big banking and still have met their obligation to the public.

    • Gramin says:

      @Scrutinizer:

      Um, not quite… the two are actually unrelated. The money we (the international financial institution I work for) earn off investment and corporate banking deals can’t be used to finance your mortgage. It’s not one giant slushfund.

      Furthermore, banks are private institutions with no obligations to the public. If we want, we can shut-down our personal banking sector. There’s nothing stopping us… except that it’s highly profitable.

      And we don’t have to take your business. We do it because when you deposit money into the bank, we can use it to fund mortgages, lines of credit, etc.

      You clearly have no idea how banks operate.

  16. johnva says:

    I don’t see how this followup clears up the issue of Chexsystems at all. It sounds like he did NOT check whether or not he had a negative file with CS.

    Chexsystems != “credit” in the sense of the big 3 CRAs.

    It’s still very possible that it’s due to identity theft or something else that got him blacklisted with Chexsystems, and I would still suspect that as the number one possibility given the “unpaid account” language they used.

    • johnva says:

      @johnva: Also, it would be a good idea to check the Chexsystems file even if you have no intention of using BoA in the future (and I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t). If they or some other bank put a negative mark in there on your name, it could cause you problems with lots of other banks, too.

  17. Aaronjk says:

    This guy didn’t get banned for bad credit, this guy got banned because the bank knows they’ll never make any money!! Think about it; never bounced a check, that’s $30 a pop that they’ll never see. Credit cards paid on time, there’s a boat payment some CEO is gonna miss. This kid is too perfect, and they wanna make money. But they really did this kid a favor, BofA SUCKS!!!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Many undocumented workers use BoA for their accounts, for various reasons (it is the largest bank and is immigrant friendly). My guess is that there already is an established BoA account with Jesse’s SSN associated with it, without his permission (the culprit likely being someone without their own Soc) so the bank won’t allow him to open anything.

  19. Julia789 says:

    Is the OP by any chance a “Junior” or have a common name?

    I have a problem with my name. Julia plus very common last name – there is another Julia with the same last name, similar social security number, even born in the same month and year, and a past address in the same city I lived in 10 years ago. She has THOUSANDS in unpaid loans, that are constantly showing up on my credit report. I have them removed then the next year they show up again.

    I wonder if HER credit report includes my glowing wonderful credit records and that is how she keeps getting approved for NEW loans that she doesn’t pay and show up on MY report.

    For 15 years this has gone on. I’d hunt her down and punch her if I could, the hundreds of hours I’ve put into this. She almost cost me my new house 10 years ago when I checked my credit, it was fine, then when the bank ran it BOOM! A new unpaid loan from her showed up saying she was 90 days late on a VERY expensive car payment ($50,000 loan).

    This happens to people who are “juniors” too. I have a friend who is Jim ____ Junior. Jim Senior had a lot of credit problems after a job loss, and so Jim Junior “inherited them” due to the confusion of them having the same name and for many years shared the same address. Because they were both born in the same State, the first 3 digits of their S.S. number are the same too. This leads clerks and other employees to believe they are the same person, they assume one record is a duplicate with errors or the same guy applying again using slightly different information.

    • trujunglist says:

      @Julia789:

      Sounds like the perfect case for getting a brand new SSN.

      • Julia789 says:

        @trujunglist: Interesting idea. I wonder if it would still have the same first 3 digits though, since I’m still in the same state where I was born? Also, I wonder if the old one would still show up on the reports, the way your old name shows up even after you marry and change your last name? It will say “Jane Smith a.k.a Jane Doe.” It is something to look into though!

    • the_wiggle says:

      @Julia789: you & my ex could no doubt swap horror stories. he & his doppleganger-from Credit-Hell-may-he-rot-there-asap! differ only by: middle name – richard vs. robert & the last four of the ssn#.

      after decades of hassles, my ex finally gave up & put a credit freeze on his report.

      • Julia789 says:

        @the_wiggle: Why couldn’t we get our credit mixed up with someone with a FABULOUS credit rating, like those evil twins did? Damn the luck!

  20. mantari says:

    Silly question. Usually when a check is denied due to a check verification system, or credit is denied due to a credit report, they give you the information on the party that provided the negative information so that you can investigate the issue further. Was this not the case here?

    • XTC46 says:

      @mantari: Becasue they dont have to. You arent applying for credit, and arent being declined access to your money, they are simply choosing to not do business with you.

  21. PLATTWORX says:

    Does the Consumerist really think Jesse is going to SAY he has bad credit or issues from the past? No, he is going to claim to have NO IDEA why BofA banned him.

    We also still have not addressed why the OP waited “a month or two” before he reached out to BofA to find out why he had not received his account documents NOR how why we are accepting his “THEY opened two accounts for me when I wanted one” when that is not possible since BofA account opening system online is automated. Jesse would have had to do TWO online account applictions to create TWO accounts.

    How about we investigate if the OP handled this properly or has told the whole story?

    • Gramin says:

      @PLATTWORX:

      I’m with you Platt. Banks don’t just go around denying accounts for the hell of it. Moreover, banks aren’t permitted to open accounts withouth verifying your identity, which must be done in person. The OP hasn’t told us all of the story.

      • NatalieErin says:

        @Gramin: I don’t think it’s true that they have to verify your identity in person if you already have an account with them. My bank allowed me to open a second account almost entirely online – I had to fax a signature page in, but I didn’t have to go into a branch at all.

    • XTC46 says:

      @PLATTWORX: It is possible that a computer gliched casued the duplicate accounts, although its unlikely. Depending on how their account system works, the information could have been passed form hsi browser to the server multiple times by mistake (although unlikely)

      • hedonia says:

        @xtc46 – thinksmarter on twitter: I actually did have the duplicate credit card thing happen to me with BoA online – I already had a checking account with them, and they offered me 0% interest for a year on a balance transfer. I filled out the form right from within my checking account logon area – and a week later got two different cards in the mail.

        I called them up, and they refused to fix the mistake. I used one card and left the other one empty, and it has been empty for years.

        I doubt I hit submit twice, or anything stupid like that — I’ve bought things online for years and years and I know better. I think they just have a problem with their system, where in certain circumstances it can duplicate.

  22. AngryK9 says:

    How to get reported to ChexSystems: Overdraw your bank account for any reason, whether or not it was your fault or the bank’s fault.

    What happens when you get reported: You are put in a database and blackballed for a minimum of 5 years.

    What happens when you are blackballed: You can not open a bank account of any type in any bank that uses ChexSystems

    Is it possible to get out of ChexSystems database: Yeah, wait 5 years.

    Or you could buy into the lie that once you take care of the problem and get proof from the bank that the issue is resolved, you can contact ChexSystems and have them remove you from their database.

    Does it work? Do they actually remove you? HA! No.

  23. starbreiz says:

    BoA denied me an account after I moved also. Their reasoning was that my drivers license was from PA when I was in CA. Duh, I’d just moved. And I was trying to transfer from a regional bank in PA to a larger bank in CA. It wasn’t even worth the battle. Amusingly, when I applied for a car loan at a dealership, BoA had the lowest rates, so they own my car.

  24. gman863 says:

    The similar name thing has bitten me on the ass twice.

    Ten years ago, a negative piece of information about a past due car loan from Bank One popped up while I was doing a a refi on my mortgage (strangely, my car was paid off and had not been financed through Bank One). When I contacted Bank One and pressed them on the issue, it turned out my sister (who shares the same initial in our first names and lived 800 miles away) was the culprit; Bank One had “accidentally” attached the report to my credit file.

    Back in the ’80s, a check I wrote at a grocery store was declined. When I asked to speak to the manager, she brought out a photocopy of a bounced check and started lecturing me on how the store would prosecute if the check wasn’t made good. It took a minute but – once she finally shut up – I had the opprtunity to point out both the bounced check and drivers license ID # belonged to a different person. In return for her courtesy, I told her which body cavity she could restock the contents of my shopping cart in and went down the street to their competitor.

  25. Bs Baldwin says:

    If Jesse got an account with TD, he doesn’t have a chex systems issue.

  26. Stopchex says:

    We deal with ChexSystems issues all the time. We’d love to help Jesse out (for free, obviously).

    Jesse — if you want some help looking into this problem, send us an email at: kurt@stopchex.com, and let’s talk about how you can fix the issue.