WaMu: Sorry We Don't Have Your $4200 In Cash, Want A Check?

Maybe we’re crazy but $4200 doesn’t seem like too much money to withdraw in cash at a branch bank, especially if you give them 24 hours notice. Apparently, that large of a withdrawal leaves WaMu all tapped out. Is WaMu really that short on capital reserves?

I had an interesting time last night at my local Washington Mutual.

I am getting ready to leave on a trip to Las Vegas for a friends wedding so last night I decided that I would actually go into a Washington Mutual branch and withdraw my ‘bankroll’. It was about 10 minutes to close but there thankfully no line. I filled out the withdrawal slip for the cash that I wanted, approached the teller, scanned my ATM card, entered my PIN and handed her the slip. She immediately asked if I wanted a check for the amount ($4.2k) and I said no, that I wanted cash. She then yelled to the manager across the bank about the transaction. He asked; how much? She said “$4200”. Keep in mind that this was not done in private but across the room at the bank, therefore letting everyone in the room know that I wanted a (fairly) large sum of cash.

It was at this time that the faux hawk sporting manager said ‘nope’. He told me (still across the room BTW) that they operated on some automatic withdrawal machines and that he couldn’t authorize that much of a withdrawal because other people needed to use it and that the amount of capital wouldn’t cover it.

In shock I asked when they (the bank!) would be getting more capital, he said that they got more nightly. So I asked if I could come get the amount I wanted tomorrow. He said ‘no’ again. Apparently these machines had enough money for me but they didn’t want to give it to me because someone else might need it (the bank is open for 10 more minutes).

The manager let me know that I could try a ‘traditional’ WaMu branch as they have ‘more leniencies’ with the withdrawal amount. Keep in mind that those are at least 3 miles (over 30 minutes in San Francisco) away.

I then asked the teller very plainly… “Are you saying that I can’t have MY money?”

She said “yes”.

Beyond mad I ripped up my withdrawal slip and left the bank. I have two out standing checks (IRS and State) with WaMu, when they clear I am OUT. I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than not being able to get my money. Aren’t there some rules about that?

I guess that the good thing to come of all this is that there can’t be a run on the banks because even if everyone tried to get their money… the banks will not give it to you!

Thought this was something that you might find interesting!

Is this normal? We’ve been snooping around looking for rules as to how much cash you can withdraw from a bank and haven’t been able to find much of anything. Cash withdrawals over $10,000 require a something called a Currency Transaction Report, and we’ve seen some credit unions that ask for notice of one business day for withdrawals over $2,000. One day’s notice seems reasonable.

Any bankers want to explain how this works?