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?



Edit Your Comment

  1. remusrm says:

    how nice…

  2. remusrm says:

    nice… i had wamu and never again… citibank for me from now on… never any issues and other such things…

  3. B says:

    I asked George Bailey, and this is what he told me:

  4. BigElectricCat says:

    Come on. At least they didn’t try to make him put it on a Sears gift card.

  5. SadSam says:

    Yes I’ll take a check but only if I can turn around and cash it….

  6. martyz says:

    You went into a BANK looking for money? What do you think they are — a ba– oh wait.

  7. bonzombiekitty says:

    Depending on the size of that branch, that’s a lot of money to withdraw. The branch may be open for 10 more minutes, but the amount of cash they have on hand tomorrow is based on what they have now plus whatever capital is delivered at night. Asking for that much may have still left the branch underfunded for the next day even if nobody else had asked for cash over the next ten minutes.

    And it’s not a day’s notice. The capital for the next day is already on the way, more probably cannot be ordered for “tomorrow” at the point in the OP. He’d have to order for the following day.

  8. Katrine says:

    I work at a very, very small locally owned bank, and we cash checks bigger than this several times a day. Sounds like that had locked up most of the drawers and vault in preparation of closing and didn’t want to be bothered.

  9. Copper says:

    That’s…kind of stupid. Unless there’s some kind of restriction on your account, you should be able to pull out your own money. $4200 isn’t an incredibly high amount of money.

    When confronted with this, I would have proceeded to get as much as possible from the teller and then go to the ATM outside and do separate transactions of $200 (unless WaMu lets you pull out more at once) until I ended up with the amount of money I wanted. (USAA lets me do this, I don’t know if there’s some restriction for WaMu…I would’ve at least tried).

  10. zibby says:

    Beats me. I had to take $8,700 in cash out of a Chase one time and I was out of there in 10 minutes. I guess I would have been a little scared if it had sent them into a tailspin.

  11. crunchtime2k says:

    i had the same problem at a WaMu branch in Burbank California (magnolia street)

    Went to withdraw $5500

    The teller told me i could only get $500 that they did not have enough cash. I explained that the money belongs to me and i would like it right now. they would not budge. She told to me to drive to the branch i originally opened my wamu account with years ago 25 miles away.

    i started to make a scene and raise my voice and let people in the line know they were out of cash. 2 minutes later the $5500 appeared.

    I am at a total loss as to why they act this way?

  12. Wally East says:

    Who spells, “Woo” “Whoo”?

  13. sowellfan says:

    I wonder if this was one of those tiny bank branches that’s located inside of a grocery store, or a Super Wal-Mart, or the like. I could totally see them having that sort of problem.

  14. jmschn says:


  15. tedyc03 says:

    Wamu branches have these machines that dispense money like vending machines. They probably didn’t have much in them at the end of the day and didn’t want to have to reload them. Laziness all around.

  16. blainer says:

    What is a non-traditional Wa-Mu Branch? If this isn’t inside a Safeway or something, I can see the problem.

  17. backbroken says:

    The logic escapes me. You can’t get your money because ‘somebody else may need it.’

    By that logic, they would never give anybody money.

    Wait one darn second! I think I figured out the scam!

  18. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Small branch or no, announcing to everyone how much cash your customer is asking for is unacceptable. There may be a reason why they can’t give him that much cash at that branch but doesn’t excuse them making him a target like that.

  19. newguy546876 says:

    Having worked at a credit union with several branch offices, I think it is highly unlikely that the bank did not have enough cash on hand to do a $4,200 withdrawal ($42k, that’s a different story). The truth probably is that they were slow in the afternoon and had already balanced most of the drawers and vault and didn’t want to do it again because they had somewhere to be. That or WAMU works on such thin margins of cash on hand that I wouldn’t want to bank with them either.

  20. tande says:

    @sowellfan: Thats what I’m thinking. Especially when the manager refered to a “traditional” branch.

  21. bonzombiekitty says:

    I think the logic is more along the lines of “If we give you this large sum of cash, we may not have enough for normal operations”

    Since the manager mentioned a “traditional” bank branch, I’m inclined to think this branch is set up for few cash transactions, thus several thousand dollars would be a lot of cash to give to a single person.

  22. ChuckECheese says:

    Couldn’t they just print some more?

  23. urban_ninjya says:

    Wow, high roller eh?

    I’m sure the ATMs in vegas will be happy to allow the man to withdraw that much.

  24. bohemian says:

    I tried to pull out $6000 for a trip and got a similar response. This was a smaller regional bank. First they told me it would raise some sort of flag with the govt. if I pulled that much out at once. Then they told me they didn’t think they had enough in the safe. This wasn’t one of those grocery store branches either. I asked if going to the main bank downtown would solve this. Then they suddenly had enough in the safe.

  25. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    If I were this guy, I’d have asked what the maximum ammount I’d be able to withdraw would be, and do so. Then, in the morning, take out the remainder.

  26. FreeMarketGravy says:

    “…the bank is open for 10 more minutes.”

    There’s the problem. Not that it isn’t poor customer service, but much like going into a store 5 minutes before they close when the shelves are being dusted, floors vacuumed, registers closed, etc. and looking to make a large purchase, don’t be surprised if you get denied.

    Besides that, larger amounts of cash were always locked up about an hour before closing at the banks I worked at since the opening and closing hours were the times when banks were most susceptible to robbery. The majority of the cash was put in the vault and “locked” so if a robbery happened, we couldn’t give them all the cash because it was “in the safe” and “only” the (fictitious) “branch manager” could get into it.

    Not that it would have made him any happier, but it sounds to me like they buried him under mounds of excuses and explanations with logic gaps so big you could drive a truck through them when it would have been better (if not easier or more satisfying) to explain why trying to withdraw that much that close to closing presents difficulty to everyone.

  27. ptkdude says:

    As a WaMu customer, I’m tempted to call their customer service number all concerned that since I read a story about a customer who was not allowed to withdraw a relatively small amount of money ($4200), I am concerned they are failing and I need to yank my money from them. I’m curious to see what their response would be.

  28. Starfury says:

    I was having my pipes done and wanted $2000 cash from my credit union. The most I could get was $1700 and then the other $300 from the ATM. Even calling 3 days before I wanted the money they couldn’t get me $100 bills, I ended up with a envelope full of $20s.

    While I’m not too thrilled with my credit union I’m not willing to close my account over it. WaMu being a BIG bank should have that much cash on hand.

    What I think (may sound a bit paranoid) is that business/government would like all transactions to be electronic. This way they can track every penny you earn/get and where you spend it.

  29. bank-guy says:

    I work in retail banking. $4,200 isn’t a lot. The only reason I can guess is that at 10 minutes to close, they had already done most of their end-of-day work. This withdrawal would probably have meant re-opening the a “head teller” to obtain the cash, which would require re-balancing, etc. It appears to me that one word applies here–LAZY!

  30. thrlsekr says:

    Hope this is something that people who have accounts with them take note and get out!

    $4.2k is pocket change to ANY bank and should be looked at by the corporate management!

    Can say that if I went into a bank wanting my money and they said no I would probably be going jail because everyone on the planet would hear my displeasure and would not leave until they handed me MY money!

    As far as announcing the amount someone is withdrawing from the bank is totally inexcusable and the manager and teller should lose their jobs!

    I could care less if it was 2 minutes before they closed, they were OPEN for business! Do you think if you went in there with that amount to deposit they would say sorry, have already balanced my draw and cannot accept your money.

  31. matt7718 says:

    It could be possible they already placed their money order for the next day and that 4200 bucks would eat up their cash on hand.

    If you want lots of cash out go to a regular branch.

  32. samurailynn says:

    I wonder if they would have given him his cash if he had said he wanted to close the account that day. Can they not give you your cash? Every time I’ve ever closed a bank account they’ve given me cash for what was in the account.

    I know he couldn’t close the account due to outstanding checks, but it still makes me wonder what they would have done.

  33. FreeMarketGravy says:

    @thrlsekr: Depends. A $4,200 check? No. $4,200 in cash? Possibly.

    @samurailynn: Probably just cut him a cashier’s/bank check. That’s what we always did. Most people don’t like carrying that kind of cash around if they’re just closing their account and banks definitely don’t like giving that kind of cash out.

  34. tortcat says:

    To the best of my knowledge they can only refuse you cash or limit it if its listed in the banking agreement…normally in “mice type”.

    I would call( or better yet go in person!) at a full service branch and firmly but politely insist on speaking with an officer of the bank.

    When asked why,,” sure I tried to withdraw cash and was told they had no cash”…a nice loud voice would do nicely.

    But they are required to show you the fine print if it exists, showing u the limits on branches etc pertaining to your account.

    Otherwise you may be able file a grievance with your state banking commission. But I have a feeling there is “mice type” somewhere that gives them the “out”

  35. chicagocooper says:

    Back in collage I got a loan from a family member for school expenses. I took the check to Bank of America (the bank who issued the check) to cash it so I could deposit the cash in my bank account and have immediate availability. Turns out BOA doesn’t honor checks they issue and would only give me 1k and a cashiers check for the rest…

  36. p1davidj says:

    I worked in an “in-store” branch for a little over a year, and we frequently faced this problem. Unfortunately for us, we only received cash shipments once a week. The final day before the new money would arrived, we sometimes had to deny requests over $1000 and recommend the traditional branch down the street unless the customer was willing to receive their funds in an unusual denomiation (i.e. 10s/20s/50s vs. 100s). Add to the fact that Thaddius showed up 10 minutes before close, I can understand the denied request for $4200. This being said, it’s completely inappropriate for the employees to discuss the transaction taking place by yelling across the lobby. Of course…how can a dress-code that allows for jeans and sneakers really encourage professionalism anyway?

  37. moore850 says:

    I saw a guy take out $75000 once, they gave it to him in 3 large, opaque green zippered envelopes in about 5 minutes.

  38. I banked at Cal Fed, a fairly small bank (I think) before it was eaten by Citibank. I walked in a small branch and said I wanted $6700 in cash, with no notice. They had no problem with it. I never thought that someone would need to call 3 days ahead to get THEIR money, but now I’ll keep that in mind in the future.

  39. BlyGilmore says:

    it just amazes me that we’ve come to the day and age where you can go to a BANK try and take out YOUR money and they feel perfectly secure telling you “no thanks.”

  40. DXDawg says:


    Instant win.

  41. TheKingBoar says:

    You can bag on Bank of America all you want, but I needed to withdrawal about $10,000 from my account, and I only had a small local branch. They didn’t even bat an eye at me. Sent me over to the merchant teller so they could count it a couple times (which I was more than willing to wait for considering the amount). I had my money in no time.

  42. gew95001 says:

    I recently had to withdraw over $8000 from a Bank of America account to transfer to an account in another bank. They had it, barely. They too yelled around about my $8600 cash withdrawl, but in my case the bank was full of people at lunchtime. The teller actually stacked it on the top counter for all to see as she counted it. I was not happy.

  43. wdnobile says:

    SAme thing happened to me with Bank of America – banks are evil.

  44. How anyone can bank with someone who calls themselves “WaMu” is beyond me.

  45. Orv says:

    I think maybe banks just don’t do that much business in cash anymore. I once went to a TCF Bank branch to withdraw $2000 in cash to buy a car. They told me they didn’t have any $100 bills! They had to give me the whole amount in $50s.

  46. BillyShears says:

    It was about 10 minutes to close…

    Man, it’s just common courtesy to not be one of those guys who’s cynically literal about a place’s hours as you burst in at 5:50 – closing’s at 6:00 – and expect full service because the clock hasn’t rolled over yet.

  47. adambadam says:

    I seem to remember reading in my Wells Fargo agreement that for withdrawals over $3k a one-day notice may be necessary. FWIW

  48. Dan25 says:

    I’m willing to bet that they had just already balanced the valut and their individual cash drawers and were being lazy. $4200 is not a lot of money and my tellers cash dozens of checks that size and larger on a daily basis. I guess thats just the kind of treatment this guy should expect when he does business with the Wal-Mart of banks.

  49. qrius says:

    don’t fret y’all. banks don’t always keep a lot of money, after all, that’s how banks work. You put in money, they lend most of it out as loans to make profit as interest. you in the meantime get services (free @ wamu). It’s called a trade-off.

    also, this is usually specific to a bank. It could have been that a person before you made a large withdrawl. How do I know these things? I was a teller for 5 years.

    It’s surprising how little people know about banking.

  50. qrius says:


    also, this is usually specific to a bank branch. (You could probably go to another WAMU and not have a problem getting the cash).

  51. Dan25 says:

    @ptkdude: They are failing. Check their first quarter earnings.

  52. @rnkoneil: THANK YOU! I’ve been saying that for weeks, Its Who Hoo, Woo Hoo! (sorry for being off topic) Anyways, that sucks he can’t take his own money out, I’d be pissed too. Are you sure this isn’t one of those tiny branches in Safeway or something? Maybe they don’t carry as much cash on hand? But still, even then they should let you come back tomorrow.

  53. Buran says:

    @BillyShears: It’s courtesy, yes, but at the same time, open for business is open for business.

  54. Boltonism says:

    A checking account is defined as POD – Payable on Demand. If funds are available in the account, and identity is verified, the bank must, by law, honor the demand to pay. This branch is poorly managed, and they screwed their customer.

  55. doireallyneedausername says:

    This is NORMAL for WaMu. The branch that this gentleman most likely used was an “Ocassio” store-format branch (internal term). (Google “Ocassio” and “Wamu” to get more info on these branches). Ocassio branches are much smaller than traditional branches and are not equipped to handle a high volume of transactions. They’re typically located in smaller location that typically couldn’t support a full-sized bank branch to begin with. The Ocassio branches lack a full sized vault, safe-deposit boxes, and sometimes investment and loan officers. They can be easily identified by the pod-style desk layout (versus the traditional bank windows) and are staffed with only a handful of people at any given time. The biggest difference is the fact that tellers do not handle any cash withdrawals, nor do they keep any cash in the drawers. Cash is dispensed at an automated machine at the front of the store, through a time-limited, unique PIN code that is issued to the customer. Deposited cash is quickly dumped into a locked box at each pod during the transaction. Third-party vendors take care of cash handling and refilling the machines after-hours.

    In this gentleman’s situation, the bank could have been running low on cash in the automated machine. I have been in the same situations where I needed more cash than the branch had on hand. In these situations, I have to travel to a traditional branch, or call the branch ahead of time. They should have the cash available within 72 hours. (If you miss the order cut-off time on day 1, order is processed on day 2, and cash is delivered on day 3). That may be unacceptable to some, but in my situation, I’m normally able to plan far enough ahead to avoid this situation.

    The only time I had any complaints about Ocassio branches is when I was trying to deposit close to $1,500 in coins after a coin fundraising drive. I was told that the branch simply did not have enough space to handle that type of coinage and was directed to a traditional branch. While I was miffed by the explanation at first, the branch manager at the Ocassio branch notified the branch manager at the nearby traditional-format bank branch, who was waiting for me when I arrived, let me bypass the line, and processed my transaction quickly.

    Overall, it’s nice to be able to get in and out of a more conveniently located bank branch quickly, but these Ocassio branches do have their tradeoffs which are not readily understood by (or explained to) WaMu customers. WaMu erred in yelling out the withdrawal amount across the store, but that’s a staff training issue. In regard to the inability to make a large cash withdrawal, this is what I have typically experienced as a WaMu customer.

  56. SkokieGuy says:

    Small local banks take in deposits from local merchants, such as dry cleaners, restaurants, etc. It is often largely cash. They have plenty of cash on hand.

    I think other posters nailed it when they said that the bank was being lazy and didn’t want to re-balance their cash drawers. And $4,200.00 may have been more than the opening balance of one drawer, meaning they’d have to rebalance multiple drawers.

    From Wamu’s Website:
    The Washington Mutual Statement Savings Account is completely liquid. You can take out cash anytime at a financial center near you. Or, you can withdraw or transfer your money by ATM, phone or Online Banking, subject to funds available in the account (transaction limits apply).

    Transaction Limitations
    A Federal Reserve regulation that limits certain types of withdrawals and/or transfers from savings and money market savings accounts to no more than six pre-authorized withdrawals/transfers from each account, including telephone and Online transfers and bill payments. Of those six, no more than three may be made by check or debit card. Withdrawals/transfers made at ATMs and teller windows are not included under this limitation.

    Sounds to me like a complaint is warranted and the loud verbal employee discussion about the transaction put the OP’s personal safety in serious jeopardy

  57. satoru says:

    Somewhat silly to my mind. What I always do before I got to vegas is get a map of all the local branches of Bank of America. They do exist, but they’re off the strip. Just map it out and take a cab if you’re paranoid. You’ll STILL SAVE MONEY if you do this rather than take money out from those wretched ATMs inside the casino. In any case you can get a few thousands at your local branch, then take out more in Vegas as needed.

  58. bukz68 says:

    @FreeMarketGravy: I agree that the bank may have already done the counting/locking up for the night and might just not have wanted to screw that up and have to do it over. However, I don’t think that’s the whole story because he asked if he could come in the next day and they told him flat out; “No.” If it was merely as issue of them closing the store up early then I’m sure they would have told him he could come in the next day. In any event, the bank staff didn’t give the OP an acceptable answer on when he COULD get his money. They basically just told him he was SOL. I’m sure the OP would’ve gladly accepted an “I’m sorry but we can’t get our hands on the extra funds to take care of your withdrawal until two days from now.” Whenever you answer a question plainly with a “no” you’re going to set yourself up for a bad customer service story. Most people will accept a “no” if an explanation and/or a resolution is offered. Not the case in this instance.

  59. macinjosh says:

    @urban_ninjya: With a fee much worse than a non-casino ATM

  60. Dan25 says:

    @Boltonism: Not trying to defend WaMu, but the bank is not required to give you any amount of money when you demand it. They are required to be able to pay you in cash within a reasonable time frame (usually 10 business days). The reason for this is because banks don’t carry large amounts of cash on hand anymore. When a customer calls in and asks to cashout a large withdrawal (lets says $100,000), the bank would need to order it from their regional cash vault and that can definately take a few days to arrive.

  61. sketchy says:

    I recently had my Bentley in the shop and had to take a ‘Public Carriage’ (I think you refer to them as ‘Taxis’). Since these conveyances only accept paper money, and not loose diamonds or gold bullion like most civilized people I had to visit a Chartered Financier (you might know them as a ‘Bank’) and asked for the smallest amount to withdraw that I could think of.

    The Manager had the gall to tell me that they could not give $100,000 in cash, even though I needed it to pay for the livery, automocar repair and perhaps pick up a diamond encrusted sapphire for the wife on my way home. I have since decided to move all of my accounts into a bank which I actually own so that this type of problem does not inconvenience me again.

  62. MustyBuckets says:

    @B: Zuzu’s Petals! Zuzu’s Petals!

  63. lisa1120 says:

    @James Sumners:

    I agree! I also refuse to ever bank with Horizon Bank due to their awful logo. [www.horizonbank.com]

  64. Orv says:

    @Dan25: They may be failing, but unless you can get a better deal elsewhere there’s no real reason to yank your money. Most likely they’ll be bought out/bailed out by a national bank, like when Seafirst got bought by Bank of America. Even if that doesn’t happen and they do fail, the FDIC ensures you’ll still get your money.

    This isn’t Britain. There’s no need to have a run on the bank.

  65. categorically says:

    Going to Vegas? Get a cashier’s check and cash it when you get there. No sense losing your “roll” before you get there.

    Unless you like flashing it around on the Southwest Party Plane.

  66. joshthephenom says:


    True, and they did offer to pay him with a check.

  67. microbreak says:


    POD is Payable on Death, not Payable on Demand.

    I believe what you are looking for is DDA.

    DDA is Demand Deposit Account. And this term only means that the account is purposed to be used for frequent transactions of money in/out.

  68. microbreak says:


    POD is Payable on Death, not Payable on Demand.

    I believe you are looking for the term DDA.

    DDA is Demand Deposit Account. However, this only means that the account is intended to be one used for frequent transactions.

  69. joshthephenom says:

    Maybe I’m just cranky today, but:

    To those saying that it’s not courteous to go in 10 minutes to close… I’m really sorry, but if you wanted to stop helping your customers 10 minutes before the designated close time, then that should be your close time. Banks are particularly evil in the sense that a lot of them close at 5:30 (most around me close at 5:00 so I think I’m being generous), so by the time I get off of work, they’re closed already! I realize that branches open on Saturdays for this reason, but that essentially gives me 4 hours a week that I can do business with my bank.

  70. FreeMarketGravy says:

    @joshthephenom: I can’t imagine you have so much business to do with your bank that the 4 hours on Saturday and your lunch breaks aren’t enough.

    It’s not just banks; it’s everywhere. The establishment begins shutting down anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes before the posted closing time. If you’re looking to complete a basic transaction, that shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re looking to complete a complex or large transaction, you’re better off coming back during the actual “work day.”

  71. youbastid says:

    @satoru: Just FYI – there are B of A ATMs in the Forum Shops at Caesar’s palace – of course, withdrawal only!

  72. mike says:

    If the bank was willing to give him a cashier’s check, I think it would be different. He doesn’t mention this.

    Cashier’s checks can be cashed immediately. Take the check to a casino and they’ll be more than happy to give you the money!

    Side note: if you’re travelling and you need to convert money back to US dollars, you can stop by a casino. My friend tells me that they usually give you a very generous exchange rate.

  73. rdm says:

    Seriously that bothers me worse than it should.

    Oh my god I need to get so far away from Wamu.

  74. Orv says:

    @joshthephenom: It’s better than it used to be, when banks really did keep “bankers’ hours.” I worked for a local bank in the 90s that closed at 4:30 pm. The staff would then spend half an hour doing end-of-day accounting and leave at 5.

  75. Saboth says:


    LOL BRAVO…bravo!

  76. statnut says:

    @joshthephenom: Absolutely agree. If you’re open until 6, be prepared to do business until 6.

  77. jamesdenver says:

    Isn’t this what started the Argentina economic collapse? People just wanting their money from their bank.

  78. MasterPhu says:

    While I agree that they shouldn’t have shouted the amount across the bank I’m going to have to call out the reader.

    Dude you’re going to VEGAS! Take the cashier’s check and cash it at a Cashier’s cage at ANY casino, they don’t charge a fee for this. Trust me, any casino on the strip will have much more money on hand than any dinky bank branch.

  79. GearheadGeek says:

    The OP didn’t mention any specific reason that a cashier’s check would have been unacceptable (since a casino would probably have been happy to cash it.) Neither did he say whether or not he inquired about the maximum amount of cash they WERE willing to give him, nor did he mention them volunteering this information. He might have been able to get way more cash than he really needed to throw away at the casinos if he’d asked, just not the whole $4200.

  80. wolfjoat says:

    @moore850: Having worked in a bank, I can tell you that he almost certainly set that up ahead of time. Especially given that the money was prepackaged and the speed in which they had him in and out. I remember one branch I worked for had a gentleman who ran a check cashing business on the side and he would pull $15000 to $30000 out once or twice a week. Since he was a regular and a good customer we were able to adjust our cash requests to accommodate him.

    @AbsoluteIrrelevance: If I recall correctly CaLFed was a regional bank with branches through out California.

    While part of me agrees with those who are claiming laziness on the part of the branch personnel (It is routine to balance and close the vault about an hour before closing, you should be able to grab cash from other tellers),I do remember hearing something about WaMu’s new cash machines (which were implemented to increase the accuracy in cash handling) and they might change the situation. Regardless the situation could have been handled and explained better by the bank personnel.

  81. ChuckECheese says:


    Even if that doesn’t happen and they do fail, the FDIC ensures you’ll still get your money.

    Yeah, that’s what they tell us.

  82. assirac says:

    I’ve had this same problem at WaMu trying to get $40 in quarters. The teller told me no, since their stupid machines can’t dispense it. After I made a big stink, the manager reluctantly got the quarters for me out of the back.

    When I expressed my displeasure to the manager about this situation, he told me, “Oh, we’re a different kind of bank.”

  83. thaddius says:

    OP here, I called the casino in advance and they don’t cash cashier’s checks without being able to verify the money first, as I am going on a weekend and not arriving until late I figured that cash would be easier than anything while I am there. Cash is king.

    Also, this wasn’t a supermarket branch.

  84. photodesign says:

    I got over $10,000 cash from a Bank of America in a grocery store once – just walked in and out. They did mention that they would like notice on this type of transaction and that it may not always be possible, but they were great about it.

  85. ionerox says:

    I’m a former bank teller, and the manager in question is an idiot. There’s always a way to get more cash at the bank, and with such a low amount (really, it is by bank standards) it shouldn’t cause them ANY problems. All they need to do is order more from their central branch, and it’s there the next day.

    Unless they wanted it in $2 bills or something wierd like that.

    Really, the problem can be summed up in two words: WaMu sucks.

  86. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @moore850: Did he scream and struggle when you tied him up later? j/k

    Since nobody has said it yet, I’ll do it: Credit Union!

    When I take out large amounts of cash from my credit union, the clerk is always friendly and discreet. The guard even walks me to my car afterwards and cleans my windshield. I love my credit union.

  87. emt888 says:

    I worked at a tiny, county level credit union, and a withdrawal of $4200 was never a problem for us, even 10 minutes before close. The problem was customer service. The manager and tellers did not want to stay 5 miutes late to get and count out his money.

    “I’m sure the ATMs in vegas will be happy to allow the man to withdraw that much.”

    I live in Vegas and while the ATM’s will love to let the man withdraw money, they usually only let you withdraw $500 at a time. They also charge you between $3.75-$5.75 per withdrawal.

  88. CaptRavis says:

    Been low on cash before, it sucks, and makes you feel stupid. However, instead of being an asshat ‘faux hawk’ should have told the man … “I can cover $1000.00 at this late hour and any of those pesky $3.00ATM charges you may get at the casino using your card, I’ll take care of on wednesday after everything from this weekend posts for the inconvience I have caused….”Then hand him a $1.00 and ask him to put it on 23red, situation difused. On the side, had a guy that always wanted to get a strap of $5.00 before he went to Reno and they had to be ‘new’ bills, so never give anyone ‘bad mojo’ before they leave on a gambling trip.

  89. raisitup says:

    Wamu has a traditional branch and an “occasio” branch. Occasios have three to umpteen cash dispensing machines, one at each teller station, that nobody can access until the branch is closed. There is no vault, only these machines. Hopefully I’ve said enough about them that you’ll believe my next statement: they WITHOUT A DOUBT had a paltry $4,200 in every single one of them. No question.

  90. D-Bo says:

    I cashed a check for just under $30k once. The manager (Umpqua Bank her in Oregon) took care of everything, even sending a teller to another branch to pick up more large bills as they came up short towards the end.

  91. D-Bo says:


    And, WaMu definitely sucks. I pulled my accounts years ago when I was treated rudely by a branch manager and brushed off when I wrote to corporate.

  92. joshthephenom says:


    Unfortunately I live in rural Vermont, and work 50 minutes from where I live. Therefore, going to the bank over lunchbreak isn’t possible. And yes, I can go in on Saturdays, unless I have plans. So, once again, I only have 4 hours that I can bank. It’s not a huge deal, since I have auto deposit, but if I get a check, it can take me awhile until I get in.

    And yes, I realize it’s other places as well. I’m saying it’s wrong. Don’t stay open until 10, and then bitch when people come in up until then. Open for business, means just that. Not open for business up until the last half hour, because we’re cleaning, and closing things up. It’s just lazy.


    It’s funny that you say that, because our bank closes at 4:30 Mon-Thur, and 5:30 on Friday, and of course the mandatory 8-12 on Saturdays.

  93. Orv says:

    @thaddius: I’m not too surprised. Cashier’s checks aren’t as reliable as people make them out to be. There have been a lot of cashier check forging schemes in recent years.

  94. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @BillyShears: If they wanted people to stop serving people at 10 minutes to 6, their hours would be 9am – 5:50pm. Open means open.

    I’ve worked jobs where people would pull this ALL the time, and nothing irked me more, but you’re in a customer service business – serve your damn customers!

  95. matt314159 says:

    With my mom’s bank (downey S&L) when they were doing home rennovations this summer there were a couple of times she had to withdraw around $5K at a time. She had to “order the money’ that is, call them up and request that they get the money ready for her at least five days in advance.

  96. FreeMarketGravy says:

    @joshthephenom: Out of curiosity, where do you work? Does it have “hours of operation” or is it kind of loose and you leave “around (x) o’clock, when you get done?”

    If you work on a rigid schedule and tell me you don’t start cleaning up and preparing to close down until that second hand hits that hour, you’re a liar.

  97. FreeMarketGravy says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: Yes, it means “open.” It doesn’t mean “all services available.”

    You may think it’s wrong, but that’s the way it is and has been for as long as I recall everywhere. Stamping one’s feet isn’t going to change that. Walking into anywhere 10 minutes before close forfeits your right to be surprised when certain services are not available.

    This place screwed the pooch big time with how they handled the situation (he can’t come back for his money? What?), but the principle goes beyond this incident.

  98. Comms says:

    I’ve been using a credit union for my personal finances for almost ten years now and I’ve never had any idiotic problems. I also don’t pay the many fees and charges that people seem to pay at big banks.

    The only benefit I can see from using a big bank is having branches everywhere but the downside is you’re just customer number 01984901283091.

    Fuck that.

  99. MercuryPDX says:

    “The manager let me know that I could try a ‘traditional’ WaMu branch as they have ‘more leniencies’ with the withdrawal amount. “

    The only thing I can think of is that the OP went to a “service branch” (eg. a small WaMu located inside the supermarket that can provide limited services) and not a “bank branch” (a bank in the traditional sense of the word).

    While a “service branch” is certainly convenient for when you need to do something small while grocery shopping (make a deposit, hit the ATM, Check balances), I can understand why they would not have the same available funds and services as a “bank branch”.

  100. zara_h says:

    Hah. Half the time my local WaMu can’t give me 2 rolls of quarters for a $20, let alone as much as the OP wanted. (I do … a lot of laundry. Sigh.)

  101. joshthephenom says:


    I love how you make blind assumptions and accusations. As a matter of fact, I don’t start to shut down until the second hand hits the hour. When my computer clock hits 5:00, I’m done. I save any open files, hit shutdown, put on my coat, and I’m out.

    Back in my college days, when I was a line cook, I precleaned before we were closed. But I wasn’t an idiot. I did stuff that I knew couldn’t get messed up, or would have to be re-done if a customer came in. I NEVER complained if someone came in up until close time. Now, the people that came in 10 minutes AFTER close, and got seated, then I complained.

    It is OK to start cleaning ahead of time. I have no problem with that, unless I come in during posted business hours and get treated like an a-hole, because it’s close to closing time. It’s not right.

  102. Dobernala says:

    @FreeMarketGravy: Well I don’t know how everyone else does it, but we always stay 30-60 minutes after closing time to clean up and take care of end-of-the-day stuff.

    If we can’t serve customers who want to come in near closing time to conduct business, then we are losing money.

  103. joshthephenom says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: Agreed!

  104. joshthephenom says:

    @Dobernala: Exactly. Responsible businesses that care about their customers help them in full, up to closing, and make sure their employees are scheduled for an adequate time after the doors lock to make sure the place is ready for business the next day.

  105. FreeMarketGravy says:

    @joshthephenom: Not having a job where you actually do have to prepare things before you close, then I wouldn’t expect you to understand.

    “Back in my college days, when I was a line cook, I precleaned before we were closed. But I wasn’t an idiot. I did stuff that I knew couldn’t get messed up, or would have to be re-done if a customer came in.”

    OK, that’s all well and good. What would you have done if you cleaned the grill, put away the condiments and someone came in and ordered a full lunch for 5 10 minutes before you “closed?”

    Exactly. It’s never right to be rude to a customer unless they do it first, but it’s well within a business’ purview to refuse your business and ask to return when the establishment is operating normally, just as it is your purview to try another business that doesn’t follow those same procedures. Good luck finding one, though.

  106. drunxor says:

    i withdrew $4600 one time and $5500 another time. had no problems with wamu. sound like that deuche with the faux hawk is justlazy

  107. hazelwoodfarm says:

    @bonzombiekitty: A lot of money? We are talking about $4200,not $42,000… Any bank that could not come up with at least $10,000 if I wanted to withdraw it, is not a bank I would ever do business with. WTF?
    Give me my money!!!

  108. joshthephenom says:

    First: you simply stated that if I didn’t do that I was a liar. I don’t do that, thus I am not a liar. You didn’t bother finding out if it was even necessary, you just made a blanket statement, and you were wrong.

    And remember that time I wrote that I wasn’t an idiot, and that I did stuff that I knew couldn’t get messed up, or would have to get re-done if a customer came in? That’s the part that pertains to a customer coming in and ordering a full lunch 5-10 before we closed. I didn’t clean the grills or put condiments away!!!!! I did other things, like prepped food for the next day. Or swept and mopped the floor.

    Since you’re so amazing at making generalizations, here’s one for you: I highly predict that YOU are the type of person to do things before close and then gets pissed off is something, like, oh, I don’t know, a customer comes in. Don’t take project your anger on the people that don’t like it, just because you’re lazy and you think it’s right.

    And finally, to your last point… Yes, businesses have the right to refuse service. But why would they want to? So they can leave 10 minutes earlier? Seriously, they can either serve the customer, or say, sorry the grill is closed, and piss off a hungry person that will likely think twice before eating there again. What do you think is the best business practice?

  109. joshthephenom says:

    @FreeMarketGravy: And one more thing. In answer to your statement that I wouldn’t know, since I don’t have to prepare things to close…I already said that I’ve had jobs like that. I do understand. I wasn’t that guy.

  110. iamlost26 says:

    I remember when I was in Hong Kong, the daily limit for withdrawal from an ATM (yes, not even a bank branch) was HK$10000, which is roughly equivalent to US$1300. I think the limit for ATMs in the US are $2000. He should have just went to an ATM twice (in two days), it would have served him more like a customer than the employees.

  111. sean77 says:

    @Orv: my credit union closes at 4pm. (Opens at 10).

    Although since my credit union is actually run by my employer, I can stop by the branch in the lobby at any time during the day.

  112. lafond66 says:

    Banks are required to keep a certain percentage of reserve cash on hand, I know it has to be a lot more than $4,200

  113. Geekybiker says:

    Meh. You need to schedule closing such that there is sufficient time to finish up with customers already in the store, clean up and close out. IE closing time needs to be when the doors lock, not when employees go home. (Of course the employees may just be upset they can’t cheat the clock.)

  114. latemodel says:

    There are UCC laws regarding the availability of DEMAND DEPOSITS that trump any terms of service flier provided by your bank.

  115. chatterboxwriting says:

    Banks get more and more ridiculous every day. I stopped at Wachovia yesterday to cash a check. I don’t have an account there, but I was out of town and my bank wasn’t in the town I was in. They cashed my $1200 check with no problems. Then I told them I needed a money order. “Oh, we don’t sell money orders to people who don’t have accounts with us.” How does this make any sense? They just gave me $1,200 in cash without having an account, yet I am “not allowed” to give them $600 of it back for a money order?

  116. evilinkblot says:


    You win life

  117. whuffo says:

    Went to a WaMu main branch a couple of weeks ago to open a checking account for a 16 year old. It took them all of 10 seconds to say NO – quite rudely, too.

    The B of A down the street opened the account with a smile. No problem at all – and the same deal that WaMu trumpets so loudly (no fees, etc.)

    Banking is a service. The people providing (or not) that service make the difference between a good bank and an awful one.

    I know many have had problems with B of A. I never have, but maybe my day is coming. But their customer service is light years beyond WaMu’s arrogant refusal to provide even the minimum amount of service.

    WaMu = Just say NO.

  118. maines19 says:

    @ doireallyneedausername: If the “Ocassio” branches are not traditional, they’re certainly ubiquitous–I’ve never seen another type of WaMu branch. Wouldn’t know where to find one. The customer certainly wouldn’t realize they aren’t full-service.

    However, another service WaMu doesn’t provide is temporary checks. We ordered more checks when we were running out, but the order was apparently lost, and I didn’t realize it until I got to the bottom of the checkbook. Went to the bank to sort out why we hadn’t received the temporary checks and to ask for a few temp checks so I could pay bills in the meantime. They expedited the order for new checks but told me they don’t have temporary checks. Huh?

    Instead, the manager said they could give me money orders in the correct amounts to pay my bills, waiving the money order fee. Not ideal, but would solve the problem. Of course it took the manager three or four tries to do this because he couldn’t figure out how to make the money orders print out right and he kept having to start over. My statement was chaos with all the transactions–debit for each money order, then credit the amount because it hadn’t printed out right, then debit it again, then credit it again, repeat until he got it right. I appreciated the effort to solve my problem but wasn’t much impressed with the skill set on display.

    Of course I left my last bank because they started charging a fee for going to a teller.

    No wonder many banks are in trouble. They seem neither willing nor able to do what people go to banks for.

  119. chemicalx9 says:

    federal funds required reserve rate I believe requires the bank to keep a certain amount on hand

  120. Jesse Pink says:


    This is exactly what is wrong with stores that serve customers “live.”

    The store has hours in which they have obligated THEMSELVES to help customers. Unless the store has some particular reason that all work must stop at close, other than a salesperson wanting to go home as soon as possible, then there is no reason to not help a customer our. If the customer is in the store before closing, then they deserve to be helped. I’ve been a server in a restaurant where we were closing in 5-10 minutes before and still served the customer. Annoying? Absolutely, but you have store hours for a reason.

  121. kc2gvx says:

    As a manager at a large regional bank here on the east coast, this is fairly normal. They were 100% wrong for yelling your business out loud. When a teller has a question about money, they call me over and ask me quietly when I arrive next to them. Secondly, each branch is limited to how much physical currency we can hold in the vaults. Because of robberies and insurance guidelines, banks cannot have much cash at all. We often have to ship a lot out, since it would be over the assigned limit. However, to accommodate customers, we can order any amount you need with a few days notice. It is always best to call your actual branch before going in to take out anything over $3,000.

  122. PennyG says:

    I believe that transaction is covered by the Uniform Commercial Code, Article 4 (as enacted in your state). Typically, banks must pay an item (check) drawn on them (i.e. the bank at which the check is presented is the bank at which the customer has the account, i.e., I walk in to my bank and write a check for “cash” and ask for cash) when presented. That is the whole point of banks. When you deposit your money in them, they OWE it to you. Specific laws (cited above) govern how they have to pay it back. The bank in question may be on the hook for wrongful dishonor. FYI, banks get sued all the time for stuff like this.

  123. 3drage says:

    CTR was introduced with the BSA (Bank Security Act), brought to us by our friend the PATRIOT act, and is set up to reduce illegitimate companies for laundering money.

  124. “Woo hoo” indeed.

  125. TrialSword says:

    WaMu employee here, let me try to clear the air on a couple of topics:

    1. Many traditional branches (non-occasio) receive cash shipments once a week, depending on their location. We order the cash usually 2 days before the day we receive it. Lately, due to the difficulties in our business in the past few months, cash ordering is heavily regulated and typically branches receive far less than what a typical branch expects to need. A customer can still call the branch, however, and order a specific amount to accomodate their needs.

    2. Many branches do not have a coin vault, and as a result are limited in how much change we can hold. It’s just a matter of space, any change you bring is kept in our individual drawers, so we have to limit what we take in (usually 10 rolls per customer per day)

    3. At my branch, the cutoff is usually 5,000 dollars. We can usually supply more, but we can’t guarantee large bills for all of it. Like I said, it’s a matter of supply and many times it’s not in the branch’s hands how much we have on-hand at any given time. People joke when I say that I can’t give them 30k in hundreds that “But this is a BANK” but many branches are not meant to handle cash transactions of that magnitude.

    4. The people running the branch in question were being difficult, yes. Customer service is the new “big thing” at WaMu, and they wouldn’t be scoring any brownie points if they handled the situation the way it’s implied.

  126. azntg says:

    Lackluster corporate news aside, I’m starting to get spooked with Washington Mutual. Local service has definitely deteriorated significantly since when I opened my banking account with them a year ago.

    I too have been experiencing problems making cash withdrawls from my checking and savings account in my neighborhood’s Ocasio branch. Similar stories at other Ocasio branches in other neighborhoods in New York City. Previously, I was able to occasionally withdraw sums over $2k without anybody batting an eye. Very recently, I noticed that WaMu employees across the board applying more scrutiny to any withdrawls larger than $500 (which should have been done in the first place, in my opinion. But this activity happened suddenly after it was announced that WaMu corporate was on a downhill slide, making me wary as well). In some ways, I feel like a criminal even though I’m taking my own money!

    In light of these events and other issues that I’m noticing, I’m considering to phase out doing business with WaMu. I plan to transition in with another bank and a credit union which I currently have accounts with.

    Maybe I’ll maintain a shell account with a very small deposit amount with the naive hope that if another bank is to buy out WaMu, they’ll continue to honor the current account features and terms indefinitely. If not, my very first bank account will be the very first to go.

  127. Dan25 says:

    @lafond66: That applies to how much they keep in their regional or reserve vault, not in the actual branch.

  128. bairdwallace says:

    @bonzombiekitty: “Depending on the size of that branch that’s a lot of money to withdraw”

    Really? Do you understand this is a commercial bank? Not a piggy bank. I don’t care where you are, a commercial bank should have more than enough on reserve to cover $5000.

  129. jimconsumer says:

    @joshthephenom: I’m really sorry, but if you wanted to stop helping your customers 10 minutes before the designated close time, then that should be your close time.

    Yes, exactly. Seriously, are you people kidding me? It is NOT appropriate to begin cleaning the place up and start treating customers like annoyances near closing. If you want to run a reputable business, you lock the doors at closing and THEN begin the process of shutting the place down. You don’t shut down early and treat customers poorly.

    The easy way to solve this? Don’t let employees leave “when their work is done.” If you close at 6 and it takes an hour to clean up, then the employee schedules go until 7.

  130. joshthephenom says:

    @jimconsumer: Exactly! I’ve worked at places that do this, it works remarkably well.

  131. sketchy says:

    @evilinkblot: Thank You

  132. redx says:

    The form you’re talking about gets filled out at the bank’s discretion. If you make $12000 worth of transactions in 3 separate transactions within a short period of time, they still fill out the form.

    I would be very interested to know why they couldn’t get you your money. I bet WaMu’s auditors would like to know as well.

  133. failurate says:

    WaMu has more than 20 branches in Vegas. Could probably swing by one on the shuttle or cab ride to your hotel. Call ahead though, don’t want another of these screw ups.

  134. scoosdad says:

    @FreeMarketGravy: And speaking of Gravy, the local Arby’s roast beef outlet closes at 9 PM every night. If you go in at 8:30, they tell you that you can only buy non-cooked items since they’ve already shut down the fryolators and cleaned up the meat slicing machines. Stuff like that drives me nuts. They might as well just close at 8:30. My bet is that this bank is actually run by Arby’s.

  135. billy2515 says:

    Just make sure when you close your bank account to ask for your money in CA$H!

  136. samurailynn says:

    @FreeMarketGravy: Even though the business I work for closes at 5pm, we are always happy to help a customer if they call 5 minutes till. If it’s something that we can’t help them with because one of our systems does have to be shut down to be backed up early, we can at least get the information and help them first thing in the morning. This bank refused to even help this guy the next morning.

  137. brettt says:

    I would call 911.

  138. ivanthepig says:

    Try going to a branch, as opposed to one in a grocery store. Especially for an amount that large.

  139. NinjaMarion says:

    @Comms: I totally don’t agree with the whole “Get a credit union” thing I see on Consumerist all the time. The credit union I was with was horrible. Spent 6 months jerking me around when I was trying to get my first credit card. When I opened my account (Just after getting my job), I asked if there’d be any chance of me being able to get a credit card despite having no credit and just getting the job. Instead of getting a no, she took an app for it and tried. I got denied on it, being told I needed more time on the job.

    I wasn’t told how much more, so I tried again in three months. The loan officer I spoke with took an application, printed out the denial letter, and then, after getting me denied and another check on my credit report, tells me “Did they tell you how long you needed to have at your job? We usually look for at least six months.” If she knew I was gonna get denied and needed six, why couldn’t she have told me that before? Oh, because she was probably a greedy assclown looking to get whatever bonus she gets for taking a loan app. So then she tells me that if I’m still with the job and making the money I was in another three months, she’ll approve me for a card and tells me that because she’ll be on vacation the week I hit six months, to come in over a week later. The BS of this was, my six months would come two days after her vacation started, and she was gonna be on vacation for two weeks. I see no reason she couldn’t have had me come in those two days early and approve me rather than making me wait two weeks.

    So almost three months later, since I was in the branch anyway on some other business, I asked to speak to a loan officer to ask whether I not I would absolutely have to wait till the she got back or if someone else could get me approved. The loan officer checked my account and tells me there’s a note on the account saying I’m not supposed to apply until whatever date the other officer’s vacation ended. I explain that the reason that is, is because she was going on vacation when my time was up and told me to apply when she got back so she could approve me. The idiot loan officer tells me, “Anyone could take the application for you. It says you have to wait until then though.” So you’re telling me that there’s absolutely no reason a loan officer, that probably makes some kind of money off of taking loan applications, would have no reason to want me to wait for her to get back other than because that’s the only way / time I can be approved?

    She then tells me she can take my proof of income now and I can just come back to finish the app once the other one’s back. When I told her to forget it in a very annoyed tone, she finally told me we can try it and made me fill out the application myself (The other two took the applications themselves, asking me the required info). When I asked what to pick for living status (the only options were own and rent, whereas at the call center I worked at, our loan apps had own, rent, and live rent free), she almost sounded pissed off that I don’t have to pay living expenses.

    Three days later, I called and was told I was denied. The next day, I closed my account and went right over to National City with the cashier’s check for the full amount. I’ve had nothing but satisfaction since switching.

  140. NinjaMarion says:

    @maines19: Yep. I worked for a call center that serviced quite a few credit unions (Mostly California CUs), and we had a few that would charge a fee for doing transactions through us instead of the automated phone system. I always thought that was bullshit, especially since neither the branch, nor some of our shittier employees who wouldn’t properly read their scripts, usually told them about the fees.

    @iamlost26: It definitely depends on the institution. Most of the credit unions we serviced would only allow $500-600 per day from an ATM or point of sale. None of them allowed anything close to $1200 or more.

  141. NinjaMarion says:

    @ivanthepig: He already said it was an actual branch, not a grocery store branch.

  142. zoomer123 says:

    I’ve had the same experience with 2 other banks: Charter One and Key Bank both in Toledo Ohio. On one occasion I attempted to withdraw $2000.00 and another occasion $10,000.00 and both times I had to give them advance notice because they don’t keep that much cash on hand. I had to give them over a week’s notice to get the $10K out. Pretty unbelievable, but it’s true. I was told that Key Bank (this was a major branch too) only gets $10K for distribution for the whole entire week. So, the lesson is, if you think you can just walk in and pull your money out in cash, you are completely mistaken. And, if your bank shows signs of going under and you think “I’ll just run down there and pull my money out”…well, good luck.

  143. moore850 says:

    @wolfjoat: That’s true, he probably was a business customer that came by every month or something to pick up the money.

  144. bonzombiekitty says:

    It could be a lot of money relative to the amount of cash normally on hand. I’m working off the comment of the bak manager telling him to try a traditional branch. This indicates to me that the branch the OP went to is not a full service branch and may normally deal with limited cash transactions and thus have limited cash on hand.

    When your average customer throughout the day withdraws $50 in cash and you have enough cash on hand plus a little to accomodate the occasional outlier, $4000+ is a lot of money.

  145. bonzombiekitty says:

    @brettt: Why would you call 911? They are under no legal obligation to give you cold hard cash upon demand. They have to give it to you in a “reasonable” amount of time. This is due to simple logistics. You can’t possibly have enough cash in all branches to satisfy every possible cash withdrawl.

  146. GrandizerGo says:

    @FreeMarketGravy: I hate that analogy…
    A business has hours that you are allowed to shop at until that time is reached.
    It is NOT the customers problem if they have already cleaned up where I have / want to go.
    Same thing at a fast food restaurant. If they are open unitl 11PM I want ANYTHING that is on the menu available UNTIL that time. 1 minute afterwards, they don’t owe me a damn thing. I would be grateful if they were to extend to me the curtsy of serving me after a fixed time. But it is in no way required.
    Same thing, if they had already started closing down the ICEE machine, I would understand if they offered me a frostee instead. BUT to tell me no without an option??? The owner gets a call first time I can.

  147. technofiend says:

    There was a great restaurant down the street called Butera’s. But they had the crappiest staff. These people just closed earlier and earlier until finally people just stopped coming to the restaurant. Since I’m talking about the restaurant in past tense you can guess what happened. Absentee ownership is the worst possible way to run any business.

    Before you accuse me of being a judgmental jerk… my grandmother owned a family supported restaurant for 13 years. She worked us to the bone, but when she was ready to retire the fact that she treated her customers like they mattered meant she had multiple bidders to buy the place. The biggest complaints from customers were that she was so loved by them they hated to see her go.

  148. trekkie says:


    How does one identify a ‘regular’ branch from another one? If it says ‘WaMu’ on the front, it’s a freaking bank. You don’t have my money, we have a problem.

    ATMs I understand the need for limits, but inside a building with a sign on the front that says ‘bank’ means I get my money, or you close my account.

  149. doireallyneedausername says:


    The easiest way identify a regular branch is by looking at the interior layout. If it looks like a regular bank (with teller windows running lengthwise), then its a full service branch. If they have loan officers and investment consultants, its a full service branch. If its just desk pods, automated cash dispensers and a tiny tiny looking interior, more likely than not, its not a full service branch.

  150. VermilionSparrow says:

    @jlink7: The store has hours in which they have obligated THEMSELVES to help customers. Unless the store has some particular reason that all work must stop at close, other than a salesperson wanting to go home as soon as possible, then there is no reason to not help a customer our.

    On the flip side, I’ve had hourly jobs where, if my timecard wasn’t stamped within 2 minutes of closing time, I’d get chewed out for having overtime that they didn’t think they should have to pay me for. If a customer came in close to closing, such that closing up kept me there after “closing time”, I had to be willing to do it without pay. At one job in particular, I was probably the only person who was ever willing to help a customer and re-close (because even I did all my closing tasks early just in case nobody came in), because of the “we’ll yell at you if you have any overtime” issue.

    For the record, my willingness to stay and help customers who came in at the last minute and my unwillingness to do it for free is what’s gotten me fired at least once.

  151. ManicPanic says:

    @sketchy: I believe you left out the part where you needed to pay your 24 karat dogs personal dogwalker and have your personal toast chef burn 100 dollar bills while you lounge in your hot tub filled with evian water.

  152. TheMadCow says:

    “Of course…how can a dress-code that allows for jeans and sneakers really encourage professionalism anyway?”

    Exactly! How can any trust someone who isn’t a suit? Afterall, only slackers and no-goods where sneakers and jeans. And just to make sure, I wear Hawaiian shirts. Now I KNOW that I’m sloppy and unprofessional.

  153. MrGrimes says:

    I was a teller at a branch a couple blocks from Atlantic City for a few years. We always made sure to have plenty of “large” on hand. $5,000 cash withdrawals were just another transaction at that place. We did request that customers give us a few days notice for withdrawals in the 10K range, but if they wanted it same day we would try to oblige. This story, it sounds like it is a satellite branch and they probably don’t keep as much on hand as a traditional branch. But 4K next day doesn’t sound like an unreasonable request to me.

  154. akalish says:

    Not sure if someone already mentioned this, but this comsumerist post ([consumerist.com]) has links to agencies that regulate banking. I’d complain to all of them about that bank, and to headquarters about the branch. Having your money held hostage, and further broadcasting private information in a public area (i.e. yelling across the bank) is completly inappropriate.

  155. gte910h says:

    Can you spell Bank Run?

    Sounds like the 30’s all over again.

  156. The Porkchop Express says:

    @BillyShears: why don’t the signs say 6ish? Oh that’s right because they are really open until the time on the sign.

    The time doesn’t excuse anything that happened that day. They never should have yelled any amounts, or even any questions. And unless there is some small print, which they should have shown him, there is no excuse for not giving him HIS money.

  157. Acidsniper says:

    I work for a large financial institution. I started out as a Personal Banker and worked daily with cash w/d and check cashing. Branches are required to keep 5% of their “in house” accounts cash on hand at all times per federal regulations. For the average branch and size of bank this ranges from $40k into the millions depending on the size of the branch / bank.

    In order to cut down on the risk to the bank involving theft and burglary most institutions require that tellers keep no more than $2k in the their drawers at all times (typically why you see tellers walking to the back after helping a customer who just deposited cash). Almost all large institutions (Chase, WF, BofA, WaMU, etc) currently use TCDs (Teller Cash Dispensers) which are dual locked fire proof “mini safes” that the teller can dispense from. Depending on how the cash stores are set up, they typically hold $40k – $250k and dispense the cash in denominations based on the tellers commands. Most banks have internal regulations regarding how much cash can be w/d at any one time mainly dependent upon their cash on hand, and next cash shipment. However, these usually constitute cash w/d over $6000.

    The only federal regulations regarding cash w/d or check cashing is a CTR report, or a Currency Transaction Report, which is required by law for all cash taken out of the branch exceeding $10,000.00 the other is a MPL or a Monetary Purchase Log and this is required for all “Official Items” (Official checks, money orders) purchased in cash that exceeded $3,000.00. They don’t limit how much you can w/d or cash, just that if you exceed these boundaries that it must be reported to the govt.

    From what it sounds like to me the WaMU teller and manager you dealt with were just lazy and more than likely had already balanced their TCD for the night and were just counting down the minutes to go home. The fact that they spoke from across the room regarding the amount of funds you are w/d are a direct violation of the BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) as well as internal WaMU customer privacy acts. My bank works directly with WaMU who mirrors rather closely our internal policies.

    I would recommend contacting the branches Regional Manager regarding the issue and take it up with them. Granted it won’t help you regarding getting the cash right then, but it will help to bring some closure and possibly some education as to how WaMU operates.

  158. morouxshi says:

    Just last week I went to withdraw $5,500 dollars from WaMu and they just instructed me to go to the machine in the back because it had the most hundreds.

    No 1 day notice, no nothing.

    I am not defending WaMu, they certainly suck, and I am looking for a place to move my money to, but they have never given me any problems other than ridiculous fees and shitty phone support.

  159. kbarrett says:

    @sketchy: Incorrect, Sketchy.

    Rich customers get what they want … the bank will do anything to avoid losing them.

    If you have a huge wad of cash deposited, the bank will move heaven and earth to get you whatever you want.

    A Wamu storefront bank would send a runner to a main branch, and serve drinks to the big depositor while the $100,000 was being fetched.

    Only small depositors get the brush-off.

  160. PParker442 says:

    As a former WaMu employee, an ex-WaMoolian as the company jokingly calls their employees, I can say that these Occasio branches are not setup for large cash withdrawls. Typically customers are requested to call a head to ensure that the branch they will be visiting has enough currency on hand. Ultimately, the manager of this particular Occasio branch should have called another branch to ensure that another branch could handle the transaction and thusly ensured customer satisfaction.

    Withdrawls of $10,000 or more generate a SAR (Suspicious Activity Report) that gets sent to the IRS.

    Lastly, in regards to cashiers checks, due to increases in fraud involving cashier checks some banks, WaMu included, treat cashier checks as regular personal checks. Meaning that these will not clear any sooner than a regular check.

  161. NinjaMarion says:

    And that’s the problem right there. Why should you have to drive to the branch and go in just to find out it’s a shitty half-bank? If it says Washington Mutual on the outside and nothing else, it should have your money and all the capabilities of a full branch. If it’s gonna be an “Ocassio” or whatever or some other kind of gimped half-bank, they should tell you right in the name. Maybe call it a WaMu Convenience Branch or something and make it fully clear that they don’t have the same capabilities as main branches.

    @VermilionSparrow: Well that’s an issue with the management of the place being horrible. Still doesn’t make the being pissed at people for being there before closing right.

  162. wolftrouble says:

    I bank at a credit union, a relatively large one (Keypoint CU, in the SF bay area) and came in to a branch a few weeks ago asking for $2600 in cash.

    They said $2500 is their limit.

    I said, wait, so I can’t have my money in cash?

    She said oh yes, you can, but you need to ask.

    I sat there a little confused for a minute and said, “Uh, I’m asking you right now, actually.”

    She corrected herself and said I had to ask *in advance*, like a day or so. But in any case, to her credit she admitted it’s only $100 over, so she forked it over. But I was quite surprised.

  163. migsims says:

    I dunno, I love WAMU, I’ve been with BOFA and Wells, and WAMU is the best I’ve had so far, always helpful and free checks. Plus the lines are faster than any other bank I’ve ever been in.

    This situation sounds pretty effed up though.

  164. digitol says:


    Exactly. I gotta say many of the complaints on this site are valid, however in thad’s case (original poster) I don’t think it’s warranted. Bottom Line, know the policies. Also the title of the article is misleading. As if to make you think WAMU hasn’t the funds period, rather than visit a Traditional Branch. Anyhoo. Gotta play devil’s advocate. :)

  165. ziesmania says:

    I work as a bank teller currently at a large branch, and i would like to comment that this amount is relatively large transaction especially 10 minutes before close. What most people dont understand is that each teller has limits as too how much cash is available to them, and with ten minutes to close head cash was most likely closed. Its not a simple matter of re-opening it and rebalancing, often these cashes are on timed locks that take 20-30 minutes to open. With proper notice this most likely wouldnt have been a problem, if this wasnt a service branch this probably wouldnt have been a problem, with proper courtesy instead of ripping up the withdrawal slip and making a scene this probably woulnt have been a problem.

  166. godsadvice says:

    CTR as mentioned on the beginning is not related. . .its a anti-money laundering report required for any transactions of large dollar. If you read up on banking regulations, a branch is only required to allow $1000 cash withdrawal without sufficient time notice (usually 24-48 hours, based on policy) the branch obviously is not allowed lenicy on established bank policies, which makes sense since there a national bank with over 5000 branches.

  167. sketchy says:

    @kbarrett: Well of course, but I certainly hope I would not be made to wait with commoners, that smell is very difficult to get out of my albino infant-hair suits.

  168. othium says:

    Every few months I take some of my savings and buy gold. This is stored in a safe deposit and if I ever need a large amount of cash (to me, over $500) I just take some of my gold and head to one of the many dealers who buy it. They always have enough cash on hand to purchase it and I have never been without access to cash these days.

    It certainly didn’t hurt to have the price of gold jump lately.

    I don’t have a lot of it stashed away, just thought I would try to buy some and see where the price went. It’s kind of nice to know that I have something to fall back on in an emergency.

  169. UnnamedUser says:

    I’m not surprised. WaMu may have screwed the pooch with sub prime mortgages. They my not be provide cash to customers with deposits.

    I’ve advised an associate who I know has accounts at WaMu to get hisself over to WaMu right now and get his cash out now, not Monday, while he still can.

  170. ryaninc says:

    This actually happened to me once. I went to a grocery store branch of my bank (the one closest to my house) and tried to get $1400 in cash. They said that they could only give me $1000 since they were a store branch and that I’d have to visit a real branch to get more. Ridiculous.

  171. jenl1625 says:

    @FreeMarketGravy: Sure, you can do bank business on your lunch break – assuming there’s a bank close by, and you’re lunch break is long enough for you to do more than eat your lunch.

    It’s one thing to count on banking at lunch when you work within a 5-minute walk of your bank. It’s something else when you work a 5-minute (or longer) drive from the bank, in which case you might prefer to hit the bank after work rather than waste the gas.

  172. @BillyShears: Whoa there hippie boy, or Bro which ever you prefer. Hours are literal. Particularly with a bank. Not, “I’ll mosey outta here when my ride shows. See you dudes sometime in the morning. If the surf isn’t up!”

  173. fili1 says:

    How amazing, today I requested 50 thousand in cash from my account and said that tomorrow would be OK (it was before noon). I was told I had to wait a week for my money. It is after all my money and I believe I have a right to it! When did it become their money? I put it in why is it so hard to take it out? And all this reporting to various agencies, am I a criminal suspect just for wanting my money in cash? I was offered a cashiers check for the amount, what a joke. It is MY money not the banks. Period. Twenty-four hours should be enough time for them to locate MY cash, I dare say. The bank bye the way is Chase. And what do I need my cash for? That is my concern now is it not? On reason is if I had a genuine emergency I couldn’t get my money if I needed it because the bank would not release it.

  174. fili1 says:

    @Dan25: I am not demanding any amount of money, just my own money, money I put in, its not the bank’s money in case you have forgotten that. I should be paid in a reasonable time, like 24 hours. Whatever the amount!

  175. fili1 says:

    @zibby: Yes Chase let me take out 8000, however I wanted 50 thousand from my account and said that tomorrow would be fine. I was told I would not receive my money for a full week. It is after-all my money I wasn’t asking for a loan.