To begin with, I want to say that all of the Bank Tellers at every Dakota Community Bank branch that I have been to, have always been very professional, competent, friendly, quick, and helpful.
Also, the several times that I have met and spoken to the Branch Manager at Dakota Community Bank, they have been professional, cordial, knowledgeable, and honest with me.
However, I don’t like it when I am given the “White Trash” treatment, being treated like I am a dumb, ignorant, uneducated, poor, know-nothing, which has happened to me twice at Dakota Community Bank.
The first time that this happened, was when I was opening a checking account with Dakota Community Bank a couple of years ago. I was told that the Bank had to perform a credit check on me before I could open an account with them. I was about 48 years old at the time, I currently had four different checking and savings accounts with three other banks, and I had never, ever, been told that I needed to have my credit checked in order to open an account at a bank.
At this time, when I was reading and selecting the options for this checking account with Dakota Community Bank, I asked, “This debit card, is this an additional service, or does this come with this checking account?” The Bank employee said, “If you are denied for your checking account, you will be denied for the debit card too?” That was not what I was asking, every other bank account that I had automatically provided an ATM/debit card with the account, I was trying to ask if this was a separate service, because this appeared to be called out separately. I was insulted and angry about this talk of me being denied a checking account.
Today, I went into a Dakota Community Bank branch, to ask some questions about getting a safety deposit box. I wanted to ask about box size, and fees, but I had other questions too. I said to the Bank Teller that I wanted speak to someone in an office, I didn’t want to ask my questions out in the lobby where everyone could hear me.
In hindsight, I think that the person who I ended up speaking with, was probably the same woman that I was unhappy with two years ago when I opened my checking account, when I first received the “White Trash” treatment.
I explained that I had some questions. Because I live by myself, I had gotten into the habit of leaving car titles laying out in my apartment, and leaving my checkbooks out in my apartment, not locked up. Even though I had something that was large and heavy that I use as a safe, two people could probably carry it off, so even if I locked up my extra car keys, car titles, extra checkbooks, and cash, it could just be carried off when I wasn’t home.
I then asked a question about something that had been bothering me for a while. I was afraid that banks would probably be dodgy and evasive in answering this question, and how they would handle the situation that I was going to ask about. I asked, “If someone was in my apartment while I was at work, and they removed a check from the back of my checkbook where I would not notice, forged my name, and wrote out a check payable to themselves or someone else, would your Bank reimburse me for this loss when I discovered it?” Her reply was “No”.
I was in disbelief, though I had feared that I would be given an answer like this from a bank. When I took a Business Law class in high school, I am pretty sure that this is where I learned that banks are liable for forged checks. I was also pretty sure that I had at one point looked up this law.
My belief and understanding was, that part of the banking industry practice, was to authenticate an account holder’s signature on checks, and that if a fraud was committed, the bank would assume liability, reimburse the erroneously paid funds to the account holder, and that the bank would pursue legal action against the person who perpetrated the fraud. The bank is insured for this type of fraud, it is part of the cost of doing business, it has staff and expertise in discovering and pursuing this type of fraud.
I tried to explain that I had had the belief that banks were liable for forged checks, and that this was part of the FDIC insurance program that banks were enrolled in. She replied, no, FDIC insurance only covers account holders when banks become insolvent.
This is what I was worried about, that banks and bank employees would try to deny that the bank was liable for forged checks, even though the law says otherwise. Though I expected that this could happen, I didn’t know if it would be from ignorance of the law, or a deliberate attempt to deny liability, refuse to pay, stonewall the customer, wear him down, and make him give up.
I had for many, many years, left my checkbooks in my briefcase inside my vehicle when I went to work, went out to eat, and often overnight when my vehicle was parked out on the street. I was confident that I would be reimbursed for stolen and forged checks. However, I have seen so many wrong things going on in Dickinson and North Dakota, that I was suspicious about how banks and bank employees in Dickinson would handle stolen and forged checks.
Stop and think about this, if anyone at any time could get a blank check out of the middle of your checkbook, write a check and forge your name, and take all the money out of your checking or savings account, and the bank would not reimburse you for this theft when you discovered it, why would you even keep money in a checking or savings account? Do you think that you as an individual would have any chance recovering the stolen money from the forger after it was spent? This is what banks have a fraud department and insurance for.
When I got home, I looked up on the internet, “are banks liable for forged checks”, and eight out of the eight sites that I have looked at so far, say that yes, banks are liable for reimbursing account holders for forged checks. Here are some sites that you can go look at and see for yourself:
If you looked at and read any of the above links which are supposed to answer the question about banks being liable for forged checks, you would see that although banks are liable for reimbursing account holders for forged checks, banks can try the legal plea that they were “acting in good faith” and “used diligence” in order to try to get out of repaying account holders.
So what is the truth? The truth is, that all national banks in the U.S. are governed and regulated by a branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury called “The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency”:
“The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. The OCC is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.”
“To ensure that national banks and federal savings associations operate in a safe and sound manner, provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.”
To find the absolute definitive answer to my question, the OCC answered this question on this link: https://www.helpwithmybank.gov/get-answers/bank-accounts/forgery-and-fraud/faq-banking-fraud-02.html :
“Financial institutions are generally required to reimburse customers for forged checks. However, based on individual circumstances, the bank can investigate to determine if the customer is entitled to a reimbursement.
Whether the bank is liable for the customer’s loss depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Generally, a bank is liable for accepting a check that has been forged, altered, or improperly endorsed. However, if the bank can prove two things—that it accepted the check in good faith and exercised ordinary care and diligence in handling the transaction—it may not be liable.
If your actions—the way the check or checkbook was handled, issued, completed, or made payable—contributed to the making of the forgery, you may be at least partially liable. Generally, the bank will require you to complete an affidavit. It may also request that you file a police report.”
Further, if you have any problems with a bank failing to reimburse you for a forged check, no matter what the bank claims, the OCC wants you to contact them at Phone: (800) 613-6743. I called this number and I spoke to an agent, even though I told the agent that I did not want to file a complaint against Dakota Community Bank at this time, I just wanted to get some information, they still insisted that I give them all of my personal information and the bank name and location for their records.
Again, why is Dakota Community Bank treating me like stupid, ignorant, uneducated, poor, know-nothing White Trash, telling me that banks aren’t liable for forged checks? This lets me know, that Dakota Community Bank is probably going to do everything it can to not reimburse customers for fraudulent transactions, regardless of what the law says. You will probably have a fight on your hands with the Bank if anything goes wrong.
Unfortunately, what is happening with large companies now, whether they are insurance companies, utility companies, credit card companies, or banks, they will take all the money out of your account, allow all of the money to be taken out of your account, or fail to pay money that they owe you, and just laugh at you, because they are a large corporation with millions of dollars in assets and full-time attorneys on staff, and you are just an ordinary person, what can you do to them? An individual could spend all of their time and money going through the legal system against a large company and not get anywhere.