Thursday, February 3, 2011


For a number of years I have maintained savings and cheque accounts with a bank currently known as Bendigo Bank.


I began this association over 20 years ago in North Queensland when the institution was known as Northern Permanent Building Society, and although the bank itself has been absorbed, renamed and morphed over the years, the accounts remained the same.


The accounts were used primarily for savings (remember when savings accounts actually paid interest?) and for writing the occasional cheque – because there’s always one pest who wants a cheque for payment.


I think at peak I had about $15,000 in the savings account, but kept little in the non-interest-bearing cheque account, and to be honest I had no problems with the bank over the years, despite changes of institution name.  This came to a halt one morning around 12 years ago.


I had written a cheque (for the one aforementioned pest a year who wanted one) and mailed it on a Monday afternoon.  This was done in the full knowledge that there was not enough cash in the account to cover the cheque, but I intended to rectify that first thing on the Tuesday morning (this is pre the internet, let along online banking).  Both Australia Post and the cheque recipient must have set records for speed on this occasion, as by the time I arrived around 11am to cover the cheque, it had already been bounced, and a $30 dishonour fee levied.


This displeased me greatly, and I proceeded to explain this to the teller in some detail and volume.  The main thrust of my argument being that this demonstrated that the bank was clearly capable of clearing a cheque on the spot, which seemed to be rather at odds with their stated policy of taking five days to clear one when I was the one that wanted the cash.  As a result, I put my case that they could withdraw the dishonor fee.  Now.


Now possible?  Under any circumstances?  No problems.  I will be closing both accounts.  Now.


You can’t give me $15,000 on the spot?  Are you a moron of some kind?  Funnily enough I do not want to walk around with $15,000 in cash.  I will take a bank cheque.


There’s a $10 fee for a bank cheque?  Entirely unsurprising.  I will take the balance of the account, save for ten pieces of silver, which you may keep.


Oh, there’s a $20 account closure fee, is there?  Right, what’s the least amount of money I can leave in the account and still maintain it open?  $1.  Excellent.  I will take a bank cheque for the balance of the account minus $11, of which you can have $10 for blood money, the remaining shekel to remain in your clutching mercenary grasp.


At this stage the teller, refusing to make eye contact with me, very quietly said that there was a $15 a year dormant account keeping fee.  I replied, far less quietly or politely, that the bank would be suing the executors of my dead estate for the fee, and she should proceed as instructed.


And there the matter has rested for the past 12 year, punctuated only by the occasional bank statement showing balance: $1.00.   I’ve never heard a word about fees.


Until yesterday.


Last week the lumbering bureaucracy of Bendigo Bank apparently groaned to light and disgorged a letter advising that since my account had been dormant for the last three years, it would be cancelled and the balance taken as a closure fee if there was no activity for a month.


So, with some delight, internet banking has just been used to make a deposit to the account, thus marking it as active in their systems – presumably for another three years.


I’m looking forward to getting a statement sometime in April, which will say balance: $1.01, and should the current state of affairs continue, I fully expect to be increasing that to $1.02 some time in 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be aware that all comments are moderated so if you're a scumbag spammer then I suggest not wasting your time. Your spam will not be seen by anyone.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.