Bank Error in Nobody’s Favour

To Bigtown, where my plan was to meet my fellow local cycle campaigners for what we like to call a board meeting (coffee and cakes at our favourite cafe) and to sort out changing the signatories on our bank account to reflect the fact that we have got a new secretary (for the last six months) and treasurer (for the last three). We haven’t been tackling this with a huge sense of urgency partly because we don’t really spend much money, well any money, so we haven’t actually needed to sort out the signatories and partly because every encounter with the bank – well, any bank – leaves one with a slight sapping of the will to live and we’ve been avoiding it. However, it’s the kind of thing that does have to get sorted eventually, and our old treasurer had managed to get 50% of the correct forms from the bank and get them signed, and I had managed to summon up the effort to take them in, only to be told that one of the forms was the wrong form and, after much poking of the computer and head scratching on the part of the bank clerk, be given two new forms, one for each new signatory, so they could prove they weren’t money launderers. I was then told to hang on to the form I had, until the new signatories had put in their forms, and then everything could go off to head office together.

One of our new signatories very efficiently gathered up all her ID and took everything into the bank where the form was carefully checked and supposedly put aside for the other forms to be taken in. The other signatory then emailed to say she planned to drop her forms in today and I, having had a bit of a premonition about it, decided to drop in the main form at the same time to check that nothing went wrong, which was a good thing because a) it turns out the first signatory’s form had already gone off to head office where they were now scratching their heads over it because they hadn’t had the main form yet, and so it was bouncing around in the system waiting for our old treasurer to reply to a letter they had sent him about it to an address he had moved out of, and b) the second signatory hadn’t brought in any ID because the form she had to fill in didn’t say anywhere that two forms of ID would be needed, despite the fact that it was a fairly crucial part of the whole process of proving you’re not a money launderer, and you’d think the bank might want to put that on the form just to save everyone some time.

I now have the horrible feeling that, once the second signatory’s form has gone in, it will sit in limbo along with my form, waiting for the first signatory’s form to arrive, which will never happen because it is already at head office, where they are waiting for the response from our old treasurer to their letter which he will not receive because he has moved to Lincoln. And so we will remain, at a bureaucratic impasse, until someone works out a way around it, the bank goes bust out of sheer inefficiency, or we all die of old age, whichever is the sooner .

Oh, and our new treasurer has just announced that she is leaving. So in a few weeks (or, more likely, months or years) we will have to do it all again. ‘Easier just to open a new bank account’, the other half suggests. I’m beginning to think he might be right.


7 Responses to Bank Error in Nobody’s Favour

  1. Our school parent council has been trying to change signatories for better part of a year. They claim the old treasurer’s sig isn’t right. Oddly though, they seem able to keep cashing cheques that he has signed with that same signature…

  2. John Gibson says:

    Easier just to open a new bank account’, the other half suggests. I’m beginning to think he might be right.

    I think you would be better off keeping the money in a tin at home, if everyone is ok with that.

  3. commuterjohn says:

    The other half is right!
    I had the same problem with our club with signatories. No way can you change a name without everyone signing to say yes, all signatures checked against security……..
    There seems to be a problem, one signatory does not have a security check so we can’t remove a name from the account to avoid fraud.
    Well you – I on my own can remove the entire contents of the account now and open a new account is the easiest. So I alone removed in cash a couple of grand and closed the account!
    Security – yeah I only wanted to add a name to the account…….
    Open a new account Sally, life is too short.

  4. disgruntled says:

    I should add that on another account for another organisation our ‘new’ signatory was happily countersigning cheques for months before we got the letter saying someone had filled in a form slightly wrong and he was not in fact a new signatory yet. None of the cheques were refused.

  5. “Easier to open a new bank account” – don’t do it! I thought exactly the same once, for the same reason, when treasurer for a club, and it wasn’t. It really wasn’t. It probably didn’t help that the new bank I chose was in the process of being taken over by a large Spanish bank (which, incidentally, withdrew one of the facilities we needed). Some years on, the current members of the committee have made several attempts to close that account, but of the two signatories, one is dead and the other had a nervous breakdown. I’m the one that’s still alive. The bank statements still arrive, and sit, unopened, in a pile in the corner over there.

  6. disgruntled says:

    You can’t win. Right, biscuit tin under the mattress it is.

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