OT: Direct Deposit Fiasco with Bank of America

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(Anyone who's company banks with Bank of America and who's direct deposit got screwed up today, and doesn't work for BCC (using company initials and posting anonymously to cover my butt, you can do the same) please respond here with the particulars.))

Y2K problem? Probably not, certainly an indication of what could happen though.

The company I work for, like many other large nationwide companies, pays on a bi-weekly basis. It banks through Bank of America. They support direct deposits as well as checks for payroll. The direct deposits usually get run Thursday mornings with the money being effective in the accounts on Friday.

Thursday was Veteran's day (banking holiday). For some reason the process did not get run, with the results being that everyone who had direct deposit didn't get their money. Something close to 7 million's worth.

After a day's going back and forth, we eventually got the final result: Everyone banking with BofA got their money today (at least, nobody's complained yet... :) ). Everyone banking elsewhere will get their money on Monday. You can bring your deposit slips in to 3 or 4 of the other major banks that people have their money in, but in most cases, they are only worth $300 (till things get cleared up on Monday). Those that live paycheck to paycheck are screwed. Fortunately, BofA has stated they will pay for the bounced check fees. They haven't said whether or not they will send out form letters to the creditors on whom the checks bounced.

Now, BofA told us that it was due to an "operator error". They only found out about it when payroll called them in response to some inquiries from employees who didn't get their money.

The questions that this raises are: 1) No oversight? I imagine that they deal with larger sums of money all the time, but 7 million is nothing to sneeze at. Is their Y2K compliance staff this shoddy too? In their letter, they say it's been raised with senior management, and that additional procedures will be implemented to prevent it from happening again in the future. Kinda late for the people that don't get paid till monday. 2) One little screw up, tons of people (to be honest, I don't know how many, but there are around 10,000 employees, and some fraction of that equals 7 million in pay through direct deposit) are SOL for 3-4 days. What happens if it is a major screw up? Who needs Y2K when the banks can do us in just fine as it is? 3) If it happened to us, who else did it happen to? Anyone else out there who's company banks with BofA and has direct deposits? If it happened to more than company, it would be indicative of something more than just one "operator error". 4) Was it "operator error" or was it Y2K? My guess is it was not Y2K. Either some operator keying in a wrong "run process" date, or simply not running it all because everyone intelligent took the week off (4 days vacation + 1 holiday). However, being a programmer, I can see them testing something out on the system over the holiday, when nothing major was happening, and it screwing up the dates.

Now, to be honest, it looks like BofA is doing their best to make up for it. This hasn't happened before, and they've worked with the other banks and people can get at least some money for the weekend (usually around $300, but in some branches up to $5000 (wish I made that. :) )). They are covering the bounced check fees, etc. The rest of us on direct deposit should get our pay on Monday. Payroll was damn happy it wasn't their fault :), and I can imagine the person that screwed up got severely roasted over it at BofA.

To close this lengthy post, I'll leave you all with the second to the last paragraph of BofA's letter to the company. I'm wondering how many of these we'll all be seeing from various companies as the year closes, and Y2K hits:

"Please accept our apology for the inconveniences and frustration caused to you and your employees as a result of the delay in processing. This situation has been addressed to our senior management and additional procedures will be implemented to prevent this problem in the future."

-- Curious Minds (WhatHappened@thebank.com), November 12, 1999


Praise Be we stopped Direct Deposit. Just wish we had more to deposit :-) Will be interesting to see reports trickle in ...

-- stop the automations (before@devours.account), November 12, 1999.

Certain things belong in computers and other things don't. It appears our society will learn this the hard way. When it comes to money and what we need to survive, it ain't much good when it is floating around in cyberspace, got to have it in possession.

-- Hawk (flying@high.again), November 13, 1999.

Look for previous threads on direct deposit. Bottom line -- GET OUT NOW. For several reasons. If your company won't let you out. Hotfoot it to the bank on the day of deposit and WITHDRAW it. DO NOT PAY BILLS FROM THAT ACCOUNT. Why? Do some reearch on PREVIOUS THREADS on this forum. Sheesh. How many times do we have to plow the same fricking field?

-- A (A@AisA.com), November 13, 1999.

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