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Wednesday, October 1, 2008
No accounting for confusion

I received a letter recently about an account that was inactive and that, if it is not used for three months it would be declared ‘’dormant’ by the ‘system’. The reason, evidently, is to protect customers against any breach of banking security.

The account in question is a ‘Business Supersaver’ (whatever that is) and was opened in the first place because of FICA to accommodate cheques incorrectly made payable to Insurance Times & Investments, instead of our proper business name. Account activity is determined only by the existence of incorrectly drawn up cheques. In any event it is supposed to receive interest.
Of course, one would have thought any interest credit would count as ‘activity’, surely’. But the strange thing is, because the account went inactive FNB stopped paying interest on it. And in any case credit interest is not counted by the bank as ‘activity’.
Huh? How does that work?
The letter about all this was dated 26th August, and the additional details were discovered by telephone 9th September. The bank clerk could not answer all the questions, so the manager was to be asked to call me. On 22nd September I got tired of waiting for the manager to phone and called the bank again, which call was put on hold and other things happened. I essentially put the phone down and dialled again and insisted on speaking direct to the manager.
He was eventually asked the same questions, in addition to this one: why is it that a 32-day deposit account is not declared ‘dormant’ if no credits or withdrawals are made on it for several years?
There’s no real answer to that one, other than to say it is all to do with ‘the system’. It is also a pity there is no dictionary definition of these account names the banks create. Their booklets of what’s on offer are usually available at most branches, but seem to be getting quite bloated. Customers will have to keep a regular look out for any changes to accounts, closures, etc, or the introduction of new accounts with new names. One could save money by moving account balances to new packages and that might be more suitable.
As far as I can understand it the Business Supersaver is not a savings account, but a ‘transaction’ account, whereas a savings account can’t go dormant – if you follow me. And if you don’t get interest on a SuperSaver, I can’t work out what’s ‘Super’ about it. By Nigel Benetton

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:21.9 1st October, 2008
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