At the bottom of my latest statement from the Bank of Edwardsville (www.4thebank.com) is a list of fees to be effective April 1, 2013. One of the items is “Dormant Account / Month $4.00.” I went to the bank and asked them to define “Dormant Account.” I was told that it was an account with no activity other than fees or interest deposits for one or two years depending on whether the account type was checking or savings. I think this is an announcement of intent to steal.
The cost of maintaining an account is not only negligible, the banks actually depend on depositors to leave their money in the accounts. That’s the principle behind the reserve system and the power of the government to shut down a bank to prevent a run on it (i.e. too many depositors withdrawing their money at once thus exceeding the bank’s reserves.)
Here, the bank is saying, in effect, yes, we want you to leave the money in your account, but you can’t just leave it there and let it collect the promised interest. If you do, you are not paying any attention to it and therefore, we are going to begin taking it. This is intent to deprive, theft. It is no different than taking money from your employer’s cash register or items from his/her inventories because he/she is not paying attention. It is the same as noticing that a person has left his wallet on his desk and since he is not paying attention to it, you help yourself to some of the contents.
It is wrong and it is theft on the part of the bank to just help themselves to some of their depositors’ money when their customers have done nothing wrong (e.g. causing additional expense to the bank) but, in fact, have supported the stability of the bank and the system. “Dormant accounts” are an advantage to the bank. Banks should not be allowed to take further advantage by stealing the contents simply because their customers might not be paying attention. It takes incredible chutzpah for them to announce their intention to steal and dare someone to call them on it.
Hope this helps some other folks. I’ve written to ask both of my senators to get involved. Perhaps you will too?