Friday, May 25, 2007

Time For A New Bank?

As a guy on payroll all of his adult life, I have often heard, but never really had to personally deal with, the biggest small business concern- cash flow.

As a new small business owner, I am now completely immersed in that world.

The clients with my new business are great, and the income is starting to roll in, but the cash flow thing is killing me- and my bank is no great help. My newest client, an internationally known and respected company sent my first check, due May 15th, on the 14th of the month. Good news so far. I deposited it in my business checking account with SunTrust and things still looked good.

Then on the 17th I got a call from the branch manager just to let me know that the check was on hold and the funds would be available sometime late the next week. I asked why. She said it was bank policy for new business accounts open under a year to hold larger checks over a certain amount until they were cleared and paid.

The following Monday, May 21st I received a form letter from SunTrust saying this particular check was on hold until May 23rd and the reason given was that there was reason to believe the check would not be paid. The form letter was from the fraud and loss prevention department.

The company that wrote me the check is a MASSIVE company. Huge. The form letter surprised me and I called by branch manager to find out what was going on. She told me not to worry about the letter, it was standard procedure, and the check was just being held until it was paid. She said the funds would be available on about the 23rd. They were- at 11:30PM. I know about the exact time because I was almost hourly checking my online balance from the 15th of May until 11:30PM on the 23rd. I sort of had bills I had to pay to live, you know.

On the morning of the 24th I called the branch manager again and asked her to transfer a large portion of the money to my personal account, and she did, but the funds didn’t show up in my account until late on the 25th.

So the check was in the hands of SunTrust on the morning of the 14th and I couldn’t access those funds until late on the 25th- 11 days. Does that seem reasonable? Not to me. I will be checking around at other banks.

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