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Don’t Trash Your Bank Account Statements

On the first of every month, I thoroughly review my deposit account balances and the previous month’s transactions in those accounts.

I do this by logging onto my personal banking page on the institution’s website.

If the information there is accurate, I only occasionally double-check it by reading the periodic bank account statements I receive (usually by e-delivery).

Until now.

Recently, after verifying my account information online, I looked at my monthly statement from CIT Bank.

I have a savings account and six CD accounts. All seven are accurately depicted on my online banking page.

The monthly statement, which CIT identified as being for the savings account, showed that account and three of the CDs. My other three CDs were missing in action.

After some tedious back and forth with customer service reps, who were unable to explain the discrepancy, I was promised that all six CD accounts will appear in future statements.

What if I hadn’t looked at the statement and simply assumed that the personal account page displayed online accurately represented what’s in CIT’s underlying accounting records?

Laws in Utah (where CIT is chartered) and elsewhere impose a duty on depositors to examine bank statements for unauthorized transactions, including forgeries and check alterations.

But what about missing CDs?

CIT’s deposit contract states that, in addition to complying with those laws, I have a “common law duty” to examine my bank statements for errors.

It says failure of a customer to notify the bank of errors within 60 days after a statement is made available “precludes you from asserting a claim against us for any such errors” and that “as between you and us the loss will be entirely yours.”

(Deposit contracts of most institutions, I believe, contain similar provisions.)

Does this mean that, had I not informed CIT of the missing CDs within 60 days, it could have successfully asserted I didn’t own them or that they had zero balances?

I doubt it, unless an unauthorized withdrawal or closure had been shown.

But I’d need to consult a lawyer to be absolutely certain.

I’d rather just have accurate statements in the future (which I’ll be sure to read carefully).

What really bothers me is that an inaccurate account statement potentially indicates a system weakness that could come back to bite me if an institution is shuttered and I have to deal with the FDIC or NCUA, which rely upon its records.

Just something else to worry about, I guess.

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Comments (3)
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3 Existing Comments
  1. Romesh Chander said:
    on October 10th at 08:26 am

    Obviously a programming error at “printing of staement”; e-delivery is mirror image of the printed statement.

    If a programming error, then it affects all similarly situated depositors, i.e., in this case, all the people who have a savings account and multiple CD accounts; and hence error would have been caugght quickly, because other depositors would be squealing too. TSo, don’t worry, the bank will make corrections to its programs very quickly.

  2. Charles Rechlin said:
    on October 10th at 08:54 am

    Thanks, Romesh. I agree that this doesn’t have a “one-off,” or isolated error, feel to it. Plus, CIT is relatively new to the online banking world. so it may have systems glitches still to work out. But I’m a technology Neanderthal. Otherwise, I like this bank, particularly for its Achiever CD products, which I’ve posted on before.

  3. Charles Rechlin said:
    on October 31st at 03:47 pm

    Follow up: my statement for October 2012 did account for all six of my CIT CDs, as promised!