Things That Don’t Make Sense: Old Methods In a New Age

Ever interact with a store or business that just hasn’t caught up with the times? Or a church?

A couple of moves ago we were buying a home in North Carolina. Closing day was a couple of weeks away, and I deposited a check in our local bank. It wasn’t one of the national banks, just a local one with branches around the area. The check was large, and drawn on a bank from another state. I knew that it would have to clear before we could access the funds, but there were 11 business days until closing. That should be plenty. We needed the money for our closing.

A week later I noticed that the check had not cleared yet. So, I went in and asked one of the very helpful people that sit at the desks. I discovered that the bank had placed what she called a “Reg CC” hold on my check. That means it will not clear before 14 business days. Problem. Big problem.

I still don’t understand what a Reg CC hold is, or how it works. I know the federal government is involved, and it has to do with how long banks have to figure out whether the check is actually good, whether they will actually get the money or not. I don’t know if it really requires 14 days, but I do know that another bank told me that my check would not have been subjected to a 14 day waiting period if we banked with them.

I asked the lady about this, and why in modern times, any check would ever take almost three weeks, 14 business days, to be verified? She didn’t know, and said it was just something they did with checks of this size. There may well be a good reason for the hold, but this answer was not it. I was not happy, but it quickly became clear that there was nothing she could do. our money would no be available until a few days after our closing date.

We were able to figure out how to get our closing done, and we did move into our new home on time. Once the check cleared the hold, we switched banks. We switched to one that used newer methods of clearing checks, newer methods of banking. We switched to one that didn’t just do things because that’s how they do them.

Why do a “Reg CC” hold on a check that will clear well before 14 days? Because that’s what they do. Why did I switch banks? because they did things that negatively affect customers simply because that’s the way they did them.

How many things do we make our congregations go through that used to make sense, but don’t anymore? This year we should take a look at our processes and streamline what isn’t helpful.