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I'm currently dealing with a clusterF around a deposit that was credited to the wrong bank account. Neither bank has the target account number where the deposit was credited. Both banks pointing fingers at each other. What is the best route to get this resolved?

The details:

  • Bank A: The source bank containing the Account A that wrote the check.

  • Bank B: The target bank that should have received the deposit and credited Account

  1. A deposit was mailed to a branch at Bank B containing a check from Account A and a deposit slip for the target Account B.

  2. The deposit is debited from Account A, but a credit never shows in Account B

  3. Bank A claims that the deposit was made to correct rounding number at Bank B, but has no record of the target account number. Bank A claims Bank B should have the target account number.

  4. Bank B claims they never received / deposit that check into ANY of it's accounts after conducting a database search for all deposits received from Bank A during 2020. Bank B claims Bank A should have the target account number.

  5. The image of the back of the check from Bank A is illegible, so we cannot identify a routing or account number.

I would think the originating bank should be responsible for providing a target bank account number since it's possible the target bank never received the check.

Any advice would be helpful.

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    What exactly do you mean by "a deposit was mailed"? Who initiated this deposit, and who was responsible for filling out the deposit slip for Bank B? Bank A's only responsibility would seem to be to clear the check written against Account A once it is cashed. – chepner Sep 3 '20 at 18:03
  • @chepner The account holder for Account A mailed the deposit. They had deposit slips for Account B already in hand. Account A would have filled out the amount in the deposit slip, but the deposit slip already had the destination account and routing numbers prefilled. – mwex501 Sep 3 '20 at 18:16
  • So who gave Bank A that slip? Bank A did not provide the numbers; they merely sent the slip they were given. – chepner Sep 3 '20 at 18:22
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    Why would Bank A be doing the mailing, and why would Bank A be writing the check? It would seem to me that you would be writing the check against your account and mailing the check. Why would a bank be mailing a check to another person to his bank verses directly to the account holder in Bank B. Seems you are leaving a lot of details out. – Programmer66 Sep 3 '20 at 18:49
  • @Programmer66 lots of banks have a service where they will mail a check to someone for you. I'm not sure if that's what happened here or not though. – Kat Sep 4 '20 at 2:13
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I don't have direct experience of the US banking system, but from what I know of the UK's system, and what I've read here...

If the check was mailed to Bank B (for credit to Account B), then for Bank A to have debited Account A then Bank B must have processed the check and sent it (or an image of it) to Bank A to be cleared. During this processing, Bank B should have recorded it as a credit for Account B (albeit of as-yet-uncleared funds).

The nature of cheque/check clearing is such that there's no real need for Bank A to know to which account at Bank B the money is destined: all that needs to happen (at least in principle) is that the total of all checks drawn on Bank A payable to accounts with Bank B is calculated, and Bank A pays Bank B that amount of money (less any checks drawn in the opposite direction).

In an electronic world, with clearing often done using images instead of physical paper, I wouldn't be surprised if Bank A got a record of Account B's number, but it's not essential: their (Bank A's) responsibility is to pass the money to Bank B; it's Bank B's responsibility to put it in the right one of their accounts.

I would think the originating bank should be responsible for providing a target bank account number since it's possible the target bank never received the check.

Processing starts with the target bank (Bank B). Once they've recorded it as a (pending) credit to Account B, they will send it to Bank A for them to record a debit against Account A.

Bank B claims they never received / deposit that check into ANY of it's accounts

If Bank B never received the check, how did it get to Bank A to be debited? If the check was intercepted in the mail, and (fraudulently) paid into an account with Bank C, then Bank C would have sent the check/image to Bank A, but then Bank A's record wouldn't show it being routed to Bank B.

Bank B claims they never received / deposit that check into ANY of it's accounts after conducting a database search for all deposits received from Bank A during 2020.

This sounds like it may be the wrong type of search. The check was mailed to Bank B, for credit to Account B. Bank B should have made a record of this before sending the check/image to Bank A. It feels like they should be searching their "checks received in the mail" and "checks sent to Bank A for clearing" databases.

I'd probably ask Bank B to re-check things, making absolutely sure they understand that the original check was mailed to themselves. From the quote above, it's possible that they believe the check was deposited at Bank A and that Bank A would then have sent them the funds.

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  • TY for the answer. The question originated as the destination bank was adamant that the deposit never reached them, claiming they checked the databases with 0 results. As I moved up the management chain eventually I was able to get someone on the other side of the phone to perform the do-diligence the others were not --- they found the deposit and made the correction. They refused to comment on why the other reps could not find it nor the chain of events that resulted in the mistake. BOA customer service :/ – mwex501 Nov 14 '20 at 21:02

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