Bank is in the United States.

My Aunt (in mid-70s) found a check for a huge sum that was issued one part of her Bank (part A of Bank) about 10 years ago. She put it in a box while going through lot of events, and found it three months ago.

She contacted the Bank officer (from part B, called Banking part of Bank) who said deposit it.

My Aunt deposited the check. Few days later, the bank REVERSED their action and the amount was removed from her account and sent her a notice with copy of their check. They did not send original check.

The bank officer told her to contact that part A of the Bank and have them re-issue it. When my Aunt asked why can't bank officer contact part A, he said part B is not allowed to contact part A.

My Aunt spoke to various supervisors in part A who said write Letter of Instruction. One supervisor at part A said that the bank officer at part B has their own special phone number to supervisors at part A, and they can easily resolve this.

My Aunt wrote 3 Letter of Instructions and when she calls Part A, the supervisors say that their Back Office determined that the check has been paid.

She submitted proof that the check has been debited from her account by the Bank, but the Bank's back office says no, my Aunt has been paid.

My Aunt is upset and frustrated

  1. If my Aunt failed to cash the check, why didn't her Bank remind her.
  2. If my Aunt kept quiet, the Bank would have kept her money
  3. The Supervisors at Part A claim they mailed her a reminder to cash her check. She says that is a lie because she checks all the mail that comes in her home. Especially for a huge sum!
  4. For past 3 months, the Supervisors says the Back Office mailed her their resolution to her Letter of Instruction, but again, she receive no such letter. My Aunt receives all her mail, even during the Christmas seasons.

How can my Aunt get help because she is frustrated with dealing with her Bank of almost 50 years who are "thieves and liars"

Thieves because if she didn't discover the check, the Bank would have never contacted her.

Liars because

a. Bank Part B says they are not allowed to contact Part A, even though Part A says Part B has special phone line to their department.

b. Bank Part A says they sent my Aunt numerous communications even though she clearly didn't receive them. Bank still sends her monthly statements, and invoices to pay her credit card though.

What departmental agencies can my Aunt reach out to for help. She is in the United States.

May you all have Merry Christmas!

  • 2
    Generally in the US banks are not required to pay checks presented more than half a year past date ("stale checks"). Bank B should have warned her (if she spoke to a person, of course).
    – littleadv
    Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


Tricky, but fixable.

You can complain about the banks' responses which were confusing and misleading, but that's probably not the main point. The main point is that you want your aunt to get her money back.

States to the rescue.

You're dealing with a dormant account, essentially. The bank (A) did in fact pay your aunt, but she never deposited the check. So what they did, as required by the State law, was this: transfer the money to the State to keep on her behalf.

Depending on the State, there may be different names to it ("Unclaimed Property", "Dormant Accounts", etc). I'll give an example of California.

California State Controller (the responsible for management of the State finances) is the one dealing with such situations. Your aunt should find which agency it is in her State, and follow a similar process:

  • Check online that they actually do have the money. If they don't - she'll need a lawyer to talk to bank A to find where it went.

  • File a formal request to retrieve the money. Will probably need to provide proof of identity and some details on where to send the money.

  • Wait until the State processes the request and sends the money to her.

Re the behavior and the misleading information - the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be the relevant regulators.

  • We checked unclaimed funds, her name is not listed. Thank you for those two links.
    – Marium
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 13:18

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