In the USA, if I were to have an account balance of six hundred thousand dollars which I would like to withdraw in cash, is there any federal obligation for the bank to hand the money out in a certain time?

If so, what would that time limit be?

  • 2
    Just a guess but most suburban branches probably don't keep that kind of cash on hand. If you call ahead, they'll have it ready for you when you go to withdraw it. They probably need at least a couple of business days notice.
    – ventsyv
    Oct 20 '17 at 17:18
  • 2
    I think the federal guideline is there for "run on the bank" type of situations, in practice they'll bring the cash on the next armored truck.
    – ventsyv
    Oct 20 '17 at 17:35
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a purely theoretical question. There is no real world situation where this makes even remotely any sense. Unless you want to buy illegal drugs or weapons, no business in the world would require or prefer cash for such a sum; and the only thing you can do with it is putting it back into a bank account.
    – Aganju
    Oct 20 '17 at 17:48
  • 3
    I do not even see why this is discussion-worthy. Nor do I like to be told that my question only makes sense if I'm a criminal. The question is about money and financial law, so it is not off-topic. End of that. Oct 20 '17 at 18:00
  • 3
    I can't claim to be an expert to make this definitive, but google-fu suggests Regulation D defines a "demand deposit account" as "payable on demand (or on less than seven days’ notice)": federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/int_depos.pdf
    – user662852
    Oct 20 '17 at 18:15

This is determined by each banking institution. In general, if making the withdrawal in person, the limit is based on what you have in your account, but many ask for advance notice when withdrawing more than $5000. They may still allow a larger withdrawal without notice, but usually have a policy in place and will tell you over the phone. You should also be aware that the bank is required to report withdrawals totaling $10,000 or more in a day to the treasury department and may require extra paper work (businesses are often exempted or at least have higher amounts).

For very large withdrawals, you would definitely have to wait, but you may not be able to get an answer over the phone as to how long unless you actually have $600K on deposit at that bank. They will have some kind of protocol to handle such a request, i.e. teller will talk to a manager, who may have to make a call to a regional or national office and make special arrangements.

Most branches don't want to have their regular stash of cash plus an extra $600K lying around. There are insurance and security concerns. The increased potential for theft can put employees and other customers at risk. They may also not feel comfortable unloading bags of money from their vault or armored truck into the back of your car.

While this is a very uncommon scenario, it has actually happened before. It took 'weeks' and when funds were available, additional security and police escorts were called in.


You can find summaries of the regulations here and here and more complete info here. In general, the money should be available within 1-8 business days after it is deposited depending on the nature and amount of the deposit, but the regulations are really designed for more ordinary transactions. For a $600K withdrawal, the bank can cite security issues and decline to honor the request in cash. If you ask, your bank should provide their standard policy, which could include language such as this:

We require prior notice for large cash withdrawals. We can refuse an order to withdraw funds in cash or to cash an item if we believe that the request is a security risk or possesses a hardship on the Bank. We may require you to accept an Official Check or electronic transfer to receive the funds. If we agree to a large cash withdrawal, you may be required to employ a courier service acceptable to us and at your risk and expense. If a large cash withdrawal is completed at a branch you will be required to sign a cash withdrawal agreement. Refusal to sign the agreement is grounds for us to revoke the cash withdrawal and require an alternate delivery for the funds.

You might also find this question interesting.

  • Man, that guy in Cleveland is crazy. "Stuff it in the mattress" should have faded out in the 1980s when all the people who were adults during the Great Depression started dyeing out,
    – RonJohn
    Oct 24 '17 at 19:26
  • Currency Transaction Reports from banks go to FinCen which is also part of the Treasury Department but not IRS. (So do SARs and FBARs, while FATCA reports go to IRS, and form 8300 for $10k cash at other businesses can go to either.) Oct 25 '17 at 5:09
  • @dave_thompson_085, my bad. Updated answer.
    – DSway
    Oct 25 '17 at 13:25
  • What a coincidence that it actually happened, and even with the exact amount I was stating. Thanks a bunch. I will not accept this answer yet, though, as there is no clear response to whether there is any federal law. Oct 26 '17 at 15:56
  • @Sprottenwels: people aren't going to be able to prove a negative. And even if they could, there is an infinite number of them. Perhaps there is a law saying you can't withdraw 600,000.01 dollars on Tuesday's....While there may be reporting requirements, a checking account represents money and you are entitled to withdraw your money.
    – jmoreno
    Oct 28 '17 at 14:10

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