Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

FNBO Direct Savings Account Policy Updates - Concerns?

POSTED ON BY

FNBO Direct
I and many other FNBO Direct customers received an email from FNBO Direct with the following message regarding an update in FNBO's account disclosures.
Because security of your account is important to us, we want you to be aware of one of the steps we take to maintain security: We may temporarily restrict all deposits to and transfers from your FNBO Direct account if we determine a security risk exists and we may refuse to complete any transfer based on the existence of a security risk. Please see the "Note about Linked Accounts" and the "Important Note about Security for Deposits and Transfers" in the updated Disclosures for your account here. Corresponding changes are contained in Sections 7 and 12 of the Online Services Agreement and Section 6 of the Deposit Agreement, all found in the Terms and Conditions here.

In the Terms and Conditions, section 7 "Transfers using FNBO Direct" has the following:
We may require additional verification of your ownership of any External Account at any time (before or after enrollment and before or after allowing any transfer activity with respect to that account(this is referred to as "Additional Verification"). By requesting to enroll an External Account, you: (1) authorize us to tell the account-holding institution that you consent to their disclosure, to us and our representatives, of any information that we request about you or the External Account; and (2) agree to cooperate in Additional Verification, including by promptly providing any identification and/or other account documentation that we may request.

Some concerns that readers have mentioned include:
  • Will FNBO Direct use this security issue to disallow or delay my transfers?
  • Will this be used to prevent or delay people from transfering out their money at the end of the promo?
  • Will FNBO Direct require customers to start sending in documentation to verify ownership of the linked accounts?
  • Will it affect transfers initiated from your other accounts?

If it is just a security improvement as FNBO Direct claims, this change will likely have no effect on the vast majority of us. I would recommend that your linked accounts be in the same name as your FNBO Direct account. Also, make sure not to go past 6 withdrawals per month. Hopefully, by following the rules like these, there will be no issues. Next week, I'll try some test withdrawals and a new external link to see if everything continues to go as smoothly as it has in the past.

For a summary of the FNBO Direct savings account and the 6% promotion, please see my FNBO Direct account overview or for all of my previous FNBO Direct posts, please see this page.
  Tags: FNBO Direct, savings account

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Comments
38 comments.
Comment #1 by J at IHB and HFF (anonymous) posted on
J at IHB and HFF
Hello. Thank you for checking and testing but please see my list of additional concerns that I posted a moment ago. Thank you.

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Comment #2 by Daisiy (anonymous) posted on
Daisiy
Glad I'm not the only one worried about this.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Where do I read the additional concerns that j at ihb and hff says he posted?

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The concern that I have is that with all the banks that I've dealt with, if you need the fund immediately you can always call in and request a wire transfer, this would result most of the time the fund in your receiving institution within 24 hours at most. To request a wire transfer from FNBO, you have to sign in to your online account and send in an e-mail. I sent my e-mail and receive an automated form reply stating that due to the heavy response of the promotion, I'll receive a response within 2-3 days. So my biggest concern is that unless things change, if you need money immediately there is no way to wire transfer the money out of FNBO on the day that you want to initiate that transaction. This is unheard of in banking practices IMO.

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To the poster who is trying to get a wire transfer from FNBO, please let us know how it goes (or not goes.)

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The price of receiving 6% interest FNBO-style just might be too high. These people are insufferable. They are setting their own rules far outside standard banking practice. It's possible they are already in way over their heads trying, from Omaha, to play with the big boys. Because they are acting like either jackasses or preschoolers; it's difficult to know or say which. And I believe, worst of all, they do not KNOW how far off the rails they are. They are simply too bush league to realize. It's all a little scary.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I am a retired person. Got in on this FNBO deal back when it commenced. About ten days ago they sent me a "due diligence" inquiry re my employment. I would have been happy to let them know I am retired. But NO. They wanted me, if retired, to provide all the details of my past employment!! I have only a small deposit with them, a couple of grand. No other bank in my memory has ever made a request like this. It is just nuts. And now this latest outrage re what they refer to as "security". Candidly, these people at FNBO do not know how to operate a bank. Dealing with them is a trial.

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Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Ha HA HA!! Friends, I have figured this all out. Do you remember - from back in the 1980's - the Roach Motel? The famous tagline for this product was: "Roaches check in -- but they don't check out!" Well, FNBO is quite obviously the Roach Motel of banks. At FNBO, our money checks in, but it does NOT check out. This would be funnier if it appeared less true. Right now I really wonder what is going to happen at the end of September when everyone tries to check their money out of FNBO at once!

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Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
On FW forum, someone mentioned that a CSR said that they were concerned that if someone is retired where the fund was coming from. This is as ridiculous as the retiree's post on FNBO asking for past employment information. Really don't understand what employment has to do with the fund that one has!!!!.
FWIW, I'm retired too but haven't received any inquiry (atleast up to now, maybe they're too busy dealing with the fallouts from the e-mail to get to me yet!). I did specify 'retired' on the application and send a check instead of ACH. Would be interested in whether the other retiree did the same thing or was something different trigger the ridiculous request. I'm also the one requesting the wire transfer, will keep everyone update on that.

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I plan on taking my money out a several weeks before the promotion ends, and move it to HSBC while I wait for someone else's promo. I don't want to be hassled by FNBO the week the promo ends.

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Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Banking Guy, just a suggestion, it would be interesting to do a poll on how many current FNBO depositors plan to withdraw or leave the money in until end of promo and if withdrawal, all or more than say 50%?

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Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I think it makes sense to start pulling out of FNBO incrementally prior to the end of the promotional APY to avoid triggering a security check and having your funds held up for weeks. It's a shame that FNBO is developing a reputation due to poor planning or mismanagement of their new online savings product.

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Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
that sucks. The least we can all do is to send them emails telling them we don't appreciate this new policy.

It seems like they are scared that people withdraw lots of money which they might not have available immediately.

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Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You know, there isn't really any risk of me taking the money out after the promotion if they just keep their rates competitive. I'll still keep everything in there if they keep their interest at the pre-promotion level of 5.25%. Much better way to prevent the mass exodus of money than using this weird policy.

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Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Interesting, my sisters and I invested in FNBO a few days apart the early part of May. So we have 3 accounts that we keep track of to see if everything happens at the same time. It hasn't, we are all retired and only one was sent an e-mail regarding the previous employer. We three received the notice of a possible delay in taking out the funds. Banking Guy, you said, you were going to try taking some money out of FNBO and I'm anxious to hear about the process. 6% rate is still the best thing around.

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Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's best to just use wire transfers with this bank if you have a lot of money with them.

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Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I called up FNBO CSR today. he says the email and queries is just general stuff to protect our customers.
I also asked him abt employment verification and where the money came from stuff. I also told him that typically thats the questions they should ask to people they make a loan out to, not from where they get. thats totally illogical to me.

He said thats because of the US Patriot Act, they need verification of funds.
Seems like since they are a new online bank they are taking a strict interpretation of the patriot act. from what i spoke to him, it seems that not the bank, rather the laws that take away too much freedom

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Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Are we over-reacting? This is a legitimate FDIC bank. If we're not over-reacting, perhaps this is newsworthy for the media - Bank Keeps Money You Deposit for Themselves. I'm not gonna panic just yet, but I will keep more "liquid" funds available outside of FNBO just in case.

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Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Is it merely coincidence that FNBO's "strict interpretation" of the Patriot Act rules happens to benefit FNBO?? I don't think so. This kind of explanation from FNBO pins the meter on my BS detector. The question which remains: Precisely how stupid do the FNBO potentates think their customers are?

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Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
My dad also recived a email asking for his previous empoyment he's currently retired. For my FNBO account i noticed this past week transfers took longer than previous times & some are still processing when before would have been credited to my account. Like some one said before if FNBO keep there rates in the top 3 they should'nt have to worry about people fleeing in Oct.

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Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck; it is a duck.

FNBO-D does not behave like a normal bank (e.g., GMAC). We will soon find out more since they already forced people to agree on some really restrictive transfer rules.

I am not moving any more money into FNBO-D and will definitely move all my money out by mid August; to avoid the traffic jam in September.

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Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
When I asked in email about how to identify ahead of time if somone is a "security risk", they replied:

Thank you for contacting FNBO Direct. We will try to contact you if we do find a security risk. Linked accounts are not the security risk, the unverified-unlinked accounts are the ones that we might see as a risk. ACH transfers will go smoothly because we verify the account before you can do the transfer anyway. The risk is mostly with wire transfers.

Sincerely,

Jeff Getzfred
FNBO Direct Representative

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Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
More FNBO-D drama from FWF (David):

Their response to me:



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear David:

Thank you for your recent inquiry concerning your FNBO Direct account.

If appears that your xxx account was verified "real time", so that account will not need further verification.

However, you will need to provide information from the xxxx Bank so we can validate account ownership.

Alternative A: a voided check from the account the funds originated from showing your name

Alternative B: a copy of a statement from your account the funds originated from AND a copy of your driver’s license, passport, or valid state ID

You can fax or e-mail this information to 402-938-5325 or transferverification@fnbodirect.com
They seem to making it up as they go along!!! What a bank!!!

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Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I've had nothing but trouble opening this account. First they declined the initial transfer from EmigrantDirect. At this point I was locked out of the application, so I called and found out that I had to send a check by mail to fund the account. I sent a check for $1 and they accepted it. Then the system would not let me "enroll" the account and while talking to the CSR about how difficult it was to set up the account she was unapologetic and then hung up on me! Called back and asked them to cancel the application and return my initial deposit. They said a banker would call me back tomorrow in order to complete the transaction. FNBO Direct is clearly not a world class organization. I've never experienced anything like this before with a bank.

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Comment #26 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
FYI, I am keeping my money at local banks like Daversbank for the 6% rebate checking. This bank (FNBO-D) is a tough one to deal with. Just my sixth sense.

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Comment #27 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
People are still pushing big money into FNBO-D as if all is at peace. We shall see how this drama evolves. Already: (1) site did not work for a day or two, (2) numerous requests for id verifications, (3) cashedge-like slow deceiving acn transfers, (4) who knows what would happen as 9/28 gets closer, more self-invented transfer rules, etc. Good luck for those who hold large stake at FNBO-D.

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Comment #28 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Some got smarter and utilized their local 6% Rebate Checking...

1. It is local with checks and no transfer limitations.

2. No FNBO-D Nazi-like interrogations.

3. Can be accessed within 10-15 minutes.

4. Talk to a person face-to-face, if needed.

5. Long-term interest rate rather than promotional.

Etc., etc., etc.

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Comment #29 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just got my account frozen.

They are claiming that I didn't respond to their Due Diligence email. I've never received such an email.

The only thing I've received was the following:

"Thank you for your response to our recent inquiry, and for helping us meet our standards to support the USA Patriot Act. No additional information is needed from you at this time."

Since I've never received any email, I was surprised by their response to an email I've never sent.

Seems like the concerns about FNBO were justified after all.

Anybody else got the same thing?

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Comment #30 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
I was able to log in okay yesterday. Hopefully, FNBO Direct will be able to resolve this without too much time. Please let us know how it goes.

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Comment #31 by tresho (anonymous) posted on
tresho
I opened a FNBO direct account on 7 June & things went OK for a while. I have been tracking every comment on FNBO I could find in the meantime. I found that mailing a check directly to FNBO resulted in an interest-bearing deposit several days quicker than an ACH transfer. Then I ordered an ACH transfer of about 1% of my balance to one of the banks which originally funded my FNBO Direct account. On the order screen, I was told there would be a 3-day delay before the transfer would be made. Just before the end of the waiting period, an email was sent me from service@myaccount.fnbodirect.com, the gist was "the request could not be completed. The account provider for FNBO Direct, Savings has indicated there are not sufficient funds in your account to honor the request. Because this could be a temporary problem...,we will automatically submit this transaction one more time.
If funds are not available after this attempt, we will suspend your ability to make funds transfer
requests. This is a Security Precaution. Please check your account balance and deposit funds immediately if needed.
As a security precaution, future Funds Transfer Settlement Days
for your FNBO Direct, Savings account have been extended to 4
days from the current 3 days. This restriction will be removed
after you complete 3 successful transactions amounting to $1,000.00."

I was stunned because this was my first withdrawal from my FNBO acct, and it wasn't for much.
I called FNBO customer service at 877-370-3707. After explaining the situation & after about 35 minutes on hold, I got my answer.
My check for a deposit was received by mail & the amount entered had "an extra zero" on the hold by someone at FNBO. This applied to the hold, not to the deposit. In any case, according to the Customer Service Representative (=CSR) my account then showed a negative balance due to their error (which was admitted by the CSR). There is just no excuse for this kind of accounting error, a hold should never exceed the amount of the deposit!
The CSR said the mistake had been rectified & the transfer should go through that day (the original date the transfer was supposed to have been made). This did not happen. The transfer did go through 4 days later, about 9 days after I first ordered it. Fortunately there was no deadline for this transfer.
When I discovered that an ACH transfer from the US Treasury had been made at about the same time the NSF condition started & for an amount identical to the check of a few days earlier, I called a CSR again to ask which deposit had the hold on it. The CSR was unable to tell me.
At this point I had more than enough FNBO incompetence. I told the CSR I wanted to close the account & have my balance sent me by check. The CSR said this would take place on 7/20 (6 business days later) so that all holds would clear.
Just to be sure I sent a certified letter, return receipt requested, on 7/12/07 to FNBO Direct notifying them I wanted to withdraw my balance & close my account. The USPS indicated the letter was received in Omaha on 7/16. By 7/19 there was nothing on my online account to reflect this. My available balance was still off by the amount of the hold of one of the 2 deposits of the week before.
I called a FNBO CSR again, and that one couldn't tell me a thing, since he was unable to view my account. I asked to be connected to a supervisor. She also said she was unable to view my account, but, very mysteriously, knew the balance to within a few $1000. I gave her my certified mail tracking #, and after further delay she told me that FNBO had lost the certified letter I sent them. At least they couldn't deny receiving it. The supervisor was not able to tell me what deposit the hold was still in effect on. She did say FNBO would do a wire transfer back to one of my banks without charge to me.
Online my FNBO account was closed later on 7/20/07, although I am still able to view it. That was the only promise any FNBO CSR gave me that has come true. I still haven't received my balance. I think wire transfers take less than 24 hours.
I called the Nebraska attorney general's office with a complaint & they referred me to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, which I have contacted. This is my worst banking experience.

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Comment #32 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Tresho,

Sorry to hear your bad experience. I am sure that your experience is not unique.

This bank is dangerous not so much due to the imcompetence of their treating their customers, but that they believe that they can impose anything on their customers under the blanket of Patriot's Act.

I am moving all my money out this week.

Good luck to you.

1
Comment #33 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I also recieved a "Due Diligence" email asking for previous employment history. I called them, being suspicious of receiving a request like that in unsecured email. They actually said to me they needed my previous employment history to verify the souce of the funds.

The account has been open since the beginning of May, they just now got worried about the source of the funds. I reluctantly offered my previous employer info to the CSR, but she insisted on it being sent via email. I refused, saying I won't send personal info in an unsecure e-mail. She then offered to give me the address to mail it in, and I asked for a postage-paid envelope to be sent to me to send them that info. She said they can't do that. I said I guess I'll be closing the account, and she offered to transfer me. I declined, logged on to my Fnbo account, and initiated a transfer of the entire balance to my linked GMAC account.

I suppose now they'll send an email asking for my entire work history, blood type, and High-School GPA to get my money out.

I'm done with this "bank".

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Comment #34 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Yeah, I think most will be out of this bank way before 9/28/07, the way they are chasing away their customers.

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Comment #35 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Many at FWF reported frozen of account due to issues on employment verification. I have not seen a Nazi-like company like this one here or anywhere in this universe. What do they think they are???!!!

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Comment #36 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Add me to the list of people who just got the dreaded e-mail. I can still log into my account, so I just transferred everything but $1 back to my Wachovia account. We'll see if it goes through. Hate transferring money over a weekend because of the lost interest, BUT, it's worth it compared to dealing with this unbelievable tactic.

FNBO -- I'm through with you.

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Comment #37 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
What a mess-up outfit!!!

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Comment #38 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
As of today, I am totally out of FNBO-D (well, about $1 for both my individual and joint accounts).

I am ready to see the final chapter of "Freeze National Bank of "O"" being unfold by September.

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