Friday, November 12, 2021

Out of Footprint

Dealing with the mundane aspects of my mother’s death has given me the unique experience of learning I was “out of footprint” from the bank that held Mother’s CD. In order to receive one’s share of a deceased person’s account, US Bank requires that named survivors present themselves at a bank office with a death certificate and ask for the money. For my five siblings, this presented no problem; however, as there are no US Bank offices in the entire state of Texas, it presented a significant problem for me. 

Upon explanation of my predicament, an agent on the bank’s customer service line told me she was very sorry for my loss and that they had an arrangement for people like me who were, as she termed it, out of footprint. Their Life Events department would, upon verifying my bonafides, send me a check by mail. This sounded excellent and I asked for the number to call. “Oh, you can’t call them,” the pleasant midwestern voice on the other end of my call chirped, “we have to send them an email and then they will call you in two or three business days.” 

The process began to sound less excellent. I imagined my sibs visiting their respective banking offices and collecting their portions while I waited for my phone call. But what were a few days of waiting, I chided myself? I would still receive the same windfall as my sister and brothers, after all. And to their credit, a US Bank Life Events specialist did call me two days later. 

After another expression of condolences, my specialist, Rebecca, asked me a series of questions to ascertain that I was indeed the Lane Devereux included on Mother’s list of children. Happily, we had no problems with this. “It seems that your Mother’s death has been verified with a death certificate at one of our branch locations, so I will not need you to send me a copy.” Phew, dodged an annoying delay there. “We will send your portion of the account out within three to five business days plus mail time.” Thanks to Louis DeJoy, that meant more than a solid week’s wait, but again, windfall. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, Lane.

The week went by and I began to pleasantly anticipate the mail, which usually offers nothing more exciting than sales flyers and offers to buy our house. In our younger, more hopeful years, Michael and I would ask whoever had gotten the day’s mail, “Did our ship come in?” (And no, except for the very rare refund of an overpayment, it almost never had.) Now, there was an actual ship on the horizon and the mail was fun again. Until it wasn’t.

That happened the morning my sister called and asked if I had gotten my proceeds from US Bank? “No, not yet, why do you ask?” It turned out that four of my siblings had gone to their local branches and collected the anticipated amount with no trouble whatsoever. When the fifth sibling went to his branch, the banker cheerfully explained that everyone else had claimed their portion and he was getting the last payout. Then the banker gave him a check for twice as much money as everyone else. Do the math. My brother got MY proceeds in addition to his own!  

I immediately called US Bank and explained the problem. Again, I was told I couldn’t call Life Events, but the agent would send them an email detailing my complaint and someone would contact me in two to three business days. Unhappy with this, I looked for Rebecca’s number in my notes, only to realize she hadn’t given me a number. Not to be deterred, I went to my telephone service provider’s website, scanned the calls I received the day Rebecca contacted me, and found the number. Gotcha! I called her back. 

Apparently you can call Life Events, you just cannot speak to anyone there. At least, you can’t speak to anyone unless you know the specific 7-digit number of your Life Events specialist. If you don’t know it, they provide an email address to contact which they say will be read within two or three days, triggering a phone call back. (In fact, their email address - - tantalizes with the possibility of an even faster response.) 

The two to three day window on both the email from the official US Bank customer service line and the one from me directly have come and gone without any response. Maybe they don’t know what to say to me or perhaps they are just busy asking themselves the big question I asked: wtf?

Just for the record, there’s no problem getting my share from my brother. He’s an honest guy and perfectly happy to give me the money. The problem is whether or not US Bank is going to go after him to return the money they gave him in error so they can give it to me. Presumably in two to three business days plus mailing time from whenever.

That’s Life (Events)!

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