I wrote a letter today to the Berkshire Eagle about a financial scam that my father fell victim to and the after effects of this scam on our family. I’m still waiting for a reply, but thought it would be prudent to share this on my blog in case it isn’t published due to its direct attack of the financial institution that is trying to recover the funds. I ask that if you live in Berkshire County as I do that you share this so others can see how Greylock Federal Credit Union cares more about it’s financial standing than the people it claims to serve. Here is what I wrote in it’s entirety:
“Greylock Federal Credit Union has always prided itself on its customer service and active role in the community. Time and time again we’ve seen its logo plastered on one thing after another with a reputation for being there when we need it most. Up until a few weeks ago, it was, in my mind, an ideal financial institution that has lived up to its reputation continually over the years. A few weeks back, however, my father found himself in the midst of a situation in which he was not only the victim of a financial scam, but the victim of Greylock Federal Credit Union as well.
My father, who is severely medicated for countless health issues, was taken advantage of by someone he saw as a friend; a woman who convinced him to deposit a check into his account and send the funds her way when it cleared. Four days after deposit the funds became available to him. He then waited twenty-four hours to withdraw the money in order to make sure that he was not mistaken about its availability before mailing it to her. Two days later he received a call from the bank stating that the check was fraudulent and he was on the hook for all $5400 of it. Being the man that my father is, he went through the proper channels and did everything in his power to rectify the situation. Vice President, Peter Moranti, however, decided that my father’s desire to repay the money in small installments was not enough. Mr. Moranti decided that the best course of action until the funds were repaid in full was to seize them from any associated accounts, which unfortunately left my sister in his crosshairs due to her sizable tax refund only days before. When Greylock was confronted about this, they were not only unwilling to release my sister’s funds, but outright refused to allow her to take my father off her account as they had allowed me to do, leaving our family in quite the predicament over the last few weeks.
As a former bank teller and someone with a financial background I find several things puzzling about this entire situation. First and foremost I find it odd that the teller who processed the transaction didn’t call into question the fact that my father who is disabled and not currently working was not only depositing a $5400 check, but a check from Chicago, IL. Secondly, I find it curious that the bank would release the funds in their entirety to my father before fully validating the authenticity of the check. In my experience until a check has fully cleared, a portion of it is held. While this may vary from one bank to another, it is still rather alarming that the bank would release the entirety of the check and then try to recall the funds days later. Thirdly, I’m taken aback by the notion that the bank would refuse to work out a reasonable payment plan with my father and instead decide to latch onto my sister’s money because his name was on the account when she opened it nearly eleven years ago as a minor.
My sister is now twenty-six, independent of my father for nearly a decade now, and more or less a single mother of three children. In addition to being a mother, she works two jobs to make sure that her children are provided for. In today’s world every penny counts and to think that a financial institution that our family has been part of for more than a decade would unreasonably seize over $4000 of her money simply because of an additional name on her account that was only present because she was not of legal age at the time of its inception is sickening and worrisome.
If this is the way that Greylock handles a situation like this, I’m beginning to wonder how they have held their footing in this community for this long. For an institution that prides itself on its service, it is not only lacking, but nearly nonexistent. Mr. Moranti, not only refuses to work out a payment plan with my father who was the victim in all of this, but has decided to add a second victim to the list and wage a legal war against an innocent bystander who is simply trying to keep her family afloat in the most trying of times. In closing, it is with regret that for this long I have remained a member of an institution that cares more about its financial standing, than the people that it claims to serve.”
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry