Discredit Union…

I got to experience the joy of having my credit card and identity stolen a few years ago, so when I go on the road now, I pay my expenses out of a secondary account that’s not linked to the one that pays the bills, keeps my savings, or handles any of the other financial transactions you need to conduct in modern society. I like having that firewall between me and whoever might be interested in gathering up ill gotten gains. I didn’t expect that my own credit union was going to be the one interested in gaining from my loss.

Using the fancy mobile deposit app provided by my credit union, I stood in my kitchen and deposited a check that was to cover my traveling expenses last week. The app said the deposit was successful. I saw the credit “pending” and went on about my business assuming that the deposit was actually going to take place. You see, that’s where I made my first mistake, because this morning I logged in to my account to see debits bouncing off of it like a cascade of rubber balls – each one generating it’s own $10 overdraft fee.

A stop at their local branch office and what I know so far is that without the physical paper check, I’m pretty much out of luck. It doesn’t matter of they have a record of the initial transaction. It doesn’t matter that the error was clearly on the part of their optical reader. It doesn’t matter that the CSR I spoke to could plainly see in the app that everything I was saying was both true and factual. Unless I can produce the physical check, I should feel free to go ahead and bend over.

I’ll be the first to accept partial blame in this case. I should have verified that the transaction was completed and the deposit actually made into my account. At the same time, I had hoped the local credit union would be willing to work with an account holder who has never been anything but in good standing to at a minimum roll back the service charges that would never have accrued if their fancy new app actually worked as advertised. I’d almost expect that treatment from one of the too-big-to-fail banks, but the fact is I found them easier to work with on most things.

I’ll be calling the home office tomorrow. If they can’t resolve this in at least a partially satisfactory way, I’ll probably just go ahead and end my experiment with community banking $100 poorer and far more suspect of “new and improved” capabilities.


I knew it was going to be a bad drive back to the rental casa this afternoon when it took half an hour just to make it from the parking lot to the turn off for the highway. It seems that while the marshland of the upper Bay is good for waterfowl and blue crabs, it’s decidedly ill equipped to drain off large amounts of water. In fact, five of the roads I use during my daily commute would probably have ranked as “dangerous” under most circumstances.

The worse of them was US 40 between Aberdeen and Havre de Grace. A large portion of that stretch of road was under swift moving water to a depth I’d estimate at 10-14 inches (or not quite up to the bumper of the Dodge Ram I was happy to have acting as a pilot car) with locally deeper spots if one were unfortunate enough to venture too close to the “downstream” shoulder. At it’s deepest, the impromptu river was throwing enough kinetic energy at me to feel the tail end very much want to slide out. It didn’t, fortunately, but that was some of the most white knuckled driving I’ve done in my 20 years behind the wheel.

The other four crossings were less tense and covered much shorter distances, but nonetheless, cranked up the pucker factor of the commute considerably. I’m left thinking that powering my way down 40 relying less on skill than on the V8 power of 4-wheel drive and new tires was probably not my best decision even though it ended well enough. Seeing that the occasional Prius was making it ahead of me, though, assuaged most of my concerns. Still, I’m not sure I’d do it again under the same circumstances.

If I drive out of here tomorrow morning and find high water in the same places, it’s a good bet that I’ll waive off and take a pass on the day. All I’ll say is the risk analysis yields different results depending on whether the destination is home or some other place. You can draw your own conclusions on that one.

Being local…

Although I’m one of the last in, I think I’m actually one of only two native Marylanders in the office. As far as I can tell, everyone else has come to the north eastern corner of Maryland from their pre-BRAC homes in New Jersey. For years now, I’ve spent a good portion of my free time griping and complaining about how jacked up things were in Memphis and just how different and therefore bad it was. I’m realizing that these people are in the same boat, though in a different location. For them, it’s Maryland that’s strange and different… and nothing here is right. The traffic is jacked up. The network blows. They’re still working on the building when it was supposed to be done six months ago. Crime is terrible. There’s nothing to do and nowhere to find their favorite food. Everything I ever said about Memphis, they’re saying about Aberdeen… though I sort of chuckle when I pass by and hear someone complain about driving the whole two and a half hours to get back home. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch them get worked up.

Especially when you know they’ve got it all wrong. It must be terrible to be this close to the center of the universe and not even know it.