Can IndyMac customers get a break?

Customers in front of an IndyMac Bank branch

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: Financial's, as Amy said, were driving things on Wall Street today and may well be again tomorrow. But some bank customers have been left feeling like they've been run over. IndyMac customers have had an especially rough week. Many depositors have had to wait for hours to get their money out of the collapsed bank. But now that they finally do have checks in hand, their problems aren't necessarily over as Marketplace's Jeff Tyler explains.


Jeff Tyler: It's not often that banks turn away money. But some IndyMac depositors have found certain banks don't want their business. William Ruberry is spokesman for the Office of Thrift Supervision. It regulates federal savings banks.

William Ruberry: We're just hearing some complaints about IndyMac bank checks either not being honored or taking longer than they should to clear.

Washington Mutual has reportedly turned away people with IndyMac checks, or told them the checks would take up to eight weeks to clear. Just days ago, representatives from Washington Mutual were handing out business cards to people waiting in line to withdraw their money from IndyMac. John Bovenzi is acting chief executive officer at the bank. He's been trying to restore trust in IndyMac now that it's been taken over by the FDIC.

John Bovenzi: I've personally talked with the heads of some of the banks to get them to reduce those hold times, and we've just set up a phone line that those banks can call if they have any question about one of our customers' checks.

He says the issue will be turned over to banking regulators. Ed Mierzwinski is a consumer advocate with
the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. He says banks that won't respect checks backed by the FDIC have a double standard.

Ed Mierzwinski : These banks ought to walk outside and look at their window and see the sign that says they're FDIC insured.

IndyMac customers could save themselves some hassle and leave their money where it is. Now that the FDIC has taken control, Bovenzi says IndyMac is as safe as any bank in the country.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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