Consumers close bank accounts for many reasons, including poor service by bank employees, inconvenient banking hours or locations or excess fees assessed for using the account. Banks also close consumer accounts without the consent of the account holders. The Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks, part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, states that "national banks may close deposit accounts for any reason and without notice."
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Banks require activity within a set number of days over the course of the year. Failure to deposit or withdraw money may mean the bank assesses an inactivity fee each month the account goes unused. After a set number of months, the bank may close the account without the holder's acceptance. The exact terms for inactivity are specified in the terms signed by the account holder. The U.S. Department of the Treasury notes that each state sets standards for inactivity, but most accounts may be deemed inactive and closed after three to five years.
Overdrafts occur when checks or drafts are written on an account that does not have sufficient funds to cover the withdrawal. A penalty is assessed for each overdraw action, but banks may close accounts of frequent offenders. A disclosures presented at the time the account is opened lists bank overdraft policies, as well as other conditions that must be met by the account holder. Closure of an account does not exempt the account holder from payment of overdraft fees and any interest that may be due as a result of poor banking habits. State banking laws regulate the types of fees that may be assessed due to overdrafts.
Banks may close an account due to fraud. Identity theft or other fraud by others requires an account to be closed and funds transferred to a new account to prevent future incidents of fraud. Banks also close accounts of holders identified by law enforcement as suspects in banking fraud. Institutions also conduct research through check services to discover holders involved in prior banking fraud. Accounts for offenders are then cancelled. Even though the main account holder may have perfect credit and a clear banking history, account co-owners identified with documented banking fraud may cause an account to be closed by a bank.
Risk Account Closure
Bank accounts may also be closed after determination that the person opening the account is a known risk. This closure is typically done for new accounts, held less than a month, after the bank research of the holder determines that any person listed on the account is a banking risk. Forced savings or current account at other institutions may trigger a new closure. New problems on a secondary banking account appearing on commercial current account fraud systems may also flag the account for closure. The closure results from the bank's unwillingness to risk the liability resulting from poor banking and current account habits of the new account holder.
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