Is It True Banks Won’t Let You Withdraw Cash?

I received an e-mail from beloved fellow Joseph 2 days ago, referring to an alarming comment made by “Bob,” on a post “If Europe Should Fail,” on market analyst Clive Maund’s subscriber-only website:

“Clive, in your post ‘If Europe Should Fail’ you have recommended your subscribers ‘draw out a stash of cash’. I have been attempting to do this with my local bank for over a week and this is what I have learned. The only ‘cash’ the banks have at their facilities is the bare minimum for making change, cashing paychecks, etc. More than 99% of their so called cash ‘assets’ is electronic money and not ‘cash’ money. They are generally happy to transfer this electronic money elsewhere but if you want the real thing, ‘cash’, the bank will, in most cases, either deny your request or put you off for, in some instances, more than a week. Many of my contacts across the US are reporting having the same problems I am having getting any significant amount of cash out of their local banks.”

So I decided to verify Bob’s alarming claim.

I first went to my bank, Wells Fargo Bank.

I asked the teller how much cash a client can walk in and withdraw from his/her account, assuming of course that the account has sufficient funds.

The teller, Dion Williams, said that clients can walk in and withdraw up to $5,000 in cash. More than that, the client must first notify Wells Fargo by phone or in person. Two days later, the cash will be there for withdrawal.

I asked why.

Mr. Williams said it’s because it takes two days of “shipment” to deliver the cash to that particular bank branch.

Indeed, Wiki Answers says the following:

If you have a personal checking account at a bank in the USA your Financial Institution (FI) may have policies governing the amount of money you can take out at one peticular time. You obviously can’t walk in to the bank and request that all of your one hundred thousand dollars be presented with out any prior warning. Every bank’s branch suits the needs of its community; if its members routinely ask for large amounts of money at one time it will keep a lot on hand to services their needs. However, many FIs now require customers to sign Large Cash Withdrawal notices thereby eliminating liability if you were to walk away from the branch and your cash was lost or stolen. Your best bet is to call your FI and ask if they require notice of large cash withdrawals.

And so, “Bob” is being unduly alarming. Note that in his comment, he never specified what amount of cash he had tried — unsuccessfully — to withdraw from his bank, nor did he specify what a “significant amount of cash” is.

Hmm. Doesn’t the Bible have something to say about spreading malicious false rumors and gossip?

~Eowyn

14 responses to “Is It True Banks Won’t Let You Withdraw Cash?

  1. Sage,

    I can think of another reason for banks not having a large amount of cash on hand: To prevent a bank run, which does no one any good.
    “Much of the Great Depression’s economic damage was caused directly by bank runs.” Wikipedia

    I consider $5,000 to be a “significant amount of cash,” don’t you? If it’s the money he has in his bank which worries “Bob,” nothing prevents me (or him) from withdrawing $5,000 every day from, say, Wells Fargo, until I’ve completely emptied whatever account I have. And so “Bob” is spreading a false malicious rumor.

  2. “Bob” …the CEO for “Financial Fear Factor” ? ;)

  3. If anybody thinks $5,000. Is a significant amour of money is just not with it or is a narrow minded individual who doesn’t need it himself.
    There are many people that can go through this amour of cash many times over in a day. And its not drug lords.
    It is necessary at times and to male it not available is ludicrous. It just makes it hard to get the job done because of a banks fear of a run unless it has other ulterior motives that are recognizably not good.

    • Hey, Mike, do you know it’s extremely rude to insult your host? So you’re calling me “not with it” or “narrow minded” — and over something as trivial as this subject. I dread to think what horrible names you’ll call me on something more important. You’re one scary dude. And you call me narrow-minded? Too funny.

      Noone’s pointing a gun to your head to come onto FOTM. There’s plenty of blogs out there for “with it” and “broad-minded” folks like you. Here’s the door..

    • Well if $5,000 isn’t a significant amount to you, I’ll gladly take it off your hands!

      Try telling the millions of people on Skippy’s hopeandchange program that $5k isn’t very much money…

    • And banks are required to keep a certain percentage/amount of cash on hand (all, you remember that scene about the run on the building & loan in It’s a Wonderful Life?… if they’d run out of cash on-hand the building & loan would’ve officially failed and been taken over by Potter) and, of course, banks make money by loaning it out so it’s not profitable to have a lot of cash just sitting around… the bank figures a bunch of $5,000 withdrawals per day is what they can handle with the cash on hand but $50,000 (without prior coordination) risks literally breaking the bank over the course of the day.

    • 5,000 is NOT a lot of money compared to average incomes and things, you are right. We arnt talking about money though, this is about CASH. How many people handle 5k cash daily? Not a lot. That’s why we have banks and debit cards were that amount of money is more common.

      But almost no one handles 5k cash. This is about getting cash from a bank, now days you just transfer larger amounts, but it doesn’t mean you actually withdrew/deposited 100k in cash bills.

      Post is about how much cash you can withdraw, yes 5k cash is a lot.

    • $5,000 is a significant amount of money. I have less than $15,000 in my savings account.

      no offense, but who needs $5,000 in cash? I use American Express and checks. I got robbed once and lost $500 in cash. Just saying. At least American Express has a 0% liability. I can stop stolen checks. Bye

  4. And who’s money is it suppose to be bit the depositors, obviously it does not belong to the depositors anymore, suckers!

    • Especially when gov’t nationalizes it like North Korea did.

    • Heck, look at “cloud computing” too… some liberal computer expert decided putting all your computing power and storage on a centralized server was more effective (rendering your own home computer a “dumb terminal” useless on its own like the old days). See how much fun that is when your Internet goes down. (Limiting money to only non-cash in the bank is the same.) Great for controlling people (tie up their money and computing ability unless they cooperate) though.

  5. I have a credit union, which is not much different than a bank anymore, but anyway, I am only allowed to withdraw I think it’s either $300 or $500 a day, I can’t remember which. (I haven’t tried in awhile, I’m not making what I used to). Per them, it’s an insurance for the customer so that if someone got ahold of your account info, you wouldn’t get a surprise wipe out of your account by thieves. I could transfer it to another institution if I want to close my account, but I do believe there’s a “transfer period” in which the amount would not be available right away. I’ve been using CU’s for a very long time, and the one time I had an actual bank (B of A) was the biggest mistake. I hated them. They already had high fees then, and that was 6 years ago. When I left them, I swore I’d never use another bank. But like I said, CU’s are more and more acting like banks. I’ve moved a lot, and like I said, I don’t make that much (never have, really, but enough to get by) so by the time I was ready to move each time, I didn’t have much to withdraw to begin with, so it was simple. I can’t imagine the hassle it would be if I had $5000 to withdraw. I had a time where I tried to use my debit/credit card for a large purchase, and it was rejected by my CU. I had to withdraw in increments, if I remember right, and then pay cash. I could’ve written a check, but the company I was dealing with wouldn’t take checks. Tsk!

  6. Yes, now I remember – it was a doctor’s office. They tried to swipe my card for $500, and it declined it. So yeah, I went to the ATM two different days and then went over and paid the cash. It sucks to have your own money and have a CU give you a card, and then say, hey, you have the money, but no, you may not use it. Huh?

  7. I have personally withdrawn over $100K with no notice within the last year to buy a rare car from a private seller. The bank did not bat an eye.

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