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    • User1234567
    • By User1234567 13th Oct 19, 3:58 AM
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    User1234567
    A major bank has been refusing to let me withdraw 10k of family savings for over one month
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 19, 3:58 AM
    A major bank has been refusing to let me withdraw 10k of family savings for over one month 13th Oct 19 at 3:58 AM
    I have approximately 10,000 of savings in an account with a major UK bank. The savings come from my (public sector) salary, paid in over the last ten years. One month ago I was locked out of the account and was told it was "under review" and that no further information would be given. I contacted the Financial Ombudsman Service who say that the bank does not have to give me any information, and that they can withhold my funds indefinitely as long as they have a "good" reason (which they are not required to tell me). My family are in the middle of buying our first home and urgently need these savings to make the down payment, or we are likely to lose the house that we have chosen (and that we have spent a long time saving for and looking for). Is there anything further we can do if the FOS are saying that we just have to wait "indefinitely"? Can they really withhold our money for an indefinite number of months/years? Surely there is some further action we can take? Thanks for the help.
Page 1
    • User1234567
    • By User1234567 13th Oct 19, 5:19 AM
    • 12 Posts
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    User1234567
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 19, 5:19 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 19, 5:19 AM
    Yes, it must be a coincidence because at the time it was frozen we were only looking at houses, we hadn't applied for mortgages etc., so the bank wouldn't have known that we were going to withdraw the funds shortly after. When it happened I didn't think much of it at first and assumed it would be resolved within a few days. After a week or so I realised that it might actually affect our house purchase which is when I contacted the FOS.

    If you don't think my situation is genuine then what exactly do you think I'm trying to achieve by posting this here? I have no idea where else to turn. FOS appears to be the "end of the line" as it were?
    • worried jim
    • By worried jim 13th Oct 19, 5:45 AM
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    worried jim
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 19, 5:45 AM
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 19, 5:45 AM
    Let's back track a bit first. Why do you think they have done this? It's your account what have you done to make the bank suspicious? Multiple payments in from different sources? Allowing a third party to use the account? Running a business through a personal account? Banks don't just block access for no good reason.
    • User1234567
    • By User1234567 13th Oct 19, 6:25 AM
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    User1234567
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 19, 6:25 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 19, 6:25 AM
    Thanks for the response. I can't think of anything other than my account being hacked at some point between when I last checked it successfully and when I found my access to be blocked (could have been a couple of months)? I don't have any reason to think this has happened though as I've always been very careful with my passwords etc. and never had anything hacked before. I've only ever moved in reasonably constant amounts from "salary --> account salary is paid into (this has changed a couple of times over the years) --> this savings account". Like I said, they won't give me any information at all, including how much is currently in the account or whether there have been any suspicious transactions. I guess it's even possible some of my money has been stolen but I have no way of knowing... They have neither given nor requested any information...

    Let's say my account was hacked (or something else I haven't thought of), why is it taking them so long to resolve this? Wouldn't they want information from me? I've told them about the house situation but from my end they don't appear to be doing anything at all. What could be taking them so long? Don't they have some kind of responsibility to deal with this quickly when someone's savings are involved? Of course if something's gone wrong I understand that they would need to investigate, but it's as if there's no accountability for whether they're actually doing anything or not? If this had happened last year, for example, then waiting for a few months wouldn't have been a problem... FOS said they wouldn't be able to look into this for one to two months!
    • warby68
    • By warby68 13th Oct 19, 6:32 AM
    • 1,437 Posts
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    warby68
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 19, 6:32 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 19, 6:32 AM
    'Family savings' seems an unusual turn of phrase for an account in your name where the funds have come solely from your salary.

    Is the account used by others as well? You also say 'we' about withdrawing the money.

    Its also unusual to find a house and be ready for the deposit all within a month but from what you say this happened after the account was stopped. Were you trying to move the money somewhere ahead of a purchase?

    Something must have triggered the Bank's enquiry.

    You can't hurry the bank up unfortunately. The regulatory environment outweighs individual customer service issues for Banks.
    Last edited by warby68; 13-10-2019 at 6:35 AM.
    • waamo
    • By waamo 13th Oct 19, 6:59 AM
    • 8,344 Posts
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    waamo
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 19, 6:59 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 19, 6:59 AM
    How did you try to withdraw these funds ? Was it by bank transfer, to say a solicitor for example, or in cash?
    This space for hire.
    • User1234567
    • By User1234567 13th Oct 19, 7:21 AM
    • 12 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    User1234567
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 19, 7:21 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 19, 7:21 AM
    'Family savings' seems an unusual turn of phrase for an account in your name where the funds have come solely from your salary.

    Is the account used by others as well? You also say 'we' about withdrawing the money.

    Its also unusual to find a house and be ready for the deposit all within a month but from what you say this happened after the account was stopped. Were you trying to move the money somewhere ahead of a purchase?

    Something must have triggered the Bank's enquiry.

    You can't hurry the bank up unfortunately. The regulatory environment outweighs individual customer service issues for Banks.
    Originally posted by warby68
    Thanks for your reply and sorry if I wasn't clear. The account was used solely by me but I support my family financially so I've always seen it as my family's money. We've been looking for a house for a lot longer than a month but reached a decision within the last month and now don't know how to proceed as we can't guarantee we'll have enough for the down payment without the frozen funds. I didn't try to move the money at all. I just log in to check it from time to time. A few months ago everything was fine when I logged in. One month ago I couldn't log in and received an error message. It was only when I contacted the bank they told me about the "review", I never received any direct communication from them about it, so it could have actually been locked down for much longer than a month. Your final paragraph answers my question though, I guess it's just bad timing and I'll have to wait it out. Thanks.
    • User1234567
    • By User1234567 13th Oct 19, 7:23 AM
    • 12 Posts
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    User1234567
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 19, 7:23 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 19, 7:23 AM
    How did you try to withdraw these funds ? Was it by bank transfer, to say a solicitor for example, or in cash?
    Originally posted by waamo
    Sorry if I wasn't clear, I didn't try to withdraw the funds. I tried to log in to check on my account one month ago and my access was blocked. I then called the bank and was told about the "review". Thanks
    • boo_star
    • By boo_star 13th Oct 19, 7:42 AM
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    boo_star
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 19, 7:42 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 19, 7:42 AM
    Sorry if I wasn't clear, I didn't try to withdraw the funds. I tried to log in to check on my account one month ago and my access was blocked. I then called the bank and was told about the "review". Thanks
    Originally posted by User1234567
    Wait it out. Having fairly large sums of money won't, in and of itself, trigger an AML investigation.

    You've obviously done something else to make them twitchy.
    • warby68
    • By warby68 13th Oct 19, 7:53 AM
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    warby68
    Not sure how far you took your enquiries with the bank in the first instance.

    If you took the call handler at their first word and went straight to the Ombudsman, it may be worth making another call to the Bank starting with I seem to be locked out of my account to see if the response is the same.

    Slim possibility, but the call handler may have got it wrong. Online access can be suspended for a number of reasons quite separate from access to the account itself. Its a slim chance but if you genuinely have not undertaken any activity at all just maintained a long term savings account via inter account transfer, might be worth a try.
    • meer53
    • By meer53 13th Oct 19, 8:31 AM
    • 9,576 Posts
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    meer53
    Not sure how far you took your enquiries with the bank in the first instance.

    If you took the call handler at their first word and went straight to the Ombudsman, it may be worth making another call to the Bank starting with I seem to be locked out of my account to see if the response is the same.

    Slim possibility, but the call handler may have got it wrong. Online access can be suspended for a number of reasons quite separate from access to the account itself. Its a slim chance but if you genuinely have not undertaken any activity at all just maintained a long term savings account via inter account transfer, might be worth a try.
    Originally posted by warby68
    It's been to the FOS, if it wasn't blocked they would have told the OP so.
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 13th Oct 19, 8:42 AM
    • 23,437 Posts
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    Tigsteroonie
    'Family savings' seems an unusual turn of phrase for an account in your name where the funds have come solely from your salary.
    Originally posted by warby68
    Seriously? I have an account that we call "the family savings" which, as it's accessible from my online banking, is generally funded from my current account where I receive my salary (one salary household). I wouldn't consider that suspicious at all, just a convenience.
    Mrs Marleyboy

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    • BooJewels
    • By BooJewels 13th Oct 19, 8:44 AM
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    BooJewels
    It's been to the FOS, if it wasn't blocked they would have told the OP so.
    Originally posted by meer53
    I think he said he'd spoken to the FOS - that doesn't necessarily mean that the case was referred in full to them. I read the comment as a general enquiry about whether banks can do that sort of thing.

    Online access can be suspended for a number of reasons quite separate from access to the account itself.
    Indeed - a family member rang me some time ago as they couldn't get access to their on-line account and thought they were doing something wrong, so having coached them through things to try to ensure they had their password correct etc. I told them to give it a while and try again. In the meantime, they got a call about some suspect transactions and they'd locked his entire account to protect it. Although that came to light the same day, not weeks later, as potentially in this case.
    • worried jim
    • By worried jim 13th Oct 19, 8:45 AM
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    worried jim
    Seriously? I have an account that we call "the family savings" which, as it's accessible from my online banking, is generally funded from my current account where I receive my salary (one salary household). I wouldn't consider that suspicious at all, just a convenience.
    Originally posted by Tigsteroonie
    Yes, but in the context of the op's issues it sounds a bit dodge.
    • keef-WhatStandards
    • By keef-WhatStandards 13th Oct 19, 9:43 AM
    • 266 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    keef-WhatStandards
    I had a similar experience from a building society that took over from an online saver.

    Turns out the online saver was US based and my DOB was transposed incorrectly from the US to the UK system. Month Date Year to Date Month Year.

    FOS were no help, I even sent them a copy of my birth certificate.
    Keef - Sheerness, Kent UK
    • warby68
    • By warby68 13th Oct 19, 1:09 PM
    • 1,437 Posts
    • 11,075 Thanks
    warby68
    Seriously? I have an account that we call "the family savings" which, as it's accessible from my online banking, is generally funded from my current account where I receive my salary (one salary household). I wouldn't consider that suspicious at all, just a convenience.
    Originally posted by Tigsteroonie
    Agreed but I was looking at this particular context and for clues what might be wrong.
    • warby68
    • By warby68 13th Oct 19, 1:10 PM
    • 1,437 Posts
    • 11,075 Thanks
    warby68
    It's been to the FOS, if it wasn't blocked they would have told the OP so.
    Originally posted by meer53
    I read it that OP made a general enquiry not a full referral at this stage.
    • badger09
    • By badger09 13th Oct 19, 4:46 PM
    • 7,539 Posts
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    badger09
    So, a few months ago you were looking at houses and everything was fine with your bank account.

    A month ago (or over a month ago per the thread title) your bank account was frozen.

    Within the last month you decided to buy a house and the purchase is progressing so quickly that you now urgently need money from the frozen account for the deposit or you might lose the house

    Bad timing indeed.
    • Migster
    • By Migster 13th Oct 19, 5:09 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Migster
    One of the things that banks are required to do is to carry out PEP (politically exposed person) and sanctions checks. While these are done at the time of account opening, account holders need to be re-checked from time to time. By the sounds of it, the usage of your account shouldn't be the cause of the problem, so it's possible that you've been flagged erroneously as a PEP or sanctioned individual (I presume by "public sector", you aren't an MP or similar).
    • worried jim
    • By worried jim 13th Oct 19, 6:47 PM
    • 10,915 Posts
    • 17,221 Thanks
    worried jim
    One of the things that banks are required to do is to carry out PEP (politically exposed person) and sanctions checks. While these are done at the time of account opening, account holders need to be re-checked from time to time. By the sounds of it, the usage of your account shouldn't be the cause of the problem, so it's possible that you've been flagged erroneously as a PEP or sanctioned individual (I presume by "public sector", you aren't an MP or similar).
    Originally posted by Migster
    Or from a sanctioned country, Iran, Libya, Burma etc.
    Last edited by worried jim; 13-10-2019 at 8:21 PM.
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