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Bank Closure Causes Unclaimed Checks to Pile Up for Hundreds of Locals

More than 400 locals haven’t collected their checks in the wake of the Home Savings closure.

More than 400 locals unknowingly have checks being deposited in accounts at a bank that no longer exists.

Last month, Home Savings, which had a branch in Seal Beach, went under. The small Minnesota-based bank had three California branches located close to large retirement communities such as Leisure World. It was seized by a federal government insurance fund at a cost of $38.8 million. But there are still hundreds of people who banked at the Seal Beach branch, who are seemingly unaware of the closure – they continue to write Home Savings checks not knowing that the checks will bounce, and they never cancelled their automatic deposits for social security and other government checks.

The federal government placed the accounts that are still receiving government checks by automatic deposit under the care of US Bank on Seal Beach Boulevard.

“The difficulty is that a lot of people don’t realize their account has been closed,” said US Bank Branch Manager Laurie Sippel. “They need to physically come in and show proof of identification.”

US Bank officials were not given contact information and have no way to get in touch with the account-holders.

Many of the Leisure World clients have children or caretakers who manager their finances, or they may have forgotten that the account exists, Sippel said. Others are suspicious that the letter they received from the federal government is part of some sort of scam, added Sippel.

Anyone who believes they have outstanding checks meant for their defunct Home Savings account should bring proof of identification to the US Bank at 13900 Seal Beach Boulevard, Suite A or call 562-344-3441. They can either transfer the payments to a US Bank account or receive a cashier’s check.

Home Savings of America was nationalized and closed when no other bank would purchase its assets and liabilities, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. This takeover was the first time in 13 months that a bank was liquidated.All account holders with less than $250,000 in an individual account will get a full payout from the FDIC. Anyone with more than that amount was asked to contact the FDIC.

-City News Service contributed to this report.

Patric C March 18, 2012 at 04:13 PM
HOW does one have a BANK ACCOIUT but NOT able TO BE CONTACTED ????Need identification/SS#(which TOO has NAMES/contact info) DL/State ID/etc requested BEFOR allowed to open 'accounts"...Fed taxes/state taxes able to access account holder information FOR tax purposes/collections but SOMEHOW, the account holders/owners are NOT notfied that 'their' checks are bounding/etc ??? Seems rather incongruously RIDICULOUS/ABSURD !! What about notification by those on the receiving end of those 'NO GOOD" checks...they are 'victims' as well and surely THEY have contact info/etc/etc in order to have those 'payments' made 'good' and the following consequences of 'bum checks used for payments/etc !!!
Panglonymous March 18, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Thought by the name this might be connected to the LB S&L where I opened my first passbook savings account as a paperboy. Looks like *that* Home Savings was a larger entity established by the H.F. Ahmanson family, and was at one time the largest S&L institution in America. In 1998 Washington Mutual bought it, and in 2008, JP Morgan Chase bought the failed WaMu from the FDIC. As Paige reports, *this* Home Savings is small & MN based. It recently had the lowest Safe & Sound score this outfit issues: http://www.bankrate.com/rates/safe-sound/bank-ratings-search.aspx Any bankers out there who can give an opinion on the quality of this rating system and its usefulness in monitoring the ongoing strength of one's bank?
Kenneth Larson March 18, 2012 at 05:26 PM
As an older senior citizen, I can see why older people become suspicious about getting phone calls or unexpected mail that your article mentions. I have received phone calls from people asking me to donate money to some firemens or police retirement cause--and when I phone the police about the puzzling calls they tell me it's all a scam and to slam the phone down immediately.
Erik Dreyer-Goldman March 18, 2012 at 05:42 PM
What about posting a list of the names of the folks so that if anyone knows these people they can be advised and can then claim their money with proper identification?
Paige Austin March 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM
I wish I could do that, but I am afraid that might make it too easy for the bad guys to swoop in and take advantage of the situation.

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