The risk of using a bank other than your own

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A Phoenix couple thought a bank declined their transaction but still took money from their account; money they never got, but it was all a misunderstanding that could have been avoided.

Banks mainly do business with their own account holders, but many banks also process transactions for customers of other banks. If consumers want to use a bank other than their own for convenience, they should be aware it can create communication breakdowns and confusion over your account balance.

Kiyana and John Brutus own and operate a Phoenix group home for troubled adults. The Gilbert couple uses Great Western Bank for their business banking but say there aren't many branches near their work.

"The convenience of using other banks is they close at 7 p.m. at night, they're open on the weekends, Great Western is not open on the weekends," Kiyana Brutus said.

Kiyana Brutus says, on Sept. 22, 2017, she and John went into a Wells Fargo branch on 51st Street in Phoenix looking to get a $2,500 advance. She says her card was declined, but the next day the money was gone.

"The $2,500 had come out of our account," said Brutus.

"Even though they told you it was declined in the bank?" asked Dave Cherry.

"Correct, and even though we did not get any cash," Brutus said.

Brutus says Great Western investigated and told her that Wells Fargo had proven it did give the couple $2,500.

"Their proof is saying we did, in fact, get money but on a different day, using a different card," Brutus said.

"At a different branch?" asked Cherry.

"Correct, at a different branch," Brutus said.

Brutus says the Wells Fargo evidence states her husband obtained the $2,500 the day before at a Bell Road branch; not 51st Street. She says it also looks like an extra $2,500 was removed from their account. The couple wants Great Western to get to the bottom of this mystery.

"They've said that they are working on it, or that they're looking into it, it's been about two weeks, we haven't heard anything at all, which is why we called you," Brutus said.

One reason to avoid using banks other than your own is that if there is a problem, banks cannot legally talk to non-customers. So Well Fargo was correct when it sent John and Kiyana back to Great Western for an explanation even though the incident occurred in a Wells Fargo branch. Wells Fargo was very cooperative in helping with this investigation.

Great Western got on this matter right away. Bank officials tell CBS 5 News that the delay in providing an explanation to John and Kiyana was uncommon and only occurred because the couple's personal banker was on vacation.

After a quick investigation, it turns out there was a one-day delay in posting the advance from Sept. 21. An extra $2,500 was never deducted on Sept. 22. CBS 5 News thanks Great Western for their quick work in getting to the bottom of this mystery and informing their customers that no incorrect withdrawals had been made from their account.

And there you have a second reason for avoiding banks other than your own. It will help avoid posting delays and potential misunderstandings regarding your account balance.

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