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You can use checks to make withdrawals from money markets accounts but in many instances you can only make withdrawals from your savings by visiting your bank or an ATM machine. If your bank has closed down, you may have great difficulty accessing your cash particularly if the account was inactive before the bank halted its operations.
If your financial institution closed your local branch you can still access funds in your savings by visiting another banking center. Under the 2004 PATRIOT Act, each bank must have a customer identification program through which staff members can identify clients. As long as you can produce a valid form of identification that complies with your bank's CIP you can make a withdrawal at any banking center. Alternatively, your bank may allow you submit a request to have your account closed via the mail at which point the remaining funds are disbursed in the form of a check. To establish your identity you may need to have the letter notarized. Additionally, you can contact the bank via phone and request to have a new ATM card mailed to you.
Banking centers are often closed as the result of a merger since the merging banks often have overlapping territories. If your bank falls victim to a hostile takeover, your accounts are transferred to the buying bank. The new institution may change your account number or make some changes to your account set-up, but you can continue to deposit and withdraw funds from the account. Even if your account number has changed, bank associates can locate your account if your provide a valid form of ID and some personal information such as your social security number.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has the regulatory powers to close down insolvent financial institutions. When this occurs, the FDIC temporarily assumes control of the bank's holdings, but accounts and loans are eventually sold to other financial firms. If you had an old savings at a failed bank, you can contact the FDIC directly to locate your money. However, you may lose some of your nest egg since the FDIC only guarantees bank accounts up to $250,000 per account holder, per bank. If you had $300,000 in your old savings when the bank failed then you stand to lose up to $50,000 of your money as a result of the FDIC takeover.
All 50 states have escheat laws that require financial institutions to surrender abandoned property -- including bank accounts -- to the state. In Texas, you have abandoned your savings account if it has been more than one year since you had contact with your bank. In California, banks escheat funds after three years of inactivity. Escheat laws could complicate your quest for your old savings fund if your bank handed over your cash to the state before it ceased operations. In such instances, you must contact your state's unclaimed property division and file a claim to have your lost funds reimbursed.
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