FNBO Direct is SCARY
FNBO Direct is the online division of First National Bank of Omaha. The bank currently offers 1.25% APY for its online savings account with no minimum.
Note: The original post was written on August 13, 2007. Please scroll down or click here to find the latest update.
I am using FNBO Direct and quite happy to have most of my deposit with them. However, a couple of events recently with FNBO made me feel that there could be some potential problems with my money at this bank that I have never experienced at other banks, not that something will sure to happen.
First, on June 15, they sent out a note saying they could restrict transactions of my account if they “determine a security risk exists.” Ever since then, every time that I access the Transfer Fund service from my account, I have to read and agree the following statement:
You represent, warrant and agree that: (1) you shall not enroll an external account that anyone else owns or has an interest in; and (2) you shall not deposit funds other than your own funds into your FNBO Direct Online Savings Account; and (3) the title on each of your external accounts matches the title on your FNBO Direct Online Savings Account. We reserve the right to restrict what we permit you to enroll as your external accounts and we reserve the right to verify your ownership of and right to access your external accounts. By requesting to enroll an external account, you expressly authorize the organization that maintains that account to disclose to us any information that we request about you or the external account. When you request to enroll an additional external account, we may temporarily restrict all deposits to and transfers from your FNBO Direct account while we verify your ownership of and right to access that external account.
I appreciate the extra measures the bank takes to ensure the security of my account. However, if it is an agreement between me and the bank that I have already agree, do I still need to be reminded every time? I transfer funds from my own account, yet they keep showing me the message with the “I Agree” only option (yes, there’s no such option as “I Don’t Agree”). What’s the point? If I agreed, then I agreed. Asking me the same question over and over won’t make me agree more!
After the first couple of times, the extra click didn’t bother me any more and I no longer read the message as I know I didn’t do anything that could trigger the lock of my account. Then an email from the bank last Friday really scared me and made me question whether the bank is well managed. The message, with the subject “Due Diligence 2nd Request,” says:
As part of your initial application, we did not receive information regarding your current employer, occupation or position. In many cases, this is because you have a status of retired, unemployed or self-employed. We are updating our records as part of our on-going due diligence to be compliant with our standards to support the USA Patriot Act.
Due to the importance of the USA Patriot Act, we have placed a hold on your account(s) until we can document this information for our records. No deposits or withdrawals can be made through your account(s) until we receive this information. We will release the hold upon receipt of this information. If this information is not received within 30 days, the account(s) may be closed. Your immediate attention to this matter is appreciated.
I don’t remember exactly what information was asked when I opened the account, but I am very positive that if they did ask me for employment information, there is no way I skipped it if it’s required. If it’s optional, then I don’t have to provide it if they feel such information is not necessary.
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Fearing that they may indeed close my account, I replied immediately with the required employment information. Less than three hours later, another message from FNBO arrived, with an apology:
Please disregard the email sent on August 10, 2007, with the subject line: Due Diligence 2nd Request. This email was sent in error and we apologize for the confusion it has caused. If Due Diligence information is required, you will receive a follow-up email. Again we apologize for this inconvenience.
I am glad that they acted quickly to resolve the issue. As a new bank in the direct banking business, it’s expected that there will be small glitches here and there in the operation at the beginning. While it was not a pleasant experience to go through, it eventually worked out without any problem. And I don’t have much to complain when I can earn a decent return of my money from the bank
: Though I got some confusing emails from FNBO Direct initially, the bank has become quite reliable since then. In fact, it becomes the bank where I put most of my deposit. The bank currently offers 1.25% APY with no minimum, which is one of the highest interest rates available from major online banks. If you are interested in getting an account with the bank, check out my FNBO Direct review to learn more about it. The post also includes the process of opening an account. The bank also offers Billpay account which works as an interest checking account. The Billpay account currently pays 1.25% APY, the same as the savings account and also offers free online bill pay, etc.
Ready to start? Open a FNBO Direct Online Savings Account now and begin to enjoy one of the highest savings rates for your hard earned money.
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