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Bank deposit delays: Some customers still haven’t been paid

By Matt Egan, CNN

New York (CNN) — Some customers still haven’t received their direct deposit paychecks following a “human error” last week deep in the plumbing of America’s banking system.

The deposit delays are linked to a problem that emerged on Friday with the Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments system, causing headaches for consumers and employers.

Banks stressed to customers that all funds are secure. Payments that did not go through late last week had to be resent, a process that can take time.

It’s not clear how widespread the impact continues to be or how long it will take for all customers to receive their deposits.

The Clearing House, the private operator of ACH, told CNN on Monday it is working with banks and the Federal Reserve to “resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”

“Many of the delayed payments have already posted, and we will continue working with financial institutions to ensure the remaining transactions are processed,” The Clearing House spokesperson Greg MacSweeney said in an email.

An industry source confirmed to CNN on Monday that it’s likely some customers haven’t received their deposits yet. The source stressed that banks are at the mercy of the originating bank to resend payment files.

Federal regulators are watching closely.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said the agency is “aware of the issue and monitoring how institutions are responding.”

“This brief disruption underscores the importance of the nation’s payments infrastructure,” the CFPB spokesperson said.

As of Monday afternoon, Bank of America and Chase are among the companies where users are reporting problems on Downdetector.

Wells Fargo, US Bank, Truist and other banks where users reported problems on Friday ranked lower on Downdetector.

Some customers are complaining they still haven’t been paid, while others say they have received their direct deposits.

“Bruh, what’s wrong with @BankofAmerica I can’t even pay my bills,” said one user on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Another user on Downdetector wrote to Wells Fargo complaining that payday was Friday and on Monday nothing had been updated.

“Wells Fargo can y’all speed it up? Some of us do have bills to pay!” the user said.

Wells Fargo told CNN the bank will update account balances as originating financial institutions reissue deposits. “We continue to work directly with our customers,” Wells Fargo spokesman Jim Seitz said.

Bank of America continues to display an alert to online customers warning them that “some deposits may be temporarily delayed” because of an “issue impacting multiple financial institutions.”

“Your accounts remain secure, and your balance will be updated as soon as the deposit is received,” Bank of America said in the alert. “You do not need to take any action.”

Chase explained to customers in a message posted on Downdetector that a “system issue” impacted ACH debits and credits sent to it and other banks.

“The originators of these deposits are working to resend the payment files and we will post them as soon as we can,” Chase said in the message.

Clearing house says it was a ‘manual error’

Asked for comment, multiple banks referred inquiries to The Clearing House, which is owned by the largest commercial banks including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, CitiBank and Wells Fargo.

MacSweeney, The Clearing House spokesperson, told CNN on Monday that the problem started as a “processing error” on Thursday where some ACH payment instructions were sent to financial institutions with account numbers and customers “masked.” That missing data meant that some ACH payments were delayed.

“The November 2nd error was an unfortunate and isolated issue, and immediate steps have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence,” The Clearing House spokesperson said. “The ACH network continues to operate normally, processing tens of millions of electronic payments each day.”

The Federal Reserve alerted banks Friday afternoon there was a “processing issue” at ACH, the system that allows banks to send electronic payments to each other. Banks use that system to send everything from direct deposit paychecks and Social Security checks to customer bill payments for mortgages and utilities.

The Fed noted that the problem originated in the private-sector operator The Clearing House.

The Clearing House previously said the problem was caused by a “manual error” and was not linked to a cybersecurity issue.

MacSweeney said the problem impacted less than 1% of the daily ACH volume in the United States.

Of course, 1% of a massive system is still a large amount. The ACH Network processed an average of $330 billion per day in September, according to Nacha, a nonprofit that governs the network.

Multiple customers complained online over the weekend and on Monday about a lack of communication from their bank about the delayed deposits.

Dennis Kelleher, CEO of financial reform advocacy firm Better Markets, was not surprised.

“There always seems to be a conspiracy of silence in the industry when things go wrong… There should be full transparency so that the public is informed and that there is a basis for confidence that the problems have actually been fixed,” Kelleher told CNN. “Without transparency you can’t have oversight or accountability, which erodes trust and confidence.”

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