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Can Bank Offset Acct. to Pay Charged Off Amount?

Question: 
A minor had a savings account opened when she was four years old with her mother as the custodian/joint owner. The account was overdrawn and charged off. The minor, who is now 18, wants to open a checking account as she is now working. Can the bank offset this account to pay the charged off amount?
Answer: 

Answer by Richard Insley: This is a question for bank counsel and your marketing director. Even if it's legal, this move will cost you an 18-year-old customer and she will trash your bank's name at every opportunity.

Answer: 

Answer by John Burnett: There are some strong arguments against any right of offset in this case, and Richard has provided perhaps the strongest. If you contact legal counsel, as he suggests, you're likely to learn that the minor could not incur liability to the bank as a result of the charge off (since the minor didn't sign the signature card and was not legally responsible for the account in any event), and, depending on how long ago the account was charged off, it may no longer be enforceable in your state under its statute of limitations.

First published on BankersOnline.com 5/28/12

First published on 05/28/2012

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