Woman says bank held her money hostage after getting loan

You think your money is safe in your own bank account, but your bank can deny you access to it without any explanation.

“They suspended my entire account on April Fool’s Day. As you know, bills are due April Fool’s Day,” Trei Taylor said. Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray.

It took Taylor more than a year to navigate the red tape and secure a COVID-19 relief loan from the Small Business Administration for her voiceover and production business.

This $40,000 loan was finally deposited into his bank account last week.

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“Tuesday morning when it happened, I was ecstatic,” Taylor said.

But late that Friday, an alert was reported that his bank account was blocked.

Taylor was denied access not only to the loan, but also to all the money already in his account, totaling more than $12,000.

“Give me my money back. I earned it,” she said.

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Taylor had moved away from the big traditional banks. Instead, she used online banking Blue Vine, a so-called fintech company, to save on fees and avoid these sorts of problems with big banks.

“People running fintech, a lot of them came from big banks and adopted the same practices,” Clark Howard, Channel 2 Consumer Advisor noted.

Howard said banks have been known to do this when there was a big transaction they thought was a fraud.

“Banks will lie and say they’re doing this for your protection. No, it’s only for them,” Howard said.

In one Channel 2 Action News investigates story in 2020 on WSB Tonight, we showed you how OZK Bank confiscated more than $80,000 in PPP funds from the owner of a subway Atlanta dog bakery without explanation.

“You never deposit money from a loan you get in the same place you do your regular banking, you get in trouble,” Howard said.

Taylor had to borrow credit cards from friends to cover her first bills of the month. While Blue Vine has now stated that its account is being reactivated, it still finds that payments will not be made.

“It’s traumatic because it just makes it look like he was a gangster. That’s all I could think of – bullying, gangster,” Taylor said.

The other tip here is to keep your money in more than one place.

Whether you use a credit union, a traditional bank or an online bank, you should have another account at another institution just in case.

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