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PNC cuts clearing time for deposited checks

Thursday, September 14, 2000

By Patricia Sabatini, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

PNC Bank is speeding up the time it takes to clear a check so that customers can get their money faster.

Under the new policy, effective late last month, customers depositing a local check can withdraw the funds the next business day.

On out-of-town checks, there's a two-day hold, meaning funds deposited on a Monday are available Wednesday.

Under the old rules, customers had to wait three days for local checks and five days on out-of-town checks before they could get the cash.

To allow the faster turnover, PNC invested in new technology and changed its check-monitoring practices.

"We want to make customer funds available as soon as we can because that's what customers want," said PNC Vice President John Rees. PNC started mailing letters explaining the new policy Monday.

Customers making deposits of $50,000 or more, or those with accounts open less than 90 days, have to wait a little longer for checks to clear -- two days for local checks and four for nonlocal checks.

Customers who aren't sure whether a check is local can find out by comparing the first four digits of the routing number on the front of the check to a list of local numbers PNC is enclosing with the letters.

PNC's new policy is more lenient than either of its big cross-town rivals -- Mellon and National City.

At Mellon, local checks are on a two-day hold (a Monday deposit is available Wednesday), and out-of-town checks take four days (a Monday deposit is available Friday).

Mellon customers who deposit a local or nonlocal check at an ATM, however, can get the money the following business day, a spokesman said.

At National City, local checks are on a two-day hold, while nonlocal checks take five business days. That means an out-of-town check deposited on a Monday isn't available until the following Monday.

At all three banks, funds from the U.S. Treasury (such as Social Security checks), state and local government checks and official bank checks, such as a cashier's check, are available for withdrawal the next business day. And electronic deposits, such as paychecks that are direct deposited into an account, are available immediately.

Federal regulations also require that the initial $100 of a local or nonlocal check be available on the evening of the deposit to cover any checks the customer has written.

Customers who have questions about PNC's new policy can call (888)-762-2265.

PNC also said customers will soon be able to get free account statements at its ATMs. PNC plans to eliminate the charge -- $1 for full statements and 75 cents for mini-statements -- in the fourth quarter.



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