Problems with money wired to VMBS account

Tell Claudienne

Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, June 23, 2019

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Dear Claudienne,

I am asking for your help with this problem.

On May 31, 2019 my sister O wired US$12,700 to my US account at Victoria Mutual Building Society, (VMBS). This money was towards the refurbishing of our house in a rural area.

When I went to the Half-Way-Tree branch of VMBS on Monday, June 3, 2019 and enquired if the money had been received, I was told that the money was not there (although it had been already deducted from my sister's account).

On Tuesday, June 4, 2019 I visited the VMBS Liguanea Branch, and was told that I should submit the source of funds. When I told my sister that the Building Society needed to know the source of the funds, she immediately e-mailed this information to me.

The representative told me, that within 24 hours the money would be in my account but this did not happen.

On Wednesday, June 5, 2019 when I went to a rural branch of VMBS to withdraw money from the account to pay workers and buy material for the house, I was told that they wanted more proof as to the source of the funds from my sister O.

My sister L then sent a bank statement to the rural branch of VMBS on June 5 that showed that the money sent to me by my sister O had been taken from her pension fund and deposited into my sister O's account.

However, when I checked with the rural VMBS branch, they said that they had not received the information from my sister. So the information was again sent to the branch by my sister O on June 6, 2019.

So VMBS now has the money and will not release it to me or send it back to the Chase Bank in New York while my sister is losing interest.

Meanwhile, I have had to borrow money to pay the workers, and this loan attracts interest.

At the time I am sending you this e-mail on Friday, June 7, 2019, I have still not heard from VMBS.

When I went to the HWT branch on June 7, 2019 and asked to speak with the manager or her deputy, I was told that neither of them were there and the money had still not been lodged to my account.

The Half-Way-Tree branch once again on June 7, 2019 requested the information about the source of the funds that had already been received by the rural branch.

So at about 2:00 pm on June 7, 2019 while I was at the HWT branch, I made a call to sister L to ask her to again send the information to the HWT branch. She sent the information to the HWT branch shortly before it closed on Friday, June 7, 2019.

On Monday morning when I went back to the HWT branch at about 10:00 am, the money was still not in the account.

I waited for about half-hour before it was lodged to my account.

This has cost me dearly. It is costing me dearly as I will also have to pay more for material, and travelling back and forth from the country to Kingston is added expense too.

I really would like them to pay these expenses that they brought on me, and it also has been very stressful for me.

I would appreciate your help in this matter.


Dear TFS

Tell Claudienne has been in communication with VMBS in regard to your complaint. You have informed us that VMBS has contacted you and have requested more detailed information about the money you borrowed to pay the workmen.

VMBS has sent Tell Claudienne the following e-mail:

“Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

The Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), as part of its customer due diligence procedures, requests additional information in respect of certain transactions. This process is in keeping with regulatory requirements in accordance with applicable laws governing all financial institutions. The time period may vary from transaction to transaction, based on how quickly the information is provided in response to the request. We continuously examine ways to conduct this regulatory requirement in the shortest possible period and to maintain ongoing dialogue with the Member during the process.”

We note that VMBS has done an investigation into the matter and on Thursday, June 19, 2019 sent you an e-mail detailing the findings of the investigation.

You have forwarded the e-mail you received from VMBS to Tell Claudienne. The e-mail states the following:

“Re: Request for findings of investigation into the delay in the payment of US$12,700 to your account

Thank you for providing us with the time needed to properly investigate the subject matter on your behalf.

Our investigation reveals the following:

1. On Friday, May 31, 2019 a wire transfer of US$12,700was received for payment to your account after banking hours.

2. In keeping with customer due diligence regulation, which are applicable to all financial institutions, your transaction was reviewed on Monday, June 3, 2019 along with transaction activities on your account. It was observed that this transaction was not consistent with previous pattern of transactions on your account and the branch requested that you provide documents to verify the source of funds for the payment as part of the customer due diligence process.

3. On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, information was received to indicate that the amount of US$12,700.00 represented pension payment. A bank statement from Citibank n/o (OS) was provided. This statement did not provide support of the pension payment but showed a deposit of $12,700 on May 29, 2019 followed by a withdrawal of $12,700 on May 31, 2019.

4. The Society reached out for clarification regarding the deposit of $12,700. On Wednesday June 5, 2019, a Chase Bank statement was received that did not bear any name in order to establish the connection with the sender of the wire transfer and recipient of the wire transfer.

The statement showed a deposit on May 30, 2019 of US$10,000 from UMC Benefit BRD. It also showed a cheque withdrawal of $3,700 (cheque # 3519) on May 29, 2019, whilst other sections of the statement were blocked out with a marker and illegible.

5. Two cheques were also provided as follows: Citibank cheque # 313 from C B for

US$9,000.00 paid to OS and Chase Bank cheque # 3519 from L F for US$3,700 paid to OS. It was ascertained that these two cheques related to the wire transfer as the total was US$12,700 and not the pension payment as previously communicated to the branch.

6. The relationship between the issuers of each of the cheques and the recipient of the wire transfer was requested and the information provided indicated that issuers were your siblings. This information was received on Friday, June 7, 2019.

7. On Monday, June 10, 2019 the funds were credited to the account.

In relation to correspondence of June 4, 2019 between FL and yourself, the interest amount stated therein ($15,000) will be credited to your VMBS account as full and final payment, upon receipt of your confirmation by e-mail to proceed with the payment.

We continuously examine ways to achieve the shortest possible period to conduct the customer due diligence process as required by regulations whilst ensuring compliance.

We use this opportunity to once again apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank you very much for bringing this matter to our attention, thereby providing us with the opportunity to make any adjustments internally.

Please feel free to reach out to us should you have any questions.”

Financial institutions are governed by the Banking Services Act and more detailed information in respect of the regulatory requirements can be obtained under Guidance Notes on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Proliferation and Managing Related Risks published in the Jamaica Gazette on June 14, 2018.

We wish you all the best.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail: Please include a contact phone number.

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