I found an old treasurer's check. Now what?
March 17, 2011 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I'm going paperless, and as I was scanning a huge mess of documents I came across what appears to be an uncashed treasurer's check issued in 1998 by a bank that no longer exists. What should I do?

The bank is Jefferson Bank, which was a Philadelphia institution (my branch was in a Main Line suburb) that looks like it was acquired, then its acquirer was acquired, and so on a few times - so it's not like I can call them directly. A friend suggested I contact the Pennsylvania Board of Bank Examiners - except there's no such thing; similar boards exist in other states, but not PA. What should I try next?
posted by symbebekos to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Bureau of unclaimed property would be my next step.
posted by Zophi at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2011

Is this a $2 check or a $2,000 check?
posted by mattbucher at 9:25 AM on March 17, 2011

Response by poster: Zophi: I checked the PA Treasury Unclaimed Property page, no dice.
Matt: It's more than $2000.
posted by symbebekos at 9:27 AM on March 17, 2011

Best answer: The Pennsylvania Department of Banking "provides free help to anyone with a banking question, concern or complaint. All someone needs to do is call our toll-free number or fill out a form on our website to have a trained professional respond within 24 hours."

The numbers are 1.800.PA.BANKS and 717.787.1854.
posted by jedicus at 9:34 AM on March 17, 2011

Best answer: I'm pretty sure that debt obligations from defunct/dissolved banks are covered by FDIC insurance. Which likely would mean that you have to fill out a form of some kind, and mail it out. The good news is that while such things run slow, I've heard that FDIC is pretty reliable.
posted by Citrus at 11:32 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: These are great suggestions. I called the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and all they were able to tell me was who acquired Jefferson Bank (TD Bank) and warn me that if I called them, which I haven't done yet, their records may only go back seven years.

This is what I'm wondering now: this check, like any other, has a routing number, account number, and check number. Is there a database somewhere that would definitively give me information about it?
posted by symbebekos at 12:09 PM on March 17, 2011

There are websites (this one for example) that can tell you what bank a routing number belongs to. That's a start.
posted by jedicus at 12:17 PM on March 17, 2011

Best answer: This may be not be germaine, but that's a lot of money and presumably worth more to your 1998 self, in the 1998 economy, than it is today. Is there any chance that this check you found had previously been lost and has already been replaced? I ask because I once found a 5-year old check for about $3K and launched all sorts of machinations only to find out that it had already been replaced long ago... and which point all of the details surrounding its original "loss" came flooding back to me.
posted by carmicha at 3:56 PM on March 17, 2011

Response by poster: Carmicha: Excellent point. YES, there's a chance of that but unfortunately I feel obligated to go down this rabbit hole until I hit certainty.
posted by symbebekos at 4:06 PM on March 17, 2011

Pennsylvania Treasury, Unclaimed Property Division.

Each year, Treasury receives millions of dollars in unclaimed property – things like abandoned bank accounts, forgotten stocks, uncashed checks, certificates of deposit, life insurance policies, safe deposit box contents, and recovered stolen property. Treasury maintains custody of this property and works to return it to its rightful owners.

Every state has one. I've used my state's unclaimed property website and discovered I was owed money from old bank accounts, class action lawsuits, and insurance settlements that I'd never participated in... that should be your first stop, imho.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 4:38 PM on March 17, 2011

Gah, sorry symbebekos; I missed the follow-up post where you said you'd already tried the Unclaimed Property website. Still, perhaps you should call the number and talk to a real person just to make sure. I was told by a clerk in my state's Unclaimed Property Division that their backlog is quite high and, as a result, the website doesn't always have the most current information. Good luck.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:44 PM on March 18, 2011

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