|Snow leads to banking snafu|
|Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Saturday, 25 January 2014 09:35|
The snowstorm that rang in the new year also racked up banking fees for Wood County.
With county offices shuttered on Jan. 6 and 7, many business also did not open while a Level 3 snow emergency was in effect. The disruption led to some working from home, including representatives of Huntington Bank, through which Wood County does much of its banking.
During a meeting with commissioners Thursday, bank representatives explained the circumstances under which 84 warrants were not processed, resulting in fees to the county and organizations with which it does business. Warrants are a substitute for checks that are required to be used by all counties in Ohio.
"Huntington was home working from their computers, trying to keep these checks covered, (but) 84 checks got returned (because of) insufficient funds," said Wood County Treasurer Jill Engel.
"It was a week from hell."
Sharon Speyer, president of Huntington's Northwest Ohio region, said the person who usually processes the county's warrants didn't have computer access at home. When someone else did the job, they missed a portion of the warrant listing, which has about 500 items most days.
"(We) were horrified that that occurred," Speyer said, noting that the bank is paying for or negotiating for removal of all fees to "make the county whole."
Otherwise, the fees could have totaled as much as $2,000, Engel said.
"The reality is, the person who normally does this doesn't have a laptop to take home back and forth," Speyer explained.
"It was human error. We have a new contingency plan that will make sure that this never ... happens again."
Wood County does the vast majority of its banking with Huntington. Engel said there is about $95 million in the bank, most of if federal funding for various agencies. Otherwise, money is spread across different banks that do business in the county.
Engel said only one institution, PNC Bank, declined to waive fees related to the mix up, and she has since removed about $4 million from the bank.SClB"The embarrassment was the worst thing," Engel said of the Huntington mistake.
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