Individual Faces Distress Due to ATM Malfunction and Inadequate Bank Response

This case study explores a situation where an elderly individual faced distress due to an ATM malfunction and inadequate response from bank associates.

ByZach Barreto


Published on January 31, 2024

Elderly man using ATM

Case Overview

This case study involves an elderly individual who encountered a distressing situation at their bank. After depositing six hundred dollars into an ATM and receiving a receipt confirming the transaction, they found that the amount was not reflected in their account the following day. Upon inquiry, the bank associates informed them about an ATM malfunction and asked them to return later.

Despite multiple visits and demands for her money to be returned or credited, the issue remained unresolved. Instead of de-escalating the situation, it is alleged that the associates called law enforcement. This case raises serious questions about the bank's training protocols and procedures for handling such situations, particularly when it involves elderly clients.

Questions to the Banking expert and their responses


Can you describe your background in banking operations, specifically regarding the training and management of bank employees?

I have over 35 years of experience as a bank regulator where I reviewed various aspects of banking operations. This included evaluating a bank's policies, procedures, and practices for training, ATM operations including error resolution issues, elder protection measures, face-to-face customer interaction, and funds availability requirements.


What is the standard procedure when an ATM malfunctions and a client follows up about their deposit?

The standard procedure should involve reviewing the bank's written policy on funds availability. In this case involving cash deposit, there should have been no question about making the funds available to the customer immediately.


What are some best practices that exist to de-escalate a situation with an upset client?

Best practices include having clear written processes for handling customer disputes and providing adequate training to employees in this area. There should also be a review process for ensuring that funds are credited promptly to accounts and a defined protocol for escalating disputes to senior management or law enforcement if necessary.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

I have reviewed similar cases where issues arose due to inadequate training or lack of clear policies within financial institutions. These cases often highlight the importance of having robust procedures in place for dealing with customer disputes and ensuring compliance with regulatory laws and regulations.

About the expert

This expert boasts over 35 years of experience in financial compliance, with a focus on financial institution supervision. They are a commissioned national bank examiner and a certified specialist in both financial crimes and anti-money laundering. Their extensive career includes 30 years as a safety and soundness examiner for the Comptroller of the Currency, specializing in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) examinations, and currently serves as a banking consultant for an independent consultancy.

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About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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