I am not a lawyer, I am a Judgment and Collection Agency Broker. This article is my opinion, from my experience in California. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer.
Of the articles I have written so far, this 2011 article is most likely to become stale, because banks merge and change procedures often. Always check bank policies prior to levying a bank account.
In the past, the laws covering California bank levies were formed in the days of the typewriter, when people had to go to the branch where they opened their bank account at, to withdraw funds.
Those laws became obsolete, because one may withdraw money at countless of locations, including certain grocery stores. Around 2009, California Code of Civil Procedure 704.140 specified that banks can choose where they will accept a levy – at some, one, or all branches.
When a brokerage account (cash only) or a bank has an agent for service of process, and is registered in California, you can serve a garnishment on the California address and levy judgment debtor cash bank funds in every state, thanks to long-arm statutes. If you can’t take advantage of long-arm statutes, you need to domesticate judgments to where the judgment debtor’s assets are.
Many California banks mandate that one to garnish the branch where the debtor opened or maintains an account. Every California bank has their own policies on how garnishments may be served on them. Outside of California, generally, any bank branch in the state, is ok to levy. (To find out where to serve subpoenas, see http://subhq.wordpress.com.)
This is a synopsis of a few California bank levy information:
Ameriprise – (cash funds only unless you have a court order) Serve on any branch.
Ameritrade – (cash funds only unless you have a court order) Serve on any branch.
Arrowhead Credit Union – Serve any branch.
Bank Of America (BOA) – For Now, you need to serve the branch where the account was opened or where it is now maintained. If you know the judgment debtor’s account number, the first 4 digits of the account number indicates the branch number. Call, and ask the bank “what is the address for the branch?” and the first 4 digits of the account number. Their California legal department is at: 45 Fremont St., San Francisco, 94105, 800-283-4262.
Bank Of The West – Serve any branch.
Cal-Fed Bank – policy changing, their legal processing department # is 916-374-5945.
California Bank and Trust (California Bank and Trust) – Serve on any branch. (They are a subsidiary of California Zion’s National Bank) Their levy department # is 858-514-2592. Charles Schwab – (cash funds only without a court order) – Serve any branch. Their California legal department is: Office Of Corporate Counsel, 101 Montgomery Street, SF, CA 94104, # 877-243-9263.
Chase (JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.) – Serve any branch. Their levy department is at 800-869-3557, extension 818.
CitiBank – Serve any branch – to levy judgment debtor accounts in any state (wow). They are slower because they forward levies to NY, then to Texas. To speed things up, some recovery specialists arrange to fax their Texas office immediately after the levy is served, to freeze the judgment debtor’s account faster. Litigation Support, 866-582-6249, their levy department is: 916-374-6100 (Option 8), 830 Stillwater Road/D-1, West Sacramento, CA 95605.
Comerica – For Now, you need to serve the branch where the was opened or where it is now maintained. However, if you levy the wrong branch, the bank writes down the correct branch on the memorandum of garnishee form. This is great, however they notice the judgment debtor, giving them a chance to remove funds. Their levy department in California is 408-556-5479 or 408-573-2111.
Community Bank – For Now, you must serve the branch where the account was opened or where it is now maintained. Their levy department # is 800-788-9999 x 1256. If you levy the wrong branch, the bank writes down the correct branch on the memorandum of garnishee form.
ETrade (cash funds only unless you have a court order) – cash accounts are held by Discover Bank. Customer service is at 800-717-9833, PO Box 30416, Salt Lake City, UT 84130.
Merrill Lynch (cash funds only unless you have a court order) – Serve on any branch. Their custodian of records is: Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, and Smith, Inc, care of CT Corporation System, 818 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017.
Navy Federal Credit Union – Serve on any branch. Their legal/levy contact number is 888-503-7105, option 4.
Schoolsfirst Credit Union – Serve on any branch.
Scottrade – (cash funds only without a court order) Serve on any branch.
Umpqua Bank – Serve any branch. Their levy department # is 866-486-7782.
Union Bank – Currently, you need to serve the branch where the account is now maintained or where it was opened. However, if you levy the wrong branch, they write down the correct branch on the memorandum of garnishee form.
USAA Federal Savings Bank – based in Texas. They have 2 offices in California: Oceanside and San Diego. They accept levies by mail.
US Bank Calif – Serve any branch.
Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) – Serve on any branch.
Washington Mutual (Now Chase) – Serve any branch.
WestAmerica – Serve on any branch.
Wells Fargo – Serve any branch. Their levy department is at 480-724-2000 (press 9, then 1) PO BOX 29779 – Phoenix, AZ 85038. World Savings (Now Wells Fargo/Wachovia) – Serve on any branch.
It may be hard to believe, however there is a strong hint that many banks, especially Chase, are quietly offering “levy proof” accounts to certain customers. They name them “client trust accounts”. The banks write “no funds” on the memorandum of garnishee. This is illegal and immoral. Yet, I see reports of this at least a few times a month.
When a bank writes “no funds” and you know there were funds, you may subpoena their records (with a judgment debtor exam) or sue them. In small claims court, they will probably pay you instead of showing up in court. On larger amounts, they will probably fight your lawsuit.
Mark Shapiro – the judgment expert, with the best quality free leads for enforcers, collection agencies and contingency collection attorneys.
By tpsdave from Pixabay