There Are No Unimportant People

There Are No Unimportant People November 4, 2023

In the world of nothing important has happened…Bank of America, US Bank, Truist, Chase and Wells Fargo all had problems with direct deposit yesterday. They didn’t get the payments out to those who are owed money. The ACH (Automatic Clearing House) problem has not been resolved today. However, it’s not being discussed by the media –in the New York Times or WTOP, or follow ups on Real Clear Markets, or the Washington Post.

Notably, no numbers of how many were affected are mentioned. The US Federal Reserve assures us the banks are okay.  Oh good.

That’s not who would be hurt by this problem. But those affected by this problem, should contact those they owe money to, to let them know, they have had a problem because their pay checks have been delayed. How comforting.

So direct deposits not received by five major banks isn’t a story? How many days before it becomes one?

I know because my daughter was one of those who didn’t get paid yesterday. She still hasn’t been today.

So I have some additional questions to help those who investigate such things…

1) We know five major banks were affected –how many businesses and individuals? This should be easy for those who have access to numbers to find.

2) How much money was suspended –not paid out?  Again, this ought to be discoverable.

3) How long before all affected are paid and the problem resolved?  No numbers were given as to who was affected, and likewise, no timeline for the repair.

4) Who did this and how?  If it was mechanical, why? If it was human, who?  If it was a state entity –what’s the consequence and in all cases, what’s the safeguard against future problems of this nature?

5) If it was little, why is it not already fixed?  If it was big, why are we not hearing that there is trouble?

6) What sort of restitution will be given to those directly affected by the lack of a direct deposit yesterday –for the inconvenience, for the fees they may incurr either by taking out loans to meet expenses or being unable to meet their obligations?

7) Who at the ACH is handling this?  There were no names given, no people –it’s like the ACH is an entity in and of itself, that has no hierarchy or structure, in the story.   The ACH sends reports to Congress so presumably there are people who give these reports.

“The automated clearinghouse (ACH) system is a nationwide network through which depository institutions send each other batches of electronic credit and debit transfers. The direct deposit of payroll, social security benefits, and tax refunds are typical examples of ACH credit transfers. The direct debiting of mortgages and utility bills are typical examples of ACH debit transfers. While the ACH network was originally used to process mostly recurring payments, the network is today being used extensively to process one-time debit transfers, such as converted check payments and payments made over the telephone and Internet.

The Reserve Banks and Electronic Payments Network (EPN) are the two national ACH operators. As an ACH operator, the Reserve Banks receive files of ACH payments from originating depository financial institutions, edit and sort the payments, deliver the payments to receiving depository financial institutions, and settle the payments by crediting and debiting the depository financial institutions’ settlement accounts. The Reserve Banks and EPN rely on each other to process interoperator ACH payments–that is, payments in which the originating depository financial institution and the receiving depository financial institution are served by different operators. These interoperator payments are settled by the Reserve Banks.”

Everyone clear as mud?  Me too.  However, what it ultimately means is, the ACH didn’t function the way it should but the government assures us, everything is fine.


If this is having problems with transfering money, this is a big Biden deal.  For those affected, it’s  a big Biden problem.   For those not discussing this, I thought “Don’t Ask, Don’t Teller” was a Clinton era policy.

I just checked my daughter’s account again.  It’s been over twenty hours and there’s no new news.  It’s nothing to worry about, go about your lives citizens.

Actually, the absence of asking, is probably what worries me the most.   It will go down the memory hole as we get bombarded with stories about Taylor Swift tours and Bobby Knight funerals and the war between Israel and Hammas.   We will not notice that nothing is reported because the theory goes, if it’s not reported, it’s not important.  The media and the government assure us, there’s no problem so the problem must be nothing.

But there are people, real people being affected by this, and there are no unimportant people.  There are people who are being ignored, but that doesn’t mean their problems aren’t real or don’t matter; only that they haven’t caught the attention of those who are supposed to shine lights on problems that shouldn’t be happening.

However, we all know, what isn’t said is often as important as what is.   It’s what we don’t know we don’t know that is the problem.    So I’m hoping, I can add to this post when someone comes up with at least some of the answers…and of course, my daughter gets paid.


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