News10NBC Investigates: Local Rochester woman opening up small business: ‘I deposited $100,000 to my bank account and my money disappeared’
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — “They had said they wanted to confirm they got the money after they received the media inquiry from your team and I said yes I did, it was there this morning,” Hannah McMullen, partner of The Reformery said.
A major headache for a local woman opening a small business. More than $100,000 disappeared from her business account at Chase Bank for almost a month and no one at the bank could explain why.
‘The Reformery’ is a new Pilates studio opening this summer in Rochester, off University Avenue—the dream of three local women.
They financed that dream with all they had—$100,000. They thought the money was safe in their new Chase business account, then without explanation, it disappeared.
So they contacted News10NBC’s Raven Brown and she started digging.
"No one can answer why we didn’t receive the money or what they even need from us to get the money,” Hannah McMullen said.
Hannah McMullen and her two business partners Sarah and Amanda deposited their life savings, more than $100,000 into a business account with Chase Bank.
They’re starting a new business, ‘The Reformery’, a new Pilates studio opening in Rochester. Days after the deposit, the money is nowhere to be found.
“So then we deposited the funds, July 5 hits, funds have been deposited both in our account and our personal account the funds have been withdrawn and then a day or two later we were doing some financial forecasting and the account disappeared,” McMullen said.
For several hours over many days they pleaded with employees at the local chase bank to find their funds. Almost a month later, still no answers and no money.
“We left that day without any explanation of what happened but with a promise the check would be mailed to us with the full amount and that we would receive it. So we didn’t receive it when they said we were going to.”
So McMullen reached out to News10NBC and News10NBC’s Raven Brown reached out to Chase by email on Monday looking for an explanation and the missing $100,000.
They sent this statement:
"We restored full access to the account and the funds once we confirmed the information we requested in our June 28 letter. We called Ms. McMullen to update her."
Chase also provide News10NBC a copy of the letter they said they sent. The letter is addressed to McMullen’s studio stating the account would be closed because of recent activity or because they didn’t provide requested information.
“I never got that letter, no,” McMullen said. “And they also said they tried to reach out by phone and I never got a phone call and when I was at the bank they looked back to see if there were any communications that had been missed and they have told us, ‘No we don’t see any record of communications’ McMullen said.
News10NBC’s Raven Brown emailed Chase again with several pointed questions, including asking why McMullen has not had access to her funds.
Chase did not answer that but instead sent this statement Tuesday afternoon that reads:
“On June 28, we mailed a letter to the address on Ms. McMullen’s account requesting additional information. Once we confirmed the information she later provided to her local branch, we restored full access to the account and the funds. We apologized for the confusion.”
We went back to follow up with McMullen Tuesday morning and to her surprise:
“I logged on, it was like 6 a.m., and all of the sudden the full balance showed up,” McMullen said.
And finally, a call from Chase Bank explaining why they closed her account.
“That reason had to do with paperwork but it did not align with what the branch had told us and they didn’t tell me where the money went,” McMullen said.
McMullen said it’s a sigh of relief, they can get their small business back on track.
“I was surprised that it took reaching out to the media for things to get this moving because I have been trying to get the money for almost three weeks now and she apologized for that being the case,” McMullen said.
News10NBC asked Chase a number of questions, including if they could verify when they sent that letter and how and if they can assure viewers that other customers could not face a similar problem.
Chase did not answer those questions.
The Reformery, located at 1255 University Avenue is now slated to open on time August.
Did you know your bank can close your account at any time, and they don’t have to notify you beforehand? They do however have to send you your money. If your bank closes your account, here are recommendations from Forbes Advisor.
• First contact the bank to find out why it closed your account, and request your funds.
• Maintain a paper trail. The reason News10 NBC was able to get their money back so quickly is that they had the receipts, providing proof they had made the deposits.
• Keep notes of every call and get names of every bank employee you talk to.
• Stop direct deposits and automatic withdrawals.
• Get a copy of your Chexsystems report. Chexsystems, tracks checking and savings account activity, lists reasons for closures, and generates reports.
• If necessary, file a complaint with the Federal Office of the Comptroller’s Customer Assistance Group.