Hi Lou, I listen to you each and every time you’re on The Smiley Show. I think you do a great job. So now I would like to bring my dilemma to you and see if you may be able to help. About three years ago, I had a baby and lost my job. Things got very tight with money and bills and after so long my bank sent me to CheckSystems, and then I filed a Chapter 7. Therefore, I cannot get a checking account. I have a very hard time cashing my employer’s checks. I was able to cash them at the grocery/convenience stores until now; I am over their maximum dollar amount, which varies from $300-$700. Family and friends had helped for a while but they’ve given up; it’s gone on for too long. Also, the last note is that my employer’s bank that issues our checks is out of state, so that is not an option either. I am at a brick wall as to how I can cash my check. I refuse to go to a check-cashing place because they only rip you off! I have attempted the credit unions, with no luck! If you have any suggestions it would be very appreciated!! Thanks and have a great day!! :) “Frustrated” Dear Frustrated, Er, well, this isn’t what I usually deal with here at Baggage Claim. Round these here parts, we usually talk about pink parts and the people who love them, but … eh what the hell. NUVO, after all, is here to serve our beautiful community and its fair citizens, right? I’ll give it my best shot. My first suggestion would be to go into a couple of banks and just talk about other options. Doing this in person usually yields better service and more detailed information. It may be that while you can’t open a checking account yet, you may be able to deposit your checks in a savings account. The bank might be willing to issue you an ATM card that cannot be used as a debit card, but still can be used to withdraw your cash. Plus, you’d be earning interest on that money, which ain’t a bad thing. I called my bank, Union Federal, and they told me that as long as you bring in copies of everything from your filing and any debts you may have owed another bank, they can either issue you a regular checking account, or what is called a “Collected Funds Status” account. This is sort of a probationary account that will hold deposited funds for a bit, but direct deposit funds are available immediately. If these options are for some reason impossible you could ask someone, like a parent, to let you be custodian of a joint checking account issued to both of you. However, I’d keep this as a last resort, and from the bit of research I did it sounds like you won’t have to do that. Best of luck to you, Frustrated, glad you’re on the upswing!

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