I am not a lawyer, I am a Judgment and Collection Agency Broker. This article is my opinion, based on my experience in California. If you ever need legal advice, please contact a lawyer.

Of the articles I have written so far, this 2011 one is most likely to become stale, because banks merge and change policies often. Always verify bank policies before you levy a bank account.

Historically, the laws covering California bank levies were drafted in the days of typewriters, when a person had to go to the branch where they opened their bank account at, to withdraw funds.

Such laws are obsolete now, because one can withdraw funds at thousands of locations, including some grocery stores. Around 2009, California CCP 704.140 specified that a bank may choose where they will accept a levy - at one, some, or all branches.

If a bank or a brokerage account (cash only) is registered, and has an agent for service of process in California, you can serve a levy on the California address and reach debtor cash bank assets in any state, thanks to long-arm statutes. If you cannot take advantage of long-arm statutes, you must domesticate the judgment to where the debtor's assets are.

Many California banks require you to levy the branch where the debtor opened or maintains an account. Every California bank has its own policy on how levies may be served on them. Outside of California, generally, any bank branch in the state, is ok to levy. (To find out where to send subpoenas, see http://subhq.wordpress.com.)

This is a summary of some California bank levy information:

Ameriprise - (cash funds only without a court order) Serve any branch. 

Ameritrade - (cash funds only without a court order) Serve any branch.

Arrowhead Credit Union - Serve any branch.

Bank Of America (BOA) - Currently, you must serve the branch where the account was opened or where it is now maintained. If you know the debtor's account number, the first four digits of the account number shows the branch number. Call, and ask the bank "what is the address for the branch?" and the first four digits of the account number. Their California legal department is at: 45 Fremont Street, 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 any branch. (They are a California subsidiary of 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, San Francisco, 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 reach judgment debtor accounts in any state (wow). They are slower because they forward levies to New York, then to Texas. To speed things up, some enforcers make deals 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 - Currently, you must serve the branch where the account 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 good, 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 - Currently, 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 without 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 without a court order) - Serve 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 any branch. Their levy/legal contact number is 888-503-7105, option 4.

Schoolsfirst Credit Union - Serve any branch.

Scottrade - (cash funds only without a court order) Serve any branch.

Umpqua Bank - Serve any branch. Their levy department # is 866-486-7782.

Union Bank - Currently, you must serve the branch where the account was opened or where it is now maintained. 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 two offices in California: Oceanside and San Diego. They accept levies by mail.

US Bank Calif - Serve any branch.

Wachovia (now Wells Fargo)  - Serve any branch.

Washington Mutual (Now Chase)  - Serve any branch.

WestAmerica - Serve 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 Wachovia/Wells Fargo) - Serve any branch.

It may be hard to believe, however there is a strong suspicion that many banks, especially Chase, are quietly offering "levy proof" accounts to some customers. They call them "client trust accounts". The bank writes "no funds" on the memorandum of garnishee. This is illegal and immoral. However, I hear reports of this at least once a week.

If a bank writes "no funds" and you know there were funds, you may subpoena their records (with a 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 respond.

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http://www.JudgmentBuy.com -  the fastest solution, where Judgments and debts quickly get recovered by the best - matched for free to your debtor. JudgmentBuy.com is the fastest way for creditors and collection agencies to find each other.
 
Mark Shapiro - the judgment expert, with the best quality free leads for enforcers, collection agencies and contingency collection attorneys.

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Tags: Bank, California, Levies, Levy, banks, california, enforcement, garnishments, judgment, levies

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