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Can a bank take money from a joint account for debt in another account?

Me and my girlfriend share a joint bank account(I’m the primary account holder). She also has a separate bank account with the same bank. Today the bank withdrew money from our account to satisfy the debt that she owed in her separate account. These accounts are not linked what so ever. So I want to know can they legally take money from our account to satisfy the debt in another account without my consent?

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6 Responses to “Can a bank take money from a joint account for debt in another account?”

  1. the tax lady said :

    Of course they can.

    1. All banks have clauses in their account agreements that if you owe on one account, they can transfer money from any other account to cover the negative balance.

    2. A joint account means that each of you has control over the entire balance. Your consent is not necessary.

  2. MVD34 said :


    In general, there are two things you are “missing.”

    (1) The most important is buried in all that paperwork you “accepted” when you signed the agreement to open an account at the bank. The bottom line is that you agreed that any and all money you put in their bank can be taken at any time to satisfy any legitimate debt owned by any account at that bank or any of its direct subsidiaries.

    (2) The second point is a clarification about just exactly what “joint” means in legal terms. Unless otherwise specified (usually by legal agreements or signed documents of authority, like a POA), joint accounts are considered legally co-owned assets. That means ALL assets are considered 100% owned by EITHER party. The reason you can make a withdrawal without her approval and she can write a check without your signature on the account is because “you told the bank” to consider either person a 100% owner of the assets in the account at all times.

  3. My Take on It said :

    Yes, they sure can!

    That is why you shouldn’t co mingle your finances with a girlfriend.

  4. wg0z said :

    yes, the accounts ARE linked. her name is on both.

  5. Amanda said :

    Yes sir they most certainly can… we do it everyday where I work. She needs to be more financially responisble.

  6. Gale said :

    Yes, they can, but they shouldn’t. They did it to me and my MOM. I closed my checking account, but an outstanding draft that was supposed to have been stopped processed anyway. The bank took the funds from my MOM’s account without her knowledge to cover my draft. I can understand their reasoning that I was on both accounts, but, I don’t understand why they didn’t notify my MOM or me to let us know of the need. A little customer service with a courtesy call would have solved the whole problem. I would have covered the draft.


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