Not all online banks offer wire transfers, can complicate home buying

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  • On the morning I was supposed to close on my first home, I found out that the online bank where I’d saved my down payment didn’t offer outgoing wire transfers.
  • Because I didn’t have access to wires to transfer money instantly, I couldn’t get my cash to the title company that day, and it meant pushing back my closing. 
  • It turns out that my bank isn’t an outlier — many popular online banks don’t offer outgoing wire transfer services, which could be a big problem for home buyers.
  • If you’re using an online bank to save for your down payment, plan ahead. Make sure you can make a wire transfer, or make a plan in advance to move your down payment to a bank that can.
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When I started thinking about buying a home, I opened a high-yield savings account to save for it, and I chose an online bank. 

About a year later, I found the house I was looking for, made an offer on it, had that offer accepted, and set up a date for the closing.

The morning of the planned closing, I intended to wire the money to the title company — a pretty typical part of home buying, and required in my state for an amount of money the size of a down payment. I had the information I needed to send it, and I pulled up my account to get the wire started.

But, I couldn’t find a way to do it on my online bank’s website. After some looking, one line on the bank’s frequently asked questions page stopped both me and my closing agent in our tracks: ‘Outgoing wire transfers are not available.’

I called the bank, but the only other solutions took days

I’d never even thought about needing to make a wire transfer before my home purchase. I didn’t think I needed to look in advance to make sure the bank offered them, either —I just assumed all banks did. But, you know what they say about assumptions. 

I was panicked. I called the customer service line. One representative said the best he could do would be to mail me a paper check. This was Wednesday, and the earliest that check would arrive would be Saturday. It would mean pushing my closing until the next week, and moving my move-in date to the next weekend. There had to be a better way. 

Another call to the online bank later in the day had me talking to a different customer service representative; he had another idea. He could increase my daily transfer limits to $20,000, the set up ACH transfers to move the full balance to my checking account over three

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Inmate transfers for wildfires causing overcrowding and delays in medication, meals, bathroom access, families say

The state mismanaged its evacuation of 3,439 inmates who were moved in the last week from four minimum- and medium-security prisons in the Willamette Valley to prisons in Salem and Madras due to wildfire smoke, their attorneys said Monday.

Inmates with different security levels were mixed, leading to a rash of fights, the lawyers said. Guards were unprepared and used pepper spray to respond to rioting, adding the toxic chemical to prisons already filled with smoke from nearby fires, they said.

Inmates also didn’t get their medication on time, they said, and no meals were served for nearly 24 hours for women prisoners transferred out of Coffee Creek Correctional Institution.

Some inmates were forced to sleep on the floor, with little social distancing and increased risk of the coronavirus, according to family members.

Women transported in the middle of the night from Coffee Creek Correctional Institution sat on buses for hours, forcing them to urinate in their pants without access to bathrooms.

“Women were peeing in cups and throwing tampons and feces out the buses,” said Rod Richardson, whose wife Tammy Saylor was among those moved from the women’s prison in Wilsonville to Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras. Once at Deer Ridge, she had to sleep on metal bed springs for hours before mattresses arrived, he said.

A group of attorneys representing inmates urged Gov. Kate Brown to release those who are medically vulnerable and are six months away from release.

“It appears as if there wasn’t a plan for this,” said attorney Tara Herivel, who described the Oregon Department of Corrections actions as extremely haphazard.

More than 180 habeas corpus court cases are pending across the state by inmates already arguing that the prison conditions are unsafe, increasing their risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Lawyers are expected to incorporate the latest prison evacuations and changes into those cases, pointing to the altered, deteriorating conditions as further examples of alleged “deliberate indifference” to inmates’ medical conditions and safety, Herivel said.

The Corrections Department “has not only abused and mistreated our clients and other Oregonians in prison, they have exposed them to a mass COVID contraction environment,” she wrote to state officials.

Jennifer Black, spokeswoman for the Corrections Department, said the agency recognizes that “life at some of our institutions is not ideal for those who live and work at them” because of the wildfire emergency.

“However, life and safety are our first priority and we will return to normal operations as soon as conditions allow.”

Inmates from the Oregon State Correctional Institution, the Santiam Correctional Institution and Mill Creek Correctional, which are all in Salem and sit closest to the mouth of the Santiam Canyon, were moved to the Oregon State Penitentiary, also in Salem, last week. The inmates from Mill Creek and Santiam are now back at those prisons, according to Black.

The Corrections Department has extensive emergency preparedness plans that cover evacuations, mainly for a potential Cascadia earthquake, Black said. The state faced “unique circumstances” it couldn’t

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