The paychecks of 3,500 Maryland employees were not direct-deposited into their Capital One accounts on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving because of a routing number error on the bank’s part, state officials said.
Capital One informed the state comptroller’s office, which handles the payroll, that it was changing its routing numbers about two weeks ago, prompting the office to update the routing numbers in its systems to the new numbers, said Alan Brody, a spokesman for the comptroller.
But when paychecks went out Wednesday, only 1,000 of the 4,500 full-time state government employees with Capital One accounts received their money. State officials contacted Capital One about the problem, Brody said, and bank officials said the routing numbers for the rest of the employees had not yet switched, leaving their paychecks in limbo.
Capital One “did not change all of their account holders to the new routing numbers,” said Dhiren Shah, director of the state’s Central Payroll Bureau within the comptroller’s office.
The bank did not communicate to the comptroller’s office that the new routing numbers would work for only some of its customers, Brody said.
“Capital One did not make it clear it was not for all Capital One account holders,” the comptroller’s office spokesman said. “Because Capital One didn’t make clear it was not for all employees, we were under the assumption everything was hunky-dory.”
The bank is upgrading its deposit systems, and it sent out routing number changes to “certain customers who were migrated to the new system” to speed up those deposits, Capital One spokeswoman Sarah Craighill said.
“However, in certain cases, there may have been some confusion that caused the change to inadvertently be applied to all Capital One customers, which is causing delays,” Craighill said in an emailed statement Wednesday. "We are working to resolve the issue and expect all customer deposits to post by end of the day.”
The money has been transferred from the state’s accounts at M&T Bank to the Capital One servers, Brody emphasized, and Capital One now must use the old routing number to ensure the employees receive it.
State officials first realized the problem when about 200 contract employees with Capital One accounts did not receive their payments as scheduled last Wednesday, he said. The comptroller’s office sent an email alert to state agencies about the issue last Thursday, warning “that there possibly could be a slight delay for some account holders.”
“Employees with direct deposits to Capital One accounts should contact their local Capital One branch if they experience any issues for Regular or University of Maryland payday of November 27th,” the alert read.
That’s still the state’s advice for employees who did not receive their money on the day before Thanksgiving. With bank branches closed for the holiday, officials recommend calling the customer service line: 1-877-383-4802.
The comptroller’s office plans to go through the payroll lists “with a fine-toothed comb” for the next pay period to ensure employees with Capital One accounts are being paid with the correct routing numbers, Brody said.
He called the situation “obviously frustrating," especially coming a day before the Thanksgiving holiday and two days before Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.
“This happening the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is less than ideal,” Brody said. "Not that it would be ideal in any circumstance.”