Dear Harry:

I own 100 percent of the stock of a small company that operates my business. I have banked with Bank of America since they took over my old bank. Last Friday, I had a terrible run-in at one of the branches. I had a check payable to me for $154 to reimburse me for expenses that I incurred on behalf of the company. The teller asked for ID, which I produced. Then, she told me that there would be a charge of $6 to cash the check even though it was clearly drawn on a B of A account with more than $8,000 in it, and it had my signature on it. The reason: I don't have a personal account with them. That never happened to me before. She checked with her supervisor who agreed with her. I went to the bank where my wife and I have a joint account, and they cashed the check with only a cursory look at my driver's license. I know it's just a small amount, but if you multiply it by a lot of people it can be a huge amount for the bank. Suggestions?

What Harry says: My first step would be to contact the branch manager to notify him of the situation. I would then get my account into another bank that does not have that oppressive policy. Send the branch manager a letter explaining why you're leaving, with a copy to the chief honcho in Charlotte, N.C. This is a time when banks should be making it easier for consumers. I wonder how many times your employees and creditors have been hit with this charge. *

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, Box 7788, Philadelphia, PA 19101. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-GIVE LIFE.