-Protecting Your Account
-Patriot Act Compliance
-Is Your Bank Safe?
WHAT IS THE PATRIOT ACT COMPLIANCE?
It is expected that personal information will be asked by banks
when looking to open up a new bank account. However, since 9/11,
banks are allowed to ask questions that may seem quite evasive.
As a result, many people may feel harassed when opening a new
Everyone that opens a new account is affected
by the Patriot Act and its anti-money laundering provisions.
The Patriot Act was developed as a result of the attacks that
occurred on September 11th and covers many areas of
anti-terrorism; affecting financial institutions.
Financial institutions are affected, to some extent, since the
terrorists apparently had no trouble opening bank accounts in
this country and acquiring credit cards with fake
Responsibility of the banks
The verification of any individual looking to open an account
has become more of a liability for financial institutions. They
accomplish this by collecting customer identification
information including name, birth date, address as well an
identification number, which would be a taxpayer identification
number for American citizens or a government-issued document for
Records of all of this information used to confirm any
individuals identity must be kept. Any form if identification
that you remit must be stored, i.e. driver's license. Your name
is also going to be checked against a Government provided list
of suspected or known terrorists or terrorists organizations.
If the institution feels that it is needed,
they can get even more invasive. For example, a bank can inquire
about the characteristics of your business or profession, the
name and address of your employer, inquiries about your assets
and how you generate your income. They will also likely ask you where is the money
coming from that you are using to open the account with.
The bottom line is that institutions are required to find out as
much about their customers as they can. The amount of scrutiny
you face will partly depend on the types of transactions you
perform, and for what amount of money. Featured below are
instances that may result in you setting off a red flag.
If you open an account with $150,000, it is likely that you are
going to be asked for more than a driver's license for
identification. The bank will also likely crosscheck you with
credit reports and other financial institutions.
If you ordinarily maintain an account balance of $4,000 and over
the course of a few weeks deposit a few checks totaling $30,000,
these transactions can set-off a flag.
If your actions are labeled suspicious by your bank, don't
anticipate being informed of an investigation. As a matter of
fact, the Patriot Law specifically states that individuals
involved in the transaction should not be notified by the
financial institution of any inquiries. They can opt to freeze your account,
without letting your know the reason why. Don't worry, you will
not be in the dark for any extended amount of time. Your bank
will file a Suspicious Activities Report, turning your case over
to the federal authorities.
These are things that the average consumer should not be
worrying about. The greater part of legitimate customers are not
even going to notice the execution of these regulations.