Saturday, September 29, 2012

Daily Briefing for Saturday, September 29, 2012

One Reader's Story

Below, I share an email I received from a friend.  Other than to add a few paragraph breaks to make it easier to read, I have not edited any of it.

So, I have a story to share with you - to repost in your blog under anonymous language, or just to keep for personal reasons.  My brother, today, went to his main bank, Capital One - the largest branch in his area, to make a large withdrawal of cash, close to 50k.  Like us, he wants to have his personal assets close by if the SHTF, including the devalued paper currency we trade with.  You may have heard/read about similar situations, but...

The first teller he went to, with his Bank of America check for deposit ($400), was your average teller.  He told her he wanted to deposit that to his main account, and then make a withdrawal against the same account for the large amount.  She stared at him in disbelief, and then went over to another worker and mumbled something.  She then sent him over to the 'head' teller, and he waited in line again.  At first, she stated she didn't understand what all the hub-bub was about, and said she was going to the back to start the transaction.  But when she returned, she also had the wild-eyed stare, and started making suggestive comments: "You know sir, we usually don't make transactions like this due to the safety of our customers here in the bank, and in the parking lot." When did the banks get into the business of security detail with its customers?  Eventually, she sent him over to a bank manager, who, according to my brother, was acting 'squirrelly,' and basically said the same thing.  He then tried to convince my brother multiple times to take a cashier's check.  My brother respectfully declined, and said he would like cash. 
The manager then started in with the questions.  "Well, we generally need a REASON to release this much cash."  As if it is any of their freakin' business what customers do with THEIR OWN MONEY.  He went into the safety spill again, while my brother was thinking - "What if I drove up in the parking lot with a million bucks?  You would never know.  That argument is pathetic."  And then another push for another cashier's check.  Then he stated he would have to check to see if the bank would "be in balance."  That only tells us that they had to reconcile digitized cash vs. physical cash, and that more than likely they didn't even have 50k in cash on hand.  In other words, they had to account for the physical cash that was going back out into the market, undigitized. 
Then, out came the form.  The main question my brother remembered was about occupation - what that has to do with withdrawing your own money, I don't know.  He also called to other banks, including Bank of America, to check my brother's accounts there.  When it was all said and done, my brother walked out with 25% of what he asked for, and has to go back Wednesday, to 'collect' the rest. That will give the bank enough time to "ship in" the rest.  So, if that is true, who is holding the physical money?  Where is kept?  Why? A small-town bank I would understand that, but not a large Capital One bank.  No telling what may await him when he arrives.

This hits home for us.  It confirms everything that needed confirming.  Our money no longer belongs to us.  It is quickly resembling China, where you have to have permission from the authorities to pull out your own money, along with the questions.  We are going to the bank tomorrow to make some sizable withdrawals, to test the system.  I'll let you know how it goes.  And then on to purchase some silver.

I'm not an expert in retail banking, although I know some of you are.  Here are a couple of my layman's observations:

  1. Why does a customer need a "reason" to withdraw a large sum of money?  It's their money.  I sense this has something to do with the Patriot Act.  This isn't the first time I've heard this IS the first time I've heard it happening to someone I know indirectly.
  2. I would think a branch bank of a large bank in a city that's not in a rural area would have sufficient physical currency to cover a $50K withdrawal.  I worked as a bank teller in a small town years ago.  People came in and asked for $10,000 on a regular basis.  We never thought to ask them why they were taking out that kind of money.  Due to the growing use of debit cards and electronic fund transfers, banks may feel the need to keep less cash on hand - just speculation on my part.  But I suspect banks should be more prepared for people to do what my friend's brother did.
  3. Why am I less safe coming out of the bank and into the parking lot with $50K on me than I am with $5 on me?  If the bank and the customer have done their jobs and completed the transaction quietly and discreetly, no one in the bank, other than the customer and the teller should know how much cash money has on them.  Again, back to my days as a bank teller - business owners of convenience stores would regularly leave the bank with large sums of cash and coins on them in order to make change and cash payroll checks.  Those people were no less safe with small amounts of money on them as they were large amounts.  This "customer safety" angle is either a complete ruse or the creation of the bank's legal department trying to justify its existence.
Are you experiencing things like this?  Are you taking steps to have less money in the bank?

1 comment:

  1. Please request an update from your correspondent as to whether he got his cash and under what circumstances.