Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bank of America Begins “Tracking” All Who Make Cash Deposits

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By Martin Hill

I tried making what I thought was an ordinary cash deposit into my wife's account at Bank of America this afternoon. I have been a customer of "B of A" for a long time and have made many such deposits.

The teller asked if I am listed on the account and I told her no, that it's my wife's account. She then told me that she will have to see my driver's license. This is a change in policy for B of A, so I asked her if it was merely a request or a requirement. She claimed it was a requirement, and when I asked for the reason, she told me that it was to 'prevent loss' and to safeguard customer information. Apparently there has been a rash of 'customer impersonations' by people seeking to garner information about accountholders.

I explained that I had not asked for any information about the account, and reminded  the teller that I gave her the account information, and simply wanted to deposit a few hundred dollars cash.

The teller explained that they 'track' non accountholders who make deposits into customers accounts. We went back and forth with her eventually pleading "well, if you haven't done anything wrong,  there's no reason not to show ID". I explained that the opposite was true, that since I have done nothing wrong, there is no reason to require ID. I reiterated that I did not ask for any account information, and that it's a cash deposit; that they have a machine to determine if the cash is counterfeit. I was not impersonating or claiming to be the account holder, who is a woman, and furthermore, my wife and I did not consent to any new or altered account agreements or regulations.  The teller then admitted that another customer had "walked out on her" after refusing to show their ID. I told her that it must have been another customer who had some common sense.

I told her that I was not going to show her my ID, which brought us to an impasse. I asked to speak with the branch manager, Chuck, but he was out to lunch; the teller told me that the next supervisor in charge, "Edie", was helping a customer, but would speak with me if I was willing to wait.

I didn't have time, so I left and called the B of A customer service line fro my car. The rep was intrigued since she had not heard anything about this alleged new policy, and wanted to get to the bottom of it. She spoke with some superiors who finally claimed that the policy was at the discretion of the local branch.

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