I just had what has to be the most extraordinary day I’ve spent in quite some time.
This requries a little backstory: I just went through a major hassle with my previous bank, somebody stole my check card number and bought some stuff online, I filed a fraud complaint, they called me a liar, the whole thing was just a mess. Today it came to a conclusion, and I withdrew all my money and closed my accounts with that bank.
I checked online, and found another bank with local branches which offered the services I wanted, so I headed over there, money in hand, intent on opening new accounts.
They require ID to open an account. I expected that, I mean, that’s obvious. But apparently, under the USA PATRIOT Act, the amount of ID that bank now requires is so excessive as to make opening an account virtually impossible. They wanted two types of ID.
Driver’s License… I’ve got that, no problem
And another form of “acceptable ID”. They were pretty vague about what was acceptable, but they were quite clear about what was not acceptable, which is to say everything. Social Security Card? No good. Student ID? Not a chance. Car insurance card? That one stopped her for a second. Do you own a car? No… I just have road service for driving other people’s cars. Then the card is no good.
The only things the woman would confirm as actually acceptable secondary ID were:
Proof of Car Ownership
Major Credit Card
Military ID Card
So basically, I’d either need to go buy a car and then prove to them I own it, or join the military, or no banking for me. Major Credit Card struck me as particularly funny. Oh, you mean one of those things banks give you after you have an account with them?
Well, this went on for awhile, and she ultimately said if I could bring in a voter registration card, my cable bill, and a paycheck from my employer, they’d look it over and might be able to help me then. God only knows what happened to my voter registration card.
Ultimately we decided that I just wasn’t a fit customer for that particular bank. The woman gave me something which I consider to be quite an intriguing collectible, a pamphlet entitled:
USA PATRIOT Act
I feel safer already, don’t you? The pamphlet describes how the war on terror requires them to collect all sorts of crazy information to prove that I am who I say I am, and how they reserve the right to do pretty much whatever the hell they want.
But the final result is, I walked into a bank with a wad of cash, tried to give it to them, and they said “no”.
The thing that struck me as most interesting is that I could have taken my money over to the gun store and bought a bunch of weapons and ammo, and they wouldn’t have required half as much information about me.
Now, you’d think I’d be mad, but quite honestly the whole situation was so surreal, so unexpected, and so downright entertaining that the smile never left my face the whole time I was there. Even now, I consider the tale more humorous than deleterious. I mean sure, I’m out an hour’s time and I’m still without a bank, but at least I had something interesting to write here.