US Banks are Sharing Secrets
Privacy Laws, only with regards to your ss#, not with regards to your $$
Date: 6/22/2005 10:57:09 AM ( 16 y ) ... viewed 931 times
Dear A-Letter Reader:
"Bankers as Spies" was my Comment topic last Thursday, in which I
detailed how American banks and their officers and staffs have been forced
by law into the role of spies on their clients.
As fresh evidence of this I related how William Fox, the current head of
FinCEN, the US Treasury's Criminal Enforcement Network, told 1300 US
bankers last week that they are America's 'eyes and ears' when it comes to
spotting 'suspicious' banking activity. I also told you how it's a crime
for a banker not to report 'suspicious activity' of all kinds, and a crime
if they tell a person who's under investigation.
In contrast, I explained how bankers used to be fiduciaries, owing
allegiance only to their clients and not to the police. In those quaint days
of not so long ago, police had to show probably cause and get a search
warrant before a bank would surrender a person's records.
In other words, American bankers (and all financial agents) are now caught
in an obvious and irreconcilable conflict of interest between their duty to
those whose money they manage and the government.
A reader responded with this illuminating email: "You make an excellent
point. I held an SEC securities license until 2003. When we registered
representatives got our 'continuing education' to maintain 'compliance'
(don't you love that word?), I realized that I was being drafted as an unpaid,
involuntary informant on my clients. The same goes for securities broker
dealers, casinos, futures commission merchants, insurance agents, money
transmitting businesses and more.
"Further, the rules are so complex and record keeping so complicated (post-it
notes must be filed as client correspondence), that the yearly 'compliance
meeting' was like hearing how many ways you could go to jail. I thought,
'who needs this' and dumped my license. I refuse to be a cog in a police
state in the making."
On the same day of the e-mail I ran across a column in the Richmond Va.
Times Dispatch that revealed in detail how the opening of several investment
accounts at the same time subjected an honest investor to a federal
investigation for 'suspicious activity' that hurt his credit standing and
caused him to pay higher interest rates on a loan, though he did nothing
wrong. Some computer anti-money laundering 'compliance' software spotted his
innocent actions and turned them into a possible criminal matter, hurting his
credit standing as a result.
The Richmond columnist (I urge you read her, see below) concluded after her
investigation: "Your bank is now the US government's secret informant. Each
time you open an account, the bank is under direct orders to start a dossier
and squeal if you do something suspicious."
My e-mail correspondent referred to the 1985 movie, 'Brazil' in which
government has taken over everything, including the minds of its citizens,
much like Orwell's '1984'. He wrote: 'I know we both share the apparently
mistaken notion that we are free citizens of a free country. But operating
on that assumption, rent the movie Brazil to see where America is headed.'
I've seen that flick, and folks, sadly, it fits the US situation. The hour
What are you going to do about it?
That's the way it looks from here.
BOB BAUMAN, Editor
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