I am not a suspicious-looking character. People tell me their life stories in grocery store checkout lines. About once a month, I get the comment, “You look just like my second cousin or Aunt Mary or my former Sunday school teacher”. If you were in a roomful of twenty strangers and had to ask one of them to hold you wallet, nineteen times out of twenty, you would ask me. Ms. Innocuous is who I am.
Well, earlier this year, my husband and I moved to Georgia and needed to open a bank account. We had some checks to cash and wanted to get a local bank for better access to our funds. We both have had accounts since we were little children. I can remember taking a dollar to school every week to put in my bankbook when I was in grade school. My husband remembers taking in a dime every week. (You can see he is much, much, much older than me.) I had passed a nearby local bank and checked it out online. All seemed fine and since both my husband and I like to do business as locally, we decided to go there.
We were putting the account in my name. So I dutifully filled out the paperwork at the bank. They wanted identification, which was understandable, and they also said, “We have to do a credit check. It is bank policy and a requirement of the Patriot Act.” Now I thought that was a bit odd, because we were depositing money not asking for a loan, but our credit is acceptable, so we said okay.
The bank employee returned and said, “We can’t open an account, we can’t verify your address.” Since we had just moved, I did not have a Georgia license yet and the address on the old (and still valid) license did not match what the credit bureau had on record, since I had a temporary apartment in the interim. I told them the previous address that they had on the report, but that made no difference. They would not open the account. It was company policy.
I am now really irritated; my husband is now really irritated. We spent thirty minutes giving our personal and confidential life history to this bank and waiting on a credit report, all for nothing. My husband asked for the application form. We took it. Then, we walked out. Did I mention we were irritated?
Three days later we go to pick up the mail and there is a letter from the bank, telling us they can’t open an account because they can’t verify our address. They can’t verify our address, but they can send us mail, which gets to us at our non-verifiable address. What is wrong with this scenario? Can someone explain it to me? I surely don’t understand.
We did successfully establish an account at a not so nearby bank. Ironically, that was done without any issue.
My amused husband now fondly refers me to as “the terrorist”. He laughs about his wife, who never even got a parking ticket, being flagged by a “Patriot Act Policy”.