Disclosure: Our content does not constitute financial advice. Speak to your financial advisor. We may earn money from companies reviewed. Learn more
Last Updated on: 1st February 2014, 12:54 am
A couple of months ago, I had finally convinced my mother to buy gold. It took over seven years of extolling the benefits — harping on it, more like, and prodding her.
My mom never saw the need, the urgency, or the benefit of doing so. And I’m not really sure she does now either – I think she just wanted me to quit talking about it.
I find this strange, since my mom grew up in the 1940’s during a time where the dollar went a lot further, only to watch our paper currency destroyed during her lifetime. But whatever, I had finally persuaded her to buy some gold coins.
My local gold dealer only takes cash, so I drove my mother to her bank. We went to the first teller available and asked for $10,000 in cash.
The teller looked at us like we were aliens.
Regions Bank Says “We Don’t Have Your Money”
Then she called over a supervisor. The supervisor came right over and said, “I’m sorry Mam, but we don’t keep that much money on hand. We’ll have to order it for you and then you’ll have to come back and pick it up.”
Time out – Order it?
We’re talking about getting money out of a bank in Naples, Florida. Naples is a high-end haven for middle-class millionaires.
If a bank in a tone retirement area can’t fork over a measly $10,000, then what does that say about the banking industry?
Needless to say I was incredulous, and starting to get ticked off.
I sarcastically asked, “We ARE in a bank, aren’t we?”
The supervisor retorted, “We do it for the safety of our customers. It’s just our policy.”
Walking away I said, “The fact that you don’t have my mother’s money doesn’t make us feel any safer. It sounds a lot like “We Don’t Have Your Money.”
After this I got a nonsensical response that I can’t even recall.
Frustrated, we left the bank. My mother and I talked about what had just happened. To her, it was just an inconvenience. For me, I wondered how deep this rabbit hole went.
Fortunately, the next day my mother went back to the bank and got her money. But this experience made me wonder if other banks are also making it difficult for customers to access their own money, and why.
Sure enough, there’s plenty of this going around.
Chase Bank Says No to International Wire Transfers
In October of 2013, customers of Chase Bank received letters stating that the bank would no longer execute international wire transfers.
So what’s the big deal, you say?
You may not need send money to Europe, but by saying that international wire transfers are too much of a risk Chase Bank is telling you that you are not free to exchange your dollars for another currency.
Chase is forcing capital controls upon Americans, likely at the behest of our government. Capital controls are typically put in place when there is a run on a country’s currency, just like a run on a bank.
And so Chase is helping our government to “lock the door” and prevent our dollars from fleeing the country.
Since this policy would not be good for business with multi-national companies, it’s unlikely that Chase is acting alone. More likely, the cabal of nationalized banks like Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Citigroup will follow suit at the urging of their partner Uncle Sam.
Note that Chase will allow international wire transfers coming in, but not going out, confirming the capital controls theory.
HSBC Interrogates Customers Who Want to Withdraw Money
HSBC employees in the UK have been telling customers that they first must demonstrate to the bank's satisfaction WHY they want to withdraw their own money.
According to HSBC, ”…in some instances we may have asked these customers to show us evidence of what the cash is required for.”
Nowadays we apparently need evidence along with an ID in order to withdraw our own money.
The bank has simply decided in its sole discretion that it can put limits on withdrawl amounts, or possibly not give people their own money back at all based on your evidence.
As you might guess, HSBC’s UK operations are in severe financial trouble, posting a major capital shortfall of over $100 billion.
Of course HSBC is not alone. With few exceptions, most banks across Europe are in a similarly precarious position– highly illiquid and thinly capitalized.
This is very disturbing trend that has started in Europe, and one that we should guard against in the U.S.
It is true that U.S. banks are much better capitalized than their European counterparts, but remember: The same idiots who required a government bailout are still at the helm, and who knows how badly our banks will be hurt in the next economic downturn.
Red flags abound, for those who care to pay attention. This is not a time to be complacent with your money, or your freedoms.