Bank Regulations

December 1, 1999

Imagine for a moment that a relative died and left you a substantial inheritance. Or imagine that your boss was so impressed with your performance that he gave you a very generous year-end bonus. Now imagine that you put that money in the bank. That's where your dream could become a nightmare.

Last year certain bank regulations were proposed that would require that your bank report you to the federal government because you've now become a suspect. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation "know your customer" regulations would have required member banks to profile account holders. When you suddenly deviate from your usual spending or deposit habits, your bank would be required to report you to the FBI, the IRS, and the DEA.

Now you might ask, Why is this being done? It's being done in the name of law enforcement and drug busting. Profiling depositors seems like a good way to catch various criminals including drug dealers. But like so many other government programs it will probably just end up harassing law-abiding citizens.

Compare it to gun registration. Law-abiding citizens register their guns with the government, while most criminals use stolen and unregistered guns for crimes. Likewise, drug dealers will make sure they deposit money below the FDIC threshold and merely establish numerous bank accounts or store their money in safes. Meanwhile, law-abiding citizens would be questioned about money they deposit or withdraw from their banks.

The good news is that last year letters to the FDIC pushed back these regulations. The bad news is that new regulations appear to be in the wings that would profile depositors according to age, race, and other criteria. If you ask me, it's pretty sad that the bank has to be turned into a snitch for the government.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.