Bank of America requests citizenship information


CBS46 investigated a big bank in town after one customer said his account was 'frozen' for not answering a personal question about his citizenship.

Josh Collins works as a photojournalist at one of our sister stations and said he received a notice from Bank of America asking him to verify his citizenship. He chose not to respond since he was born a U.S. citizen. Then he said his account was frozen without any further notice.

"I think it’s going too far. I think there should have been more conversation prior to just a letter in the mail," said bank customer Valerie Missick.

Bank of America told Collins it was a common practice to verify that their customers are who they say they are. So CBS46 decided to check with the Georgia Bankers Association to find out if this is a common practice.

"Citizenship of the US is not a requirement to open a bank account," said David Oliver with the Georgia Bankers Association.

David Oliver said there is nothing new with banks asking for this type of information and that they are required to do so by law.

"The key thing with citizenship is to make sure customers are in compliance with any rules and regulations related to anti-money laundering or sanctions that the US has against other countries. The whole point of it is to ensure that the integrity, safety and soundness of the US financial system," said Oliver.

The Georgia Bankers Association insists this has been going on for many years and is not the result of our nations current leadership. CBS46 also checked with other big banks like SunTrust and they said they too ask for similar information.

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