Monday, July 30, 2018

Why Bank of America asked Kansas man for proof of citizenship — and may ask you, too

Josh Collins and wife Jessica Salazar Collins were mystified: Why would the Bank of America, where they’ve banked since the early 2000s, suddenly ask questions about Josh’s citizenship?

He was born in Wichita.

So this thoroughly American couple from Roeland Park ignored a form that the bank mailed them about a month ago asking, among other things, whether Josh Collins was a citizen or could claim dual citizenship with another country.

Until the bank on Tuesday cut off access to their money.

Bank of America said it was standard practice to ask about citizen status when opening a new account or updating customer information on an existing one.

“Like all financial institutions, we’re required by law to maintain complete and accurate records for all of our customers and may periodically request information, such as country of citizenship and proof of U.S. residency. This type of outreach is nothing new,” Bank of America said in a statement Friday. “This information must be up to date and therefore we periodically reach out to customers, which is what we did in this case.”

But according to the California Bankers Association, the largest state affiliate of the national association, questions of citizenship are not federally required. “Not to our knowledge,” said the spokeswoman, Beth Mills.

She said federal law requires banks must obtain and verify only four things about account holders: name, date of birth, residential address and Social Security number.

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Looks like BoA is building a database. - Minuteman

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