Doug spade and mike clement new bank rule overdrew our job privacy – opinion – the daily telegram – adrian, mi – adrian, mi baby mouth sores

The “Wanted” poster on the wall caught our attention the moment we entered the building. Despite the black broad-brimmed hats pulled low and kerchiefs that covered most of their faces — their shifty eyes being all that were visible — there was something vaguely familiar about the two guys pictured on it that we couldn’t quite put our fingers on. The italicized footnote about their notorious accomplices — a memo-writing canine and a loud-mouth 8-ball whose exploits were regular fodder in the supermarket gossip rags — wasn’t much help either. Then we spotted the names under the photos. Ours. Plus a rap sheet a mile long — detailing all sorts of tom-foolery, non-conformity, and professional troublemaking dating back to the 1960s. And there at the bottom was the most recent and most egregious offense of all.


Maintaining accounts there for decades, we had cashed checks hundreds of times without anyone so much as batting an eye. So when the teller said, “I need to know your occupation,” it was a sucker punch to the solar plexus. As far as we were concerned, it was also none of the bank’s business. Why did they need to know? Because a system upgrade required it to complete a cash transaction. We were in no mood for such nonsense. “Ditch digger,” we snapped. It was promptly rejected. So we dug in our heels, prepared for a showdown that was one part Hatfields and McCoys, two parts “High Noon” and all standoff at the OK Corral.

In 2016, the feds decided banks weren’t doing a good enough job of verifying their customers’ identities or paying close enough attention to any suspicious transactions they might be making. So the rulemakers put in place new regulations — which took effect two weeks ago — requiring heightened scrutiny of anything that might smack of dishonest or illegal activity.

Because of money-laundering concerns, there have long been special regulations governing currency transactions exceeding $10,000. For the Treasury folks, that’s now a quaint, outdated notion. The ones you really have to keep an eye on are those mild-mannered ditch diggers who cash $50 checks. No way are those dollars going for groceries. Or to fill ‘er up at the local gas station. The way prices there have skyrocketed this week, only CEOs with six-figure salaries can afford to do that. No, these check cashers are evildoers for sure. Worse than Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and the Dalton Gang combined.

Well, we’d had enough. We were gonna raise a fuss and gonna raise a holler — it’s second nature for all of us summa cum laude graduates of the Eddie Cochran Summertime Blues Institute. For once our voices weren’t the only ones crying in the wilderness.

We soon learned cashing a check drawn on our account should never have triggered the occupation question and were promised it wouldn’t happen again. Putting that assurance to the test, we cashed another check earlier this week without incident. But what about anyone else who objects to revealing their profession? Within 48 hours we had the answer. Workarounds had been created for those situations. All well and good. But there’s a far better solution.

Our earlier tongue-in-cheek aside notwithstanding, there is nothing criminal about depositing or withdrawing small amounts of cash. No reason for red flags or alarm bells. For the feds to insist that banks and credit unions build elaborate dossiers on those who do — under the rules your annual income, net worth, domicile, and principal occupation or business are all fair game for verifying your identity — is Big Brother run amok. Perhaps your financial institution will look the other way and spare you the intrusive questioning. Unless you absent-mindedly leave a 10-spot in your shirt pocket when you toss your clothing into the washing machine. Then all bets are off.