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  1. smo0 says:

    Huh. I remember this practice at Citicards when I worked there back in 2004. I read the memo and realized then, as an american…. I no longer had rights. The day the music died, so to speak.
    I felt bad for the customers.

    • missy070203 says:

      they can thank the US Partiot Act and terroists for this….

      • smo0 says:

        Just the patriot act… and true american fears no terrorist.
        It’s the constant state of fear that, one day, we could be attacked that causes us to forget our rights in the first place and hand them over to the first person who says, “I’LL PROTECT YOU!” When you should be protecting yourself.

  2. AtlantaCPA says:

    I’m an ING Direct person myself, though their rates have also recently fallen just below 1% (0.8% right now). But that’s still way better than BofA!

  3. FreeMarketFan says:

    I was a huge ING Direct guy before their %’s dropped so low. Now I just leave it in a Chalk full of nuts can buried in the backyard

    • nybiker says:

      I had to read your comment a couple of times to understand where you leave your money in the yard. Chock Full Of Nuts (..coffee). Me, I use ‘em to hold the discarded cooking grease.

    • Gehasst says:

      Mine in still in ING as everyone is down to the 1% now. Why bother wasting time to move money to another account who might pay 1.01% for the few extra pennies?

  4. comedian says:
    • PunditGuy says:

      Thank you. I came here to post that this is typical AML behavior on the part of financial institutions.

      It’s not like you’re going to add your wife to an account every week. Man up, buttercup.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      I don’t think so.

      Based on what I read at your link, the “Know Your Customer” provisions of the Patriot Act mandate that banks take steps to verify your identity. That’s all. What HSBC was asking for from the OP goes way beyond that requirement. They don’t need to know anything about your employment history to verify your identity and no law requires them to collect that information.

      The bank might like customers to volunteer that information – which I’m sure would help the bank profile you and monitor your account for suspicious activity – but the OP is right: the bank has no legal basis to insist on it. Likewise, I agree that the bank is being dishonest by using references to the Patriot Act to imply that volunteering the information is required. Since it’s just company policy, it’s perfectly reasonable for the OP to take his business elsewhere.

  5. winstonthorne says:

    Look into throwing it into your retirement as an additional contribution. Best yield you’ll get for your effort in this market. Otherwise, use it to gain access to a credit union (most require you open a savings account to be a member), and gradually transition all of your deposit accounts there. Either way, you’ll be getting way more value than you are at present.

    • impatientgirl says:

      I agree with the retirement account suggestion.

      Also, Mr Impatient and I have opened accts at BB&T and First Citizens in the last few years and no weird questions or fingerprints or anything. Both banks in fact were thrilled to have our money we’d just removed from BofA. :)

  6. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Thank you Joe Lieberman and all your fellow assclowns who repeatedly renew and expand this abomination.

    • Grabraham says:

      Joe Lieberman writes HSBC policy?? That is bizarre!!!?! But I do like a good assclown marching band in a parade too but usually just to watch the instinct of some children kick in that know that there is something inconceivably evil about clowns. even assclowns that march in parades with musical interments.

      • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

        Lieberman authored the Patriot Act.

        The rest of yer post is mighty weird.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          That may be true, but the OP specifically tells us that those questions are not part of the Patriot Act, but rather part of the banks policy. It appears they are using tricky wording on a script to badger people into giving up that info in the name of the Patriot Act, when really it’s just their own poorly thought out policy.

          If that was a requirement that all banks had to follow then mine is in violation.

  7. DariusC says:

    Wells Fargo started reading me some spew about the patriot act when I opened my account too, it’s the standard rabble. Not like they care about what you and your wife say to each other on the phone. Then again, it isn’t about that, but having LEVERAGE over the common folk. That leverage can be used against them at any time for any reason to take from them what they earned. Still doesn’t change the fact that financial institutions must comply with it.

  8. Lyn Torden says:

    Any SMALLER bank or credit union would be the place it consider as a new home for your money. Visit them in person (as a test of convenience for visiting them in person) and ask about their policies at that opportunity.

    BTW, I keep my money in 3 different local (2) and regional (1) banks. And I never move money between them by other than cash, so each of them has no idea about the others.

    • RevancheRM says:

      1) USAA: its the one-stop shopping for all things financial. Insurance may still be off-limits to you, if you’re not serving your country in some form or fashion via the military, but the financial institution itself is above reproach.
      2) As previously stated, a local credit union. No direct personal experience myself, but you’re much more than an account number at these institutions and much less a product to be sold to advertisers.
      3) ING: again, no personal experience, but I hear it spoken highly of by many, sometimes in the same breath as USAA.

      • BennieHannah says:

        We — my husband and I and our children — are able to get auto insurance via USAA because my husband’s stepfather (who married into the family when the children were adults — not like he was their “dad”) is retired military. I was surprised that that’s the only link it took for us to qualify. But HAPPY!

        Every interaction I’ve had with them has been great. I haven’t really looked into their savings and other financial services, but I think I will…when we have some extra money laying around, that is.

        • RebeccaC says:

          I’ve been a USAA insurance customer for years, and they have been wonderful. We may look into opening an account with them just to spread the risk around a little, but our local credit union treats us well.

    • arcticJKL says:

      When my wife tried to add me to her account at the small, local credit union, they informed me the birth certificate, federal ID, passport and drivers license were not enough. They required I submit fingerprints as well. As above they also cited the patriot act. Being familiar with the Act I informed them it did not require it. Long story short, we do closed the account two days later.

  9. Cat says:

    Banks and credit unions never gave me this kind of crap when I added my wife to my accounts.

    And she IS a terrorist. Oh, wait. That’s my ex-wife.

    My current wife is a foreign national. And still, no BS questions.

  10. RevancheRM says:

    1) USAA: its the one-stop shopping for all things financial. Insurance may still be off-limits to you, if you’re not serving your country in some form or fashion via the military, but the financial institution itself is above reproach.
    2) As previously stated, a local credit union. No direct personal experience myself, but you’re much more than an account number at these institutions and much less a product to be sold to advertisers.
    3) ING: again, no personal experience, but I hear it spoken highly of by many, sometimes in the same breath as USAA.

  11. CubeRat says:

    I wonder if HSBC got zapped for not verifying some of the ‘Know your customer” aspects of the Patriot Act and the anti-money laundering/OFAC laws. I know that there are a lot of requirements for compliance; which is why many of the banks keep complaining about regulatory requirements.

    If you’re looking for work, the regulatory compliance if an area that will continue to grow.

  12. Hi_Hello says:

    you might want to check up on your wife’s credit history and background…maybe they found something that you missed.

  13. elkie says:

    These are the same interview questions I got from Chase when I went to order new checks. They said they needed to update their information on me. When they wanted me to go into more detail about my job description I refused and said I don’t think you need this information for a checking account. When people said the world changed with 9/11, this is one of the ways. The average citizen has very little real privacy, but, curiously, Bin Laden was able to hide out for years.

  14. Sarek says:

    I also have found HSBC to be ridiculously intrusive. I set up a trust to put my bank accounts into. All of the other financial institutions accepted a summary of the trust agreement. But HSBC required all 15 pages. I objected to this because the bank has no need to know my estate information. I even escalated a few layers of management. The party line is “we are a worldwide bank blah blah…” Like the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank really needs all this information.

    The kicker was that that online savings account with the higher interest can be owned only by an individual, so after all that b.s. I couldn’t put it into the trust anyway. The checking account would require a new account number, new checks, and I wouldn’t be able to link the online savings to it and I’d have to get separate ATM & charge cards, etc. etc. So I told them to stuff it.

    They’re leaving town anyway; they’ve sold all their branches.

    Actually too bad because that online savings acct. does have relatively high interest.

  15. Ed says:

    INGDirect or Ally Bank.

    HSBC is strange. We have a business account with them and every time we need to make a change, it requires an act of Congress. I hate dealing with them, but it is the only way to reasonably have an account in Hong Kong and various locations in China.

    I cannot imagine having a personal account there.

    • jamar0303 says:

      depends on where you are.

      they’re really popular with the chinese population in canada, from what i can tell.

      also, it seems like every other person in hong kong has a personal account with them, seemingly with zero trouble. i think it’s only in america that they’re so intrusive.

  16. GMFish says:

    HSBC would not add my wife without my first providing all of the additional information they might ask for in a 10- to 15-minute call.

    They didn’t mention anything about purchasing a time-share during your call?

  17. Remarkable Melba Kramer says:

    Maybe you had some sort of a “fuzzy” match on the OFAC or FINCEN list.

    • CubeRat says:

      I had something for a Mr. Lee in Hong Kong that got a hit on the OFAC list. And the hit was for a Mr. Lee in Hong Kong. I had to send it to the compliance dept.

      They came back to me and said, “Do you know how many Mr. Lee’s there are in Hong Kong?”
      I said, “yes, and I don’t know if this is the right one or not, so I sent it to you.” Yes, the compliance groups make everyone jump through hoops, because no one wants to be profiled as a company that shipped something to a terrorist (even if it is only pistachios nuts).

    • tjustman says:

      That’s what I would imagine. This sounds like more than just an enrollment exception. This level of scrutiny is something more concerning to HSBC. They wouldn’t (or shouldn’t!) spend that kind of time and money on adding a person unless they thought it important. Heck it wasn’t even an account opening, it was just adding a person to the account.

      You can thank the PATRIOT ACT for this one.

  18. brinks says:

    I’ve had an account with my bank for over a decade, and when I added a second account, they asked me all the same questions. It might be invasive, but it seems to be pretty standard.

    • Bob says:

      No it is NOT standard! HSBC is just plain weird. I don’t remember filling out a 15 pages application or a 15-20 minute interview for opening a regular customer account in ANY other bank or credit union.

  19. framitz says:

    Close the account and walk away, do not look back, or you might be turned to a pillar of salt, which the bank will then sell at a premium.

  20. Cacao says:

    Chris, I would have written it as ‘Matt even up and got married’. ‘Up’ is not a verb in that expression. Think ‘get up and go’.

  21. emyaeak says:

    Reminds of the SIGNED AFFIDAVIT we had to SNAIL MAIL to Amtrust to add me to my husband’s money market account. A little absurd? Okay, a lot.

  22. mister_roboto says:

    Well at least they didn’t try to foreclose on their house that the bank doesn’t own… YET.

  23. dolemite says:

    You know what’s frustrating about leaving a company due to poor service? They’ll never know. You can even tell the agent on the phone, and there’s a 2% chance it will get added as a note to your account, that has a 0% chance of ever getting looked at. Then, months later, the company will send you: “we want you back!” emails or junk mail, as if you left for some other reason than poor service or policies.

  24. kella says:

    If you’re looking for the highest rate possible (sadly there isn’t much north of 1%) you could try a local credit union, or UFB Direct which has listings at 1.05%.

    However, if you’re looking for good service, go with Ally. Their current online savings rate is .84%, and you should be able to transfer the balance easily with ACH. You can also make deposits via (free) business reply envelopes.

    Tip: The money market and savings products have had the same rate since at least late 2010. With the money market account you get free paper checks, and an ATM/Debit card (you get unlimited ATM withdraws, and all fees are refunded). Both accounts are FDIC insured, and limited to 6 withdraws per cycle (except ATM withdraws). If you think you might have a bunch of withdraws in a month at some point, open a checking account and use that as an outgoing payment account. They don’t charge any kind of monthly fee, regardless of balance.

    I like to tell people “I could call Ally right now, press 0 and have a real human that I can understand on the phone in seconds”. If I remember the HSBC phone system properly, you had to call, enter your account number, and then wait while it read you useless balance and transaction information, and navigate the phone system until you got a human.

    (I do not work for Ally or any company associated with them, if anything my employer is a competitor)

  25. goodfellow_puck says:

    My local bank has a “Rewards Checking” account that gives returns of 1.50%. It USED to be a ridiculous 1.75% until the start of this year. The only requirements are $100 min, 10+ debit transactions a month, an e-statement, and to have direct deposit (I’ve noticed they count deposits from google wallet/paypal and the like as DDs) or at least one online bill pay.

    I couldn’t find ANY national or online savings or CDs that did as well, and this is a checking account. Totally nuts.

    Anyway, definitely check out your local options!

  26. nicoleintrovert says:

    According to the Bank Secrecy Act financial institutions do have to ask additional questions that do seem prying. It seems that HSBC may have gone a little further than needed, but working at a credit union, to be in compliance with BSA we do have to record your occupation. I can’t remember exactly when this went into place as I no longer work in the front office, but I think it’s been at least a year now.

  27. hammitz says:

    I use Discover Bank online savings. The interest rate has dropped below 1% to 0.9%, but that’s still better than my local credit union.

  28. SunsetKid says:

    American Express seems to have the best interest rates for online savings.

  29. dush says:

    Don’t tell Matt, it’s a 30 minute interview to close an account…

  30. PeanutButter says:

    With all the shit that big banks have done in the past few years, I’m surprised that more people don’t use credit unions.

  31. Skeptic says:

    Par for the course at HSBC, and for Hong Kong businesses in general. Despite years of rational government by Great Britain the inner petty bureaucracy that is Chinese culture keeps erupting . . .

  32. pinkyismycat says:

    The psychiatrist that shot up a bunch of people at Fort Hood is on paid leave and has no bank account for his salary to go to. Nobody will give him an account because of all the terrorism shiat. Apparently there’s no way of getting a paper check if you work for that branch of the government. It’s so stinking funny. All that money and he can’t get to it. It was hilarious when his lawyer was acting all indignant about the fact that because of the Patriot act he can’t get paid. I guess the banks are worried that a terrorist may try to piggyback on somebody’s account, so they’re asking the same questions they would ask for a new account.

  33. rdm says:

    I’m getting 3.25% on a reward checking through Neighborhood Credit Union. I know, checking isn’t the same as savings, but no one is paying sh– on savings right now, and it’s worth it to me. 10 debit card transactions a month and direct deposit, and we just pull some from a paycheck automatically to cover the 10 (negligible) transactions.

    My regular bank, ViewPoint Bank, was paying 4% until September when it dropped to 3%, and now it has dropped to 2%. Also on rewards checking…

  34. TravelWithDignity says:

    find a credit union!

  35. gameraboy says:

    Alliant Credit Union – http://www.alliantcreditunion.org/. Deposit checks by scanner, and get interest on your checking account that’s greater than most “high yield” online savings accounts if you have an electronic transfer into it once a month, like Direct Deposit, or any other way (like to & from a ING account). Credit unions are nicer, are looking out for their members, you’ll be much happier.

    The easiest way to join, if you’re not in a participating group already, is to just join your local or national PTA and you can join at that point.