Chase refused to let Ramsey cash his check without a thumbprint, even though he had called and verified that two forms of identification would suffice. The teller insisted that a thumbprint was required by a “rule.” How official sounding. Ramsey spoke with Heath, the bank manager.
- “Heath informed me that due to the Patriot Act, all negotiable instruments required a fingerprint as proof of my status as a holder in due course.”
Ah, the Patriot Act, that vague catch-all excuse for every vigilante action under the American sun.
Though not a lawyer, we have seen them on TV, so we rushed to find where the Uniform Commercial Code requires thumbprints. Wait a minute, it doesn’t.
Ramsey’s letter to Chase, inside…
I would like to inform you of the incredulous exchange I had at one of your local branches.
The company I work for currently uses your institution for its financial transactions. In return for my labour, my employer provides me with a negotiable instrument commonly known as a cheque drawn from the funds stored with your company.
Thursday, January the 11th at 5:45 pm, I entered your facility located at 1115 S 800 E Orem, UT 84097 with the intent to recoupe the amount entitled on my cheque.
Before visiting this branch I located the phone number for this facility and called ahead of time to find out what was needed to cash my cheque. I was informed that two forms of identification would be sufficient.
While at the bank, I spoke with a teller who promptly asked me for two forms of identification. I produced these forms of identification. The teller then proceeded to request that I press my thumb onto a pad of ink in order to place a copy of my thumbrint onto the cheque. I politely refused this request by stating “No thank you.”
After providing my signature on this cheque, your teller refused to provide recoupement of the amount shown on the cheque issued from your institution. At this point, I questioned the nature of this refusal as it clearly states on the cheque that funds were to be drawn from this institution. The teller stated that this was due to some sort of ‘rule’. She mentioned that this rule forbid her from lawfully producing the amount shown on this cheque. I requested that she show me some documentation on this policy as I was informed that two forms of identification would be sufficient to prove that I had rights as a holder in due course as per U.C.C. – ARTICLE 3 – NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS ..PART 3. ENFORCEMENT OF INSTRUMENTS
I proceeded to speak with the manager Heath who informed my father not 5 minutes before, that two forms of identification were sufficient to prove rights as a holder in due course. I questioned Heath as to why your institution would refuse to provide the recoupement endorsed by my employer and the cheque from your bank. Heath informed me that due to the Patriot Act, all negotiable instruments required a fingerprint as proof of my status as a holder in due course. Which seems to be in violation of U.C.C. ARTICLE 3 which I believe to be the law that federal banks subscribe to in order to conduct business.
I would like to call to your attention Heath’s insistence that the Patriot Act was his reason for denying the recoupement that I believe I am legally entitled to. I feel that this is absurd and I would expect that a manager at your facility would be educated enough to know why he or his tellers would refuse a request of recoupement. I am familiar with the Thumbprint Signature Program. However, I do not believe this holds sufficient legal authority to deny a holder in due course the advancement of this negotiable instrument.
I feel that your company could have treated this situation with more professionalism and that refusing to pay funds from an account drawn through your bank is wrong. I also feel that your employees are not provided with enough training on what is proper and what is not. It seems as if these employees were just quoting policy based on hearsay. This policy has cast your company in a negative light.
I feel that your prompt attention will help resolve this matter.
Nice to see Aaron Burr’s shoot first, ask questions philosophy remains alive and well in the bank he founded. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER