Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

    Support MFO

  • Donate through PayPal

How safe is your money in a bank?



  • "someone has to know some history and some facts and have some memory function. Judgment is good too."

    Seems to me that you're setting an impossibly high bar, there.
  • @MFO Members: Time to put this thread to bed ! The entire premise of "how safe is your money" is total and complete nonsense ! Should never have been posted in the first place !
  • I’d like to weigh in on this matter.

    About 2 years ago, I received a call from Fidelity, one of 2 broker-custodians I use.
    They were calling me, to make inquiries of me regarding several sub-$10K electronic transfers I had initiated between Fidelity and my other broker-custodian, within the span of 4-6 weeks.

    The Fido represented asked if I had ever heard of the term “structuring” (If I had, I’d long ago forgotten it). She then proceeded to have a conversation with me which made it clear : what I had done (again, electronically transferring MY money from one SIPC institution to another) could be illegal under the BSA, and would likely be reported by Fido to the Feds. I explained to her its my money, I paid the taxes on it; the rep (and the bank/brokers don’t care – the law is what it is. (In retrospect, I found this bizarre – especially coming from Fidelity, which makes it extraordinarily easy to transfer sums electronically!). She made it clear that if further “structuring” transactions were to be made by me, Fidelity would “ask” me to close my accounts with them. That the govt is using the banks to snoop on me – to the point where I am electronically moving money from one institution to another I found to be very aggravating.

    The BSA law was passed back in 1970 –45 years ago. $10K was a lot of money back then. Not really so much anymore. Not to mention the reporting of – and criminalizing – of sub-$10K transfers – even when no actual criminal/nefarious activities have occured. Combine that with the seizure of assets without due process. --- the law strikes me as a vast overreach by Big Brother, and unjust in its application.

    Perhaps instead of asking “is your money safe at the bank”, a better question is “whose money do you think it is, yours?” – A lot of folks think its “their” money. But its not. It’s the Fed’s money (at least they think it is) – they just let you transact business with it.
    I’d encourage anyone who can, to keep a portion of their liquid holdings in cash (or AU) “self-custodied”. – Keep in mind, the banks are paying you next-to-nothing for the privilege of “safe-keeping” your cash now.

    Now combine the legally-institutionalized snooping of financial accounts, created by the BSA, with the NSA’s warrantless spying, er- ‘vacuuming’ all electronic communications, the passive tracking embedded in your cell phones and vehicles, and the omni-present “private” cameras everywhere, and now the spy blimps and drones being deployed. -- “our” government is engaged in persistent, relentless spying on all of its residents --- to a degree which was only used on incarcerated persons 50 years ago. – Think for a minute, if instead of using electronic surveillance, they assigned a G-Man to follow you, your spouse, your children, your parents, and everyone you know, around endlessly, would you be as sanguine as you are about them using electronic surveillance?
  • follow-on...
    About 3 months ago, my colleague/co-worker mentioned he was planning on buying a piece of jewelry for his wife, celebrating 25 years of "marital bliss".

    He found the piece he liked, which was just over $10K. He planned to pay cash. The jewelry clerk demanded his ID (OK, I guess, in case the bills had been counterfeit) -- but then also demanded my colleagues SSN --- you see that purchase was going to be reported to some govt agency. My colleague declined. "No sale".

    Our "public servants" stick their noses in far too much of our affairs.

  • Mandated reporters (brokerages and merchants alike) do not have a lot of discretion and can get in trouble if they do not follow thus and such. The Fido story sounds unusual and worth pursuing, if only for curiosity; I have found them usually to be forthcoming. I have done a fair amount of transferring b/w them and Merrill/BoA, without problem, though not with your regularity or I guess amounts and that 4-6-week short term. Being at or just under 10k is a known problem now. Your stories are about employees following perhaps ill-advised laws do sound interesting, possibly intrusive, hard to really tell. Like many people I do not know what a better balance would be. Things may be changing in some respects, for better or worse.
  • In a couple of cases, I personally withdrew $10k from a bank to take with me overseas. That is the travel limit. Both times the cashier asked what was the purpose of the money. I gave random answers like buying a car etc.

    Agree with Edmond. The amount hasn't been changed since the law was enacted. This guilty before proven innocent attitude of the law should have been declared unconstitutional. So much for the Supreme Court.

    This thread still has legs
  • edited May 2015
    Just when I thought this thread was DOA - some really good points - especially Edmond's above. Geez - I transfer IRA $$ all the time from custodian to custodian. Never dreamed that might constitute "structuring."

    The known (or reported) facts in the Hastert matter are puzzling in this regard:

    - He's not being prosecuted for the alleged sexual misconduct with a minor some 30 years ago.

    - Rather, he's being prosecuted for withdrawing his own money from his own bank accounts in a manner the government considers suspicious/illegal (and also for lying to the FBI about what he did with the money).

    That makes about as much sense as prosecuting a bank robber, not for the robbery, but for littering by tossing a cigarette butt on the ground while fleeing the bank.

    Are we about to witness another CNN Spectacular Celebrity Trial? I have to think a good lawyer like David Boies would have a field day with this case. Ahh ... He'll probably cop a plea.

  • edited May 2015
    JC, come on, you need cases to try to get to court-level argument. You have to argue harm and principle and all sorts of related. But I suspect you really know that and just want to take shots instead.

    It would be good for someone to file something, as with this civil forfeiture crap.

    Maybe the Hastert thing will aid some reform of transfers. With pols, the worry about corruption is high, rightly.

    The antepenultimate and penultimate paras here are on point and reasonable:

  • @davidmoran

    I think your Politico source says it very well:

    (Excerpt). "The fundamental problem in the Hastert case is simple: what, exactly, is the crime? As presented, the crime consists of a series of structured withdrawals supposedly designed to avoid a reporting duty, about which Hastert misled federal agents when they questioned him. This is not only extraordinarily thin gruel, it is also ripe for abuse. Keep in mind that the prostitution scandal that was manipulated by a Bush-era prosecutor to end the career of Eliot Spitzer was also triggered by similar bank payment reports."

    I can't help thinking that this revolves around some longstanding relationship he had which may have started out as teacher-student, but which continued long after. (Note that the blackmail attempts did not appear to begin until after he left political office - per Politico)

  • I had an experience similar to Edmond's. Opened an online banking account at tiaa direct (tiaa-cref) a few years ago and was transfering some of the money back to my local bank last year. After several electronic transfers of less than 10K over several weeks I received a call from a tiaa rep. He was demanding to know what I was doing with the money. I told him I was moving some of it back to my local bank. The rep was very persistent in asking his question but never gave a reason for asking. Now transfers are limited to a max of 5k per transfer out of the tiaa direct account.
  • Wow. If you do 5k every other day, say, for many days (say you need to xfer 133k), what happens, do you think? Any sense from the c/s guy mandated to get in touch with you and read from a script?
Sign In or Register to comment.