Gilbert Index

The Right To Bear Bank Accounts

Close-up of a grizzly bear's head in Saguenay, Canada

Imagine your bank closed your checking account. Kicked you out. Said, “we no longer want you as a customer.”

What would you do?

You’d probably first ask: “why are you closing my account?”

To which, the bank might respond: “We’re under no obligation to provide a reason. We can close your account at any time and for any reason, terms you agreed to when you opened up your account. This is clearly stated in the account agreement. Duh.”

In the United States, where I’m from, banks can actually do this.

I know someone who had a checking account with Charles Schwab. Schwab sent the person a letter stating that Schwab is exercising its right to close down the account in a month. The guy called to find out why, but the emotionless Schwab rep reiterated something along the lines of: “We can close your account at any time and for any reason, terms you agreed to when you opened up your account. This is clearly stated in the account agreement. Duh.

Banks can discriminate against you, and don’t have to prove it. Unless you try to sue. Which banks know you probably won’t do because you’re busy and have things to do.

So you’re kicked out. Left without a bank account. What do you do? You’ve asked why and got bupkis for an answer.

Next, I assume you’d go to another bank and open up a new account. No problem.

But let’s take this ride to its logical conclusion:

If banks can drop you as a customer for any reason they please, what would you do if every bank you were to go to closes down your account? What would you do if banks collectively said, “thanks, but we do not want to hold onto your money in our money safes?”

Uhhhh.

The logical conclusion is: there’s no such thing as a right to own a bank account, checking or savings. Which means, you, as an individual, have no legal right to a secure, safe place for your monies.

That seems like a problem because keeping your money hidden under your bed or somewhere else is a risky enterprise. Ask an owner of a cannabis business about the risks and costs of not having access to a bank account.

Banks suck in many ways. They lie, cheat, and destroy lives. They also lie, cheat, and destroy lives. And by the way they lie, cheat, and destroy lives.

But in one specific way, banks serve an important role. And that role is, providing a safe and secure home for your money. Something you might take for granted. And something you don’t have a right to.

Which means, banks have the power to determine who deserves to be banked and who doesn’t.

That should change.

If you have a right to bear arms, you should have a right to bear a bank account.

In the meantime, make sure you have multiple checking and savings accounts open because this reduces the downside of any one bank closing your account.

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash.

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