Who’s fooling who?

You would think that, after a number of years banking with an institution – putting money in every day, writing cheques, doing transfers, that sort of thing – that the institution would know who you were? Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

Apparently not.

Our foreign business is growing rapidly and we need to open a US$ bank account – while we can deposit US$ cheques to our sterling account, it’s expensive and it costs again when we want to pay suppliers in US$. Anyway, our sterling corporate bank account and one of the director’s personal bank accounts are at the same branch of a national bank. Have been for years. We just want to add a corporate US$ account to our accounts there.

No can do, says the Bank. Although we know you, we don’t know you – not for foreign currency accounts, anyway. So, here are some new forms for you to fill in and please, when you’ve filled in them in, we need all the officers and directors of the company to come into the branch, bringing their personal identification, and to identify themselves to the bank officials. We know you’ve got nothing else to do during the business day. It’s the Anti-Money Laundering regulations, you see.

Is that the same AML regulations that have enabled alleged terrorists to fund a series of aborted and actual atrocities?