One would think that to open a bank account in any country, in any bank, would be a very simple process and let’s be quite honest, a lot easier than obtaining a gun. Right?
Opening a bank account in todays turbulent financial times is a near on impossible task, without being made to feel like a criminal. It used to be so easy. You could walk into any high street bank, check or cash in hand, tell the lady or the man at the other side of the counter that you wanted a checking account in your own name, and within ten minutes, Hey Presto, you left that bank, feeling like a millionaire, and feeling like you had just been welcomed into society with open arms. Remember the first time you wrote a check? Remember using your bank ATM card just to take out $5, ensuring that it worked correctly? Yes, all these niceties were in the not too distant past, but today, things are just so completely different, and so very frustrating. Case in point.
A recent trip to a very well-known high street bank here in the USA. Word for word conversation from the moment I walked in the door. The bank itself was situated in my local town, sandwiched in between three other well-known banks, all within 200 yards of each other. I had been in this branch once before, about ten years ago, and at that time, like most banks here in America, the tellers sat behind counters, all open plan, so, you can imagine my surprise when I entered that bank and all the tellers were enclosed behind some kind of plexi-glass screen, just like monkey’s in a zoo. It was an astonishing sight, and one that reeked of,’we’ve been robbed several times and are so pissed off, we need to do something about it” After getting over my initial shock of seeing these poor people caged up like animals, and obviously showing my surprise by my facial expressions, I was approached at the door by a concierge of sorts. She was wearing a brightly colored, red and yellow low-cut, summer dress and a very broad Hollywood smile. Her hair was picture perfect, her teeth, freshly brushed and so obviously whitened, and her make up was so over the top, I couldn’t determine if she was 50, 60 or 70 years old. I would have needed a chisel to dig deeper into this ladies DNA. She was however, very friendly, and as she approached me, my recollections of my Gun shop experience suddenly, and for some strange reason, returned briefly into memory. I think it was the plexi-glass and the stench of old gun smoke from previous robberies that got my attention.
“Can I help you sir?” She had interrupted my very quick and deliberate stride.
“Eh, yes, I’m sure you can” I replied. “I would like to open an account today”
“Oh no problem, you will need to talk to one of these two gentlemen” and as she said that, she pointed to the other side of the bank where three desks and some comfy looking chairs were spread out like a lounge bar in an overly expensive home, would be. There were two men, dressed in nice suits, both with clients at their desks, just waiting to accept my new account, or so I thought, and the nice lady in the summer dress ushered me over to the comfy chairs and asked me to be patient, take a seat and wait.
I waited, and waited and waited and after what seemed like an eternity, I was summoned to take a seat by a desk, manned by a gentlemen named Brian. His title, emblazoned next to the bank logo, in bright orange, read, ‘Client Account Manager’. His demeanor read, ‘I have just had a really nice lunch’ I sat, we shook and I spoke.
“Brian, I would like to open an account at your bank please”
“Yes, Alan, what kind of account?”
“OK, and how will you be funding that account?”
“With this check Brian” And as I brought out my crisp, newly written check, flashed it in front of his face, and waited for the applause to arrive, he immediately stood up and said, “Well before we get to that part, there are some forms we need you to fill out please”
“Certainly Brian, how many and where are they?”
Brian, who by now was off talking to someone else, a lady, also waiting on the comfy seats, reassuring her that he would be with her in just a few minutes, was seemingly not too excited about the prospect of my opening an account at his branch. His lack of enthusiasm and determination to assist others, while I waited at his desk, a certain give away, that I, his immediate concern, was not too much of a concern at all. I felt that I had been discarded in favor of a blond who had bigger tits than me and obviously more clout at this branch, going by the way Brian was now all over her cleavage and her 3 carat diamond engagement ring. Perhaps she just oozed money, whilst I, in my track suit and sneakers, just read, ‘proverbial pain in the arse’ Anyway, I couldn’t blame him, she was far more attractive than me and by her looks, a lot richer, although as we all know, looks are often deceiving. Brian arrived back at his desk with enough forms to suggest that 4 trees had died in vein, just to let me open my account. And then the fun began.
“I need to see your drivers licence and one other form of Government ID please”
“I only have a drivers licence, nothing else”
“How about a credit card?”
“Is that a form of government ID?” I was being terribly awkward, and already very frustrated by this farcical attempt at proving red tape rules in the new world we live in.
“It will do for now” he said.
“Here’s my Amex”
“Oh, that won’t work. They don’t report to any credit agencies”
“Hang on Brian, I am not here for credit, I am here to deposit money, my money, in your bank”
“Yes, I know, but we need to make sure you are who you are”
“Well if I’m not who I am then who am I?” Things were beginning to heat up.
“We are bound by rules and regulations and I have to see a credit card, and one that reports to the credit agencies. Do you have a Visa or MasterCard?”
“I have a Visa, but this is stupid. I am here to put money into your bank and you don’t want to take it?”
“Believe me, we want it. Start on this page..” he took out the wad of papers he’d brought to his desk, and offered me the pile in a set order,..”then go through these and when you’re done, give me a shout and I will finish off the process. In the meantime, please take a seat over there,” and he pointed to the comfy chairs, “..while I help that lady..”, and he pointed to the large boobed, diamond ring wearing, rich bitch, “and I will be back with you when you call me”
“What about the Visa?”
“Just fill the paper work out then we can take a look at that”
By now, I felt that I was being kicked out in favor of beauty and wealth and when I moved to the comfy chairs, I took a look at all the paper work and realized, immediately, that it had been so much easier to purchase a gun, than it was to open a bank account. Can you imagine how difficult it must be to borrow money, rather than to deposit?
And so, with all the sadness that has surrounded Newtown and the tragedy that is Sandy Hook, one has to question where our priorities lie? Is it common sense to let anyone and everyone who can read a stupid little book in five quick minutes, access to weaponry that can kill and mame? Does it make any sense at all to insist that 40 pages of paper work are required before money can be deposited in a bank account? Our society is completely insane. There are simple background checks carried out on people who purchase guns, but to open a bank account, the FBI, the CIA and Homeland Security, have to make sure that the money you deposit is your money and not laundered money. It’s all backwards. Someone in government screwed up big time when these rules and regulations came into force and look where we are today. 20 innocent kids and 6 adults, dead, and this tragedy, the tip of an ever-expanding problem that is dogging a country suffocating under it’s own madness.
I hope what I have said makes a little sense to anyone who has taken the time to read these last two blogs. I am done for the year, perhaps for good, since my words mean so little to those who believe they mean so much.
Have a happy holiday period and a very healthy and prosperous New Year, and remember, when you open your next bank account, take your gun license with you, it IS another form of government ID after all!