Patriot Act Goes Into Effect in Banks Today

Have you been thinking of opening a new bank account? You may wish you had done it yesterday. The Patriot Act kicks in at banks today and banks will be requesting a lot more information from customers opening new accounts. Details are available here.

For existing account holders, banks will be on the lookout for suspicious transactions. Should they find and report one, they are not allowed to tell you. You might just find your account frozen with no explanation.

Krista Shonk, regulatory specialist with America's Community Bankers, says ....banks will continue to check all customers against a list of known terrorists and money launderers that's issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, but she adds that there is some concern about a list generated by law enforcement agencies of people who are merely suspects.

While the new rules will be expensive for the banks, particularly small ones, they are not cost-free to you, the customer. For example, the cost of opening a new checking account is expected to jump from $7.75 to an estimated $22.

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