Have the lunatics taken over the Alliance & Leicester?

My wife has a current account with Alliance & Leicester Girobank which she opened for reasons of convenience some years ago. Small amount were paid into the account from time to time, and it was used as a convenient way to draw out small amounts of cash from the local post office. No transactions have been made in or out of the account since 2002 and the balance stands at little over £1200.
She has decided that the account is no longer wanted and as it pays no interest on credit balances she wrote to the A & L to ask them to close it and transfer the balance to our joint current account with another bank, giving the sort code and account number.
A & L have responded with a letter saying that they are "unable to deal with your request at present due to Government regulations that apply to all banks which are designed to prevent money laundering. Before your request can be finalised I must have acceptable proof of your identity."
Have the loonies finally won?
Reply to
SidB

Yes. I have kept an account at abbey for twenty plus years, the account is always in use for all my banking. I recently applied for a savings account online, I was surprised that they sent me forms to sign and they asked for cheque deposit, rather than transfer, but I signed and sent. A few days later my cheque (drawn on abbey) is sent back, along with the forms, asking for proof of my address (the same address for last 25 years), since they send me stuff to that address they already know it is mine, the cheque from them has come and gone to that same address, so what further proof can they need. In addition the entire letter was full of misspellings and terrible grammar, so I wrote a few suitable comments and returned it to head office. I then went on line to EGG (where I have a credit card) and instantly opened a savings account and made the transfer from my abbey account also instantly. So if egg can do it why cant abbey?
mrcheerful
Reply to
mrcheerful

Yes, AL are the most incompetent bank I've come across. The strange thing is that I own shares in them (not from floatation) which have done well and yield a good dividend. So I suspect that they do a good job of keeping costs down, which leads to the incompetence, but enables them to churn out good profits.
Daytona
Reply to
Daytona
wrote:
I suspect this may have something to do with the recently tightened money-laundering rules. At one time, only new customers of banks were required to supply proof of identification/address. Existing customers who had opened accounts before the rules came into force were allowed to continue to operate their accounts.
That was changed a couple of years ago, and banks were required to go back and verify the identity of all their old customers as well. Obviously that was a fairly hefty exercise, and I think they were allowed to carry out this over a period of time. It was probably the fact that you wanted to close the account that sparked their attention.
I've had an account with HSBC for around 20 years now and last year, out of the blue, they send me a letter asking for proof of address and a copy of my passport.
Chris
Reply to
Chris Blunt
I had pretty much the same treatment. The real odd thing is that you can get a new credit card with no proof of identity what so ever - its only those wanting to save up money that get the inquisition. Bizarre.
Geoff
Reply to
Geoff
What did you do? Why not ignore it? When you opened the account 20 years ago, did you have to provide any ID at all?
It is worth noting that when I opened my smile account in 1999, they did not require ID; same with egg. I guess they did everything through credit reference agencies and the electoral roll. Does anyone know if this is the case today, or are they forced to ask for ID?
Reply to
Big Squidger
"Big Squidger" wrote
The latter. New money laundering regs came in in 2003. If you're borrowing you're just a credit risk so it's their problem if you turn out to be a wrong 'un. If you're depositing large sums you're a money laundering risk and banks now have to check that you are who you say you are. If they fail to do so, staff and managers can be jailed. They seem to have decided individually what they need to do to establish this, and to have come up with different answers. Some high street banks seem to be more zealous than others when it comes to this.
In effect, just as businesses were made into unpaid tax collectors by the introduction of VAT, they've been made into unpaid anti-terrorist agencies by the money laundering act.
Reply to
John Redman
wrote:
I sent them a copy of my passport, as they asked. Why would I not want to help them comply with the rules? They hadn't asked for any ID when the account was opened.
Chris
Reply to
Chris Blunt
I've had an account with a particular bank for nearly 20 years now, and they haven't required any ID checks - at least not in the last decade.
I'd seriously consider closing the account if my bank asked me for that now!
Reply to
Tim
Don't worry, if you refuse to provide the proof of ID I'm sure the bank will close the account for you without any need for further action from you.
Its hardly the banks fault they have a duty to 'know their customer' and request identification of new and existing customers.
If you have a problem with it you should have complained to your MP *BEFORE* it was made law rather than wasting your time complaining to your bank.
Peter
Reply to
peter.king
Like who for example? I think it was Birmingham Midshires who I once noticed demanded something like 4 pieces of ID!
Reply to
Zeddi
wrote
Who said I am (/would be) *complaining* to the bank?
I simply couldn't be arsed to mess about providing ID for an account which I can easily do without...
Reply to
Tim
"Zeddi" wrote
AIUI, they are supposed to obtain proof of identity and proof of address. What they'll settle for by way of proof seems to be a matter of individual discretion. I wasn't asked for any such proof when I opened 3 building society savings accounts recently but when I borrowed money (mortgage) I had to come up with about 4 separate docs...
Reply to
John Redman
interesting sign in the car showroom I visited today. They won't accept any more than 7,500 pounds in cash for payments due to money laundering regs.
mrcheerful
Reply to
mrcheerful
wrote:
Why mess around for small sums. They could easily say you dont need to provide proof for accounts with small cash flows but once there is a certain level of large activity the account is frozen until proof of ID is provided.
Reply to
Peter Saxton
Because the idea of being able to open lots of accounts with no ID and feed cash into them below a trigger limit and get a cheque back is a money launders wet dream?
Peter
Reply to
peter.king

I've had that 6 months ago with Bank of Scotland, after being with them for a number of years. I ignored it, and haven't heard since.
These people are complete and utter tossers. They do need to comply with some ML regs but most of them go over the top. I walk away from any outfit that does this, as a matter of principle.
Reply to
John-Smith

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