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New Bank Account Horror story

Posted By: BZ4me

New Bank Account Horror story - 05/12/12 10:25 PM

Since this is the “Crap Site” I need to vent this somewhere beside in my head and the bottle of tequila I’m drinking, so here goes.

I have been trying to open a personal bank account with Atlantic all week. I received all the forms and thought I had filled them out completely down to answering the questions on the “Anticipated Activity for New Accounts”:

4. Expected Monthly Deposits to account: Unknown
5. Expected Annual Deposits to account: Unknown
7. Detailed description of customer’s business: Retired

They are all notarized and I went ahead and got a cashier’s check ready to be FedEx down to the officer I’m working with. I scanned then to him yesterday afternoon and requested a street address so that I could send down all of the originals and that the scanned copies would only be a heads up to him. I get a call yesterday telling me he can’t read my scanned in passport that is looks like a copy and the notary isn’t clear. The answers to 4 and 5 must be a dollar amount and if they vary at all, the bank will need, in writing, proof as to why they are not the same. As for #7, he needs a complete work history for the last 10 years including all the part time secretary positions I have done in the last 2 years.

Now for the letters of requirements: My bank officer had written a letter regarding my character and the bank manager wrote a letter regarding my banking history. The Atlantic officer would not accept the character letter because it came from the same bank. I explained that this person and I have a personal relationship outside of the bank but he didn’t care, it was on the same letterhead and to him that is all that mattered. He said to get a letter from my Dr. but I work with Kaiser and I had called them and my personal doctor is out of town on holiday until June 4th. After talking to them though, they would not have allowed her to give a letter to me anyway. I tried to explain to him that I work with an HMO (Health Management Org.) but he didn’t understand. I told him my accountant is out of town until the 25th of May as he always leaves April 24th when the tax season is over and doesn’t return for 30 days. Again, he didn’t care and only kept saying “these are the rules and you must abide by them.”

I closed on my condo, which is rented at the present time, and only need to deposit the rent in Belize, that’s all I need to do. The Property Managers that are handling the condo for me needs somewhere to put my funds. I did get a hold of them last night and after hearing the frustration in my voice they are going to see what they can do on Monday. They tell me not to worry that they will figure out something for me. They tell me they have handled others who live in the States with getting an account open and that they will help me too. Thank God for them since I seem to have hit the wall at Atlantic.

I hear all about off shore banking and how people hide funds, I'm not trying to hide anything. I just want to make a deposit of rental fund from AC.

Thanks for having this site, I just needed to get this out of my head.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/12/12 11:02 PM

Property management companies can open an account for you and you can be a signatory.

If it helps make you feel any better I opened an account in the UK and to.d them my husband would be by in a few weeks to be added to the account. No problem. Then he opened an account in another bank and after 3 personal visits I gave up trying to be added to his account. My Mom had the same problem and can't be added to my Dad's account.

Banking sucks just about anywhere in the free world any more. Thank you terrorists.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/12/12 11:19 PM

Not the terrorists. It's the US War on Drugs! And IRS attempts to collect taxes from the offshore bank accounts.
Posted By: ckocian

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/12/12 11:49 PM

It's also to prevent money from flowing to terrorist orgs through random banks.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 12:06 AM

So that explains why the US IRS and DEA are running the show?
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 01:07 AM

Yes terrorists and the US. I just didn't want to say it. The US Rico act and a number of new rules and regulations are making it tougher to cooperate. We are going to move back to trading gold coins and beads and bartering soon to avoid the banking system altogether.
Posted By: ron

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 01:33 AM

Lots of people are already trading gold coins. Have you ever tried packing $10,000 in gold coins? Baggage way over weight.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 01:35 AM

You are sooo wrong there Ron...$10,000 weighs about 6 1/4 ounces at today's spot price!
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 02:25 AM

Yep, gold doesn't weigh that much vs value these days.
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 03:30 AM

Gold ? Did someone mention Gold ?
Posted By: Rykat

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 04:43 AM

Originally Posted by ron
Lots of people are already trading gold coins. Have you ever tried packing $10,000 in gold coins? Baggage way over weight.


WTF????? laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh Guess he meant copper???? grin
Posted By: JdeVerteuil

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 08:04 AM

If you need a letter from someone as a character witness let me know I will write you one. Not like Atlantic or any other organization would know that I have no clue who you are. smile Just saying it seems a little silly for a bank to require a letter for character when they are one of the reasons for the current financial crisis. You should ask them for a letter to vouch their character as well, and get a note from their doctor saying that they are in fact healthy. While we are at it lets get banks to also submit a true cost of any mortgage we apply for. Oh wait that is a little much to ask someone to do their job. OOPS my bad.
Posted By: ron

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/13/12 02:35 PM

oops, my bad. Just goes to show how much faith you can put in advice on a message board, especially from me.
Posted By: BZ4me

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/14/12 02:28 AM

Thanks to you all for making me feel better, I got out of bed Saturday afternoon around 1pm with a headache from hell and then had two showings on my home for sale here in CO. Today I thought since it was Mothers Day we would get a break from showing but no such luck. I'm glad for the showing cuz they kept my mind off of this subject. Then I thought I would get my smile for the day and come to the form. All of your advise and smiles let me know I'm doing the right thing. Monday is a new day and I'll take your advise and hand it over to the PM. I've been talking to a custom agent and the stories he has been telling me would be great for writing a book but instead I've learned I'm going to have to learn to work around the "system." He has given me a few good ways to handle getting around a checking account until I get there. Even then I'll think twice about it.
Posted By: BZ4me

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/14/12 02:32 AM

Great advise I'll do this.
Posted By: BZ4me

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/14/12 02:46 AM

Originally Posted by SP Daily
Not the terrorists. It's the US War on Drugs! And IRS attempts to collect taxes from the offshore bank accounts.


You have brought up a subject I would like to learn more about since I'm going to be in the thick of it just like a lot of Expat.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/14/12 01:17 PM

Just have to mention that setting up a Belizean bank account as a foreigner is infinitely easier than setting up a USA bank account as a foreigner. In the USA the process stops at the 'what is your social security number' question.
Posted By: ragman

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/14/12 02:27 PM

First off I would view the PM solution as a short term fix while you get your account straightened out. It was good advice for your immediate needs but you will need an account in your own name only. Maybe you need both accounts?

SW, the best general advice I can give you is to have patience; learn to just shrug your shoulders and not let these things bother you because what you are going through will be revisited often when you try to do the simplest things but especially when dealing with any government agency. With the banks it is government regulation they are trying to work with I believe.

I have a type A personality and my wife is laid back but I learned quickly when I moved to Belize to just smile and shrug my shoulders. It is counterproductive to act otherwise in most cases. I actually have to rein in my wife in Belize. I like to think I have the system figured out down there and that I get the best results possible. Back in the States where I am at the moment my wife and I swap roles and I’m the one who gets upset and short with some people.

Your bank problems will work out. You will learn to accept the system and never, never fill out a form with unknown or NA. Just give them an answer and don’t try to be too perfect with your answers. Remember, honest (mostly) perfect (no) smile (yes). Always start a conversation with a greeting or conversation that isn’t about the meat of the matter, so to speak. Go in with low expectations and most of the time you will not be disappointed. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised.

Belizeans are great people who do not react well to foreigners who are demanding and rude. (not saying you where, just future advice) The pace down here is a little different, the urgency not so much, thank God. The rewards for living here are priceless. Good luck, everything will work out if you have done your homework and you will love it living here. For the inconveniences that you find I have always found a way to work around them to make it work out somehow. Life is full of compromises and down here there are a few more than you are probably use to.

Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/14/12 05:19 PM

The first thing I did was open an account for US dollars at Provident Bank. They are worldwide; even had a branch in New York until the US told then they had to disclose all accounts (or something like that). One of the question is "do you have a bank account in Belize) The honest answer was ‘no’. I did this prior to moving here, when I was just coming for extended periods of time.
AFTER I moved here full time I opened an account at Alliance Bank that is now Heritage. I had a print out of the requirements for opening an account and made sure I had all the necessary papers. My US police department was stumped and I explained all they needed to do was say I was not wanted anyplace.
I have had excellent service from them. Heritage is now allied with Provident so I have signed the papers so that if I am ever overdrawn they will simply transfer money from my Provident account.
You have had very good advice – smile – call each of them by name – they will all remember your name – and ask ‘what do you want me to do>” This is a beautiful place.
Posted By: klcman

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/14/12 11:11 PM

Originally Posted by Rigrat
Just have to mention that setting up a Belizean bank account as a foreigner is infinitely easier than setting up a USA bank account as a foreigner. In the USA the process stops at the 'what is your social security number' question.


Not certain that is 100% accurate. Every year I have several international students set up bank accounts and none of them have a SS #. Of course,they were setting up non-interest bearing checking accounts w/debit cards, so there was not going to be any 1099 year end activity.
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/15/12 01:31 AM

I bought a pair of shoes for 10.99 but they hurt my feet.
Posted By: BZ4me

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/17/12 06:52 AM

Originally Posted by ragman
First off I would view the PM solution as a short term fix while you get your account straightened out. It was good advice for your immediate needs but you will need an account in your own name only. Maybe you need both accounts?

SW, the best general advice I can give you is to have patience; learn to just shrug your shoulders and not let these things bother you because what you are going through will be revisited often when you try to do the simplest things but especially when dealing with any government agency. With the banks it is government regulation they are trying to work with I believe.

I have a type A personality and my wife is laid back but I learned quickly when I moved to Belize to just smile and shrug my shoulders. It is counterproductive to act otherwise in most cases. I actually have to rein in my wife in Belize. I like to think I have the system figured out down there and that I get the best results possible. Back in the States where I am at the moment my wife and I swap roles and I’m the one who gets upset and short with some people.

Your bank problems will work out. You will learn to accept the system and never, never fill out a form with unknown or NA. Just give them an answer and don’t try to be too perfect with your answers. Remember, honest (mostly) perfect (no) smile (yes). Always start a conversation with a greeting or conversation that isn’t about the meat of the matter, so to speak. Go in with low expectations and most of the time you will not be disappointed. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised.

Belizeans are great people who do not react well to foreigners who are demanding and rude. (not saying you where, just future advice) The pace down here is a little different, the urgency not so much, thank God. The rewards for living here are priceless. Good luck, everything will work out if you have done your homework and you will love it living here. For the inconveniences that you find I have always found a way to work around them to make it work out somehow. Life is full of compromises and down here there are a few more than you are probably use to.

I've heard from my PM and we've figured out a way to make this work for now. Thank you for your advise. I too am a Type A and my husband is the slow talkin' cowboy so I relate completely. I'm going to wait until we arrive to handle this issue in person.
Posted By: t42

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/29/12 03:43 PM

Not sure why the bank is at fault with you not filling out the form properly. Frustration is when you enter the US and Immigration insists on knowing where you plan to stay and the street address WTF? Why should I have to book a room etc before I enter the country and no I don't want to lie.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/29/12 04:41 PM

When we fill in the immigration form to enter the US I put "hotel", Miami, Florida. It seems to work.
Posted By: seashell

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 05/29/12 08:56 PM

They've gotten better about accepting that info, but it used to be even if I gave the correct name of the hotel, I also had to have the full street address. Eventually, I just started to make up the street address portion . . . after all, anyone can make a mistake like that, right?
Posted By: midwesterner

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 06/01/12 02:10 AM

I went to Atlantic Bank in Caye Caulker to deposit cash and get a debit card. They wouldn't take the cash & wanted all of the information that you had to deal wit. I said the hell with them. There is currently no charge to use their ATM, so i just forgot about banking there.
Posted By: BZ4me

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 06/01/12 02:27 AM

I've taken all to my advisers here in the US and have learned some interesting facts about the banking system in Belize. I'm with you in deciding on keeping my funds in the US and just using the ATM's there. Until they get a few more years under their belts and funds stop missing I think I'll stay with the greedy bunch up here. I was told by one of the Bank officers that if I wanted to see an fiscal report I could view it on line. So I gave the link to my guys and they had a great laugh, guess it wasn't anything more than a charity log and no detail on how their funds are handled or how they are managed.
Posted By: seashell

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 06/01/12 04:50 AM

Um, a bank asking for charity? Or asking for pledges to some other charity?
Posted By: Bear

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 06/01/12 07:24 AM

A comment on bank accounts; It took a while, but with a letter from my CPA , letter from my bank, scanned passports submitted by my property manager, I now have a checking account and a savings account w/ debit card. I hold these all in my own name. Doing so avoids additional inquiries to my property manager that could cause embarrassment and more pointed questions from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) were the accounts held solely in our property manager's name. Fortunately some recent policy guidance provided relief to individuals who have signatory power over accounts but no financial interest. Personally I'd rather the inquiries not even get that far along for the sake of my property manager who may, unknowingly, have less scrupulous clients. With the accounts in my name the buck stops here.

FBAR reporting has been required for some time but more teeth were put into its enforcemennt following the current administrations interest in offshore accounts held by US nataionals. Although money laundering for drugs/terrorists is certainly a concern of recent Federal laws, Jesse ia absolutely correct about the the administration's interest in extracting money from US Nationals sheltering income in offshore banks.

IRS Crows about Offshore Programs

I'll simply say, if you have more than 10K$ US, aggregated, at any one (instant in) time you are required to file an FBAR with the US Treasury on all accounts by June 15th of each year. FBAR is not an IRS document but a US Treasury form that is intended to be readily accessible to a multitude of federal agencies and of course the IRS. The majority of requests to access FBAR form information has been made by, of course, the IRS. The other agencies of course have their own obvious uses for this "tool", but the IRS seems to be the one most interested. You can thank FACTA for all this, and the current adminstration for pushing it through and being aggressive about pursuing the issues.

You can also stand in awe and thank little old Belize for telling the US and others to f@ckoff when it comes to giving up bank information, this in the face of Switzerland, that bastion of private accounts, capitulating to US pressure in the past few years. WTG Belize Central Bank
Posted By: BZ4me

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 06/01/12 01:54 PM

WOW, thanks for the info. I'm going to copy all of this and e-mail to my guys just in case they are not as informed as you two are. I only wish I was as wealthy as the guy eyelvebelize. I'm just an old working class lady with only my SS and 401K to live out the rest of my life on. No kids to support this one.
Posted By: Bear

Re: New Bank Account Horror story - 06/01/12 03:23 PM

Given those assets I'd simply say manage your Belize accounts below reporting threshold you've nothing to do but enjoy yourself. Rags' comments are priceless, words to live by.
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