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No Cashing or Deposit because of Patriot Act?

I attempted to cash a two party check, and was told that they could not legally do this as the original payee did not have an account with them. I attempted to deposit the item and this was refused for the same reason. I was told that the patriot act prohibited this and that there had to be a trackable SSN for the payee on the account for the government to allow the transaction. I have banked here for ten years and have several times over the amount of the check on deposit, so resourse was not the issue. Are they right?

The USA PATRIOT Acthas been offered up as the excuse for a lot of things, but this excuse is a first. Virtually everything you were told is pure baloney. The USA PATRIOT Act has no such requirements.

The bank is perfectly within its rights to refuse to cash a check like the one you've described, and many banks have policies that don't allow it because of the added risk to the bank presented by an endorsement that the bank cannot verify. For the record, the government also does not tell banks which checks they can or cannot accept.

For some reason, some people have a problem looking a customer in the eye and simply saying, "I am sorry. Our policy will not permit me to do that for you.... Yes , you can speak with Ms. Smith, our office manager, if you'd like more information. Please have a seat and I will tell her you are waiting for her." Instead they look for an excuse that might sound plausible. The USA PATRIOT Act gets used as an excuse too often. Speak with the branch manager and ask if the bank will accept the check for deposit if you can get the other party to come with you to document his or her identity and authenticate the signature.

Published on 10/13/09