Consumer's Voice


I stand to be corrected if need be.

I get very irritated when I walk into a bank to deposit money and I am asked where I got the money from.

I find the question silly and I feel insulted.

I have been with the same bank for over six years but suddenly they ask me where I get the money I am saving.

Am sure this is the reason why you find some people keeping large sums of money in their homes.

Is it correct for banks to be asking this question?

I know this is frustrating but this isn’t actually the fault of the bank.

Banks in most countries are required by law to identify the source of significant quantities of money as part of the anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering rules.

Our banks are covered by the regulations issued by Bank of Botswana that demand this information.

They don’t have any choice.

However, I am skeptical. Surely a terrorist or crook is going to lie, that’s what people like that do all the time.

They’re experts at lying. They’re not going to suddenly confess that they stole it or that it’s the profit from a drugs sale, are they?

Even a moderately talented criminal will be able to forge documents suggesting that the money was legitimately obtained.

I also have to ask whether these regulations actually achieve anything.

Much of the money victims in Botswana paid to Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and simple scams like Eurextrade, TVI Express and Three Link Connection was paid through legitimate banking systems.

Did these questions help stop them stealing people’s money? No, they did not.

So the lesson is simple. Yes, the bank is required to ask you and yes, you are required to answer.

Truthfully. But be skeptical about whether they’re just wasting your time and theirs.

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