Dual citizenship question makes local Bank of America customers feel targeted
BOA spokesperson says random checks are mandated
ORLANDO, Fla. – A local Bank of America customer said he felt like both he and his wife were being targeted because of their ethnicity after an online profile update asked him if he had dual U.S. citizenship.
Mickey Citron, a Bank of America customer since 2005, said the questions went from routine to unsettling when the dual-citizenship inquiry popped up on the second page.
“I felt like I was being targeted because of us being Hispanic," Citron said. “I felt attacked.”
Citron said the couple moved to Orlando from Brooklyn, New York 13 years ago, and opened accounts with a Bank of America Orlando branch.
“I’m like 'What are they talking about?'” Cintron said. “I told my wife I refuse to answer the question.”
Bank of America spokesperson Christopher Feeney said the request was within the company's standard protocol.
“All banks are required to maintain complete and accurate records for all of their customers; this is not unique to Bank of America and all of our customers are asked to provide the same information," Feeney said.
Feeney said customers are asked to provide information banks need to meet a variety of requirements, “including those related to anti-money-laundering and other programs administered by the U.S. Treasury and other government agencies.”
The American Bankers Association confirmed the security protocols.
“Banks of all sizes are required to collect a range of information about their customers to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 and ‘Know Your Customer’ standards," ABA spokesperson Blair Bernstein said. "Since 9/11, these strict regulatory requirements have steadily expanded to deter illicit activity within the U.S. financial system.”
According to Bernstein, banks have been required to “verify the identities of all customers and maintain updated and accurate customer information."
The Citrons said they will keep their accounts with the bank.
Twenty-four hours after News 6 inquired about the citizenship question it was removed from the Citron’s online account page.
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