October 21, 2019

Chris’ Corner: Banks “draconian new procedures”


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By Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

With the advent of all the anti money laundering laws enacted over the years, banks have introduced draconian new procedures which are so contrary to public interest that customers are reeling. As a professional having dealt with local banks for over fifty years I am appalled at their lack of concern for their customers. They have introduced measures which go well beyond of the normal incurring huge time and costs to the business community. Their emigration to Camana Bay and closure of branches has added to the problems confronting all customers, business and ordinary folk alike. Of course all these tiring additional procedures result in additional costs and guess who is paying for that. On the other hand make a deposit and receive an annual return of 0.002 % per annum.

Gone are the old days when your friendly manager was Mr Neil, Mr Nick, Mr Eric or our own man, Mr Harry. In fact I always called it Harry’s Bank where you would get the Royal treatment. Gone too are all those wonderful Christmas parties the banks held to give back to the community. Oh happy days. 

I am always fascinated when asked to produce evidence by way of a utility bill, passport and driving licence to prove I exist. This is considerable worry as within a few years, I may not be driving and likely to be enjoying a rest at the Pines or Jasmine with little thought of travel. So without a utility bill, no driving licence or passport, how do I convince the banks that I exist and do not provide laundering services. Moreover this is not to be taken lightly as I am sure there are many aged residents having difficulties meeting due diligence procedures. 

Do we give our money to trusted family members or friends or resort to old fashioned money boxes and trunks. Already the aged are faced with online banking challenges which is great for those who can handle them. How with they and I, in due course, cope with such challenges.

We refer to a cashless society but in effect the banks are driving all of us to a Cash Society. Businesses and ordinary folk are actually holding on the cash as they face lost days at the counters trying to find tellers. Any spare cash coming my way goes straight to my wife to save her wasting a morning at the bank, having found a suitable to park, or even find a ATM.

Where is it all going ? Well a bit like the old mobile library that Cayman had. We need fresh horses and staging posts with water along the trails to West Bay, East End and North Side. Hurleys could experience serious delays. Your bank of choice will be Wells Fargo who will provide your banking facilities, whether it be cash or gold (no need to go to the airport for the gold), none of this online BS. It would provide jobs to many and be of benefit to the tourist industry as well as providing free fertilizer to all along the trail. Of course security might be required but who better than our very own Royal Caymanian Mounted Police who can monitor the saloons along the way. 

About the author:

Chris Johnson is a well known accountant who headed PWC and its predecessor firm, Coopers and Lybrand, for 31 years, before starting his Insolvency firm, Chris Johnson Associates Ltd. He has been involved with Rotary for over forty years having held numerous positions including those of President, Secretary and Treasurer. He is well known for his contributions to sport including Tennis, Cricket, Field Hockey and Football, and was a founding member of Cayman Islands Divers. 
In recent years he has taken up the role of writer and does not mince his words when addressing the media. 

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  1. Michael carney says:

    Nicely put, Chris.


  2. Neil Cruickshank says:

    Chris, one thing you omitted to mention is the banks ripping us all off with their usury exchange rate.
    82 cents (80c cash) to buy 84 cents to sell
    When I was the manager of RBC in the 60’s the rate was about 1/2 of one percent.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Interesting you mentioned currency. I wanted 1500 pounds in cash and although your old bank had them RBC would only give me 500 and told me to return the following week for more. I did that and again they would only give me 500. What kind of bank is that?
      Another bank that handles my credit card will not allow me to pay more than the account balance even though I am about to go on vacation!
      The old days were cool and banks were highly respected. Alas no more.

  3. Janice Elvins says:

    Good article.

    I am suffering from multiple I.D. checking for estate agent and conveyancer as we speak.

    The conveyancer also wants 3 months bank accounts evidence and if there are any ‘unusual’ amounts they say they will investigate. Makes you feel like a criminal.

    Just to by a house. All very stressful.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Shabnam Alibhai says:

    Very well out. And spot on. Feel bad for older people who are not internet familiar to have to go online banking. Uk’s is introducing the same insane procedure with the post office and cashless nonsense

  5. Wayne Cowan says:

    Great comments Chris. What is happening with the banking system here is absolutely draconian

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