Iranian born college student, Saeed Moshfegh discovered that he could not access his Bank Of America account a few days ago. He knew he had plenty of money in his account, because he’d checked it shortly before the issues with his account occurred, yet his bank account was currently not accessible.
According to reporting by the Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald), Mosfegh immediately went to his local bank branch when he discovered the problems with his account. Mosfegh was told that the documentation he’d previously provided could not be accepted. The bank insisted he produce other documents to show proof of citizenship. Mosfegh says the documentation he’d previously provided was correct based on his current status as a “near graduation student.”
“This bank doesn’t know how the immigration system works, so they didn’t accept my document.” Mosfegh said.
Because his account was frozen, Mosfegh could not pay his rent or use his credit cards because they were suddenly rejected.
The Miami Herald reported that Mosfegh’s case is not unique. Bank Of America is being accused of freezing or threatening to freeze customers accounts all across the United States after asking about customers’ legal status. There are reports of the same type of thing happening to BOA customers in Tennessee, Kansas, and many other places across the country, sometimes happening to U.S. born customers.
Stephanie Collins, a spokesperson for the Office Of The Comptroller Of The Currency, said that proof of citizenship is not required to open a bank account in the United States. Banks are merely required to identify and report suspicious transactions and maintain and update customer information. She said banks have not received any new instructions to collect more information about customers.
BOA spokesperson Carla Molina said she could not comment on specific cases when pressed for answers by The Herald. She did however say, there had been no change in how BOA collects information from customers, including citizenship.