Black: Guess Which Bank Just Froze My Funds Over A Simple Transfer

Authored by Simon Black via,

What I’m about to tell you is a true story that highlights just how pathetic the banking system has become.

A few months ago I was presented with a compelling opportunity to invest with a prominent, well-established private business based in the UK.

And, after extensive due diligence, I decided to make the investment... around $4 million.

Because this particular investment happened to be denominated in US dollars, though, the funds were routed through the United States via one of the major Wall Street banks.

We’ve talked about this before– the vast majority of global trade and commerce is denominated in US dollars and clears through the US banking system.

As an example, the agriculture company that I founded in Chile a few years ago is rapidly becoming one of the largest blueberry producers in the world.

We sold blueberries to a big wholesaler in Ireland this season - and they paid us in US dollars. Their payment was routed from their bank in Ireland, through the US banking system, to our bank in Chile.

Nothing about that deal had anything to do with the United States. But regardless, the money still had to pass through a US bank. And that’s how the global financial system has functioned for 70+ years.

Yet over the past decade, banks in the US have really started to abuse their status as critical financial intermediaries.

A big part of this is because banks are under intense pressure from the federal government to stamp out money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, and any criminal activity they can find.

These are reasonable objectives to pursue… but their execution has been dismal.

Unable to tell for certain whether that $5,000 wire transfer to Aunt Sally was for legitimate purposes or part of some grand tax evasion scheme, banks have defaulted to being suspicious of everyone and everything.

Deposit or withdraw a few thousand dollars in cash to/from your own account? Suspicious.

Make an investment in a private business they’ve never heard of? Suspicious.

Transfer funds to an account overseas? Suspicious.

Raise money from investors to launch a new business? Suspicious.

In my case the bank thought sending money to the UK was suspicious; apparently these guys think London is the hotbed of financial terrorism.

(I’d rather not say exactly which bank was giving us so much trouble since they’re basically all the same… but to give you a hint, the name begins with “Wells” and ends with “Fargo.”)

That’s the part that really gets me.

It’s not like the money was being sent to ISIS in Syria or Jihadis-R-Us in Afghanistan.

This transfer was coming from an impeccable source and going to a well-established, regulated business in one of the most advanced countries in the world.

It would have taken a five-year old about 30 seconds to Google everything and realize, “Oh right, this all makes sense.”

Yet instead some munchkin-brain in the bank’s compliance department decided he “wasn’t comfortable with the transfer” (as we were told).

And so, without any actual reason or evidence, Mr. Rock Star Compliance Guy denied a perfectly legitimate transaction. And then, just to be extra certain that he was saving the world, froze the funds.

I had to put one of my staff on a plane and fly her 8 hours to the United States just to get the money unstuck… a completely ridiculous waste of time and money.

It’s one thing to be vigilant against terrorism. It’s entirely another to constantly work against your own customers without exercising any common sense or basic professionalism.

It didn’t used to be this way. There once was a time when bankers were sophisticated business people and shrewd investors who understood the needs of commerce… and the customer.

But banks are no longer run by bankers. They’re run by oblivious bureaucrats who scrutinize every transaction looking for any excuse to say NO, forcing legitimate businesses to walk around on egg shells just to conduct simple transactions.

A big cause for this is that banks don’t need to do any real business anymore to make money.

They get to borrow practically unlimited funds nearly interest-free from the central bank, and then loan that same money right back to the federal government at a higher rate of interest.

They provide mortgages to home buyers… then flip those mortgages to one of the federal government housing agencies like Fannie Mae, essentially guaranteeing the bank a zero-risk profit.

They get to milk their customers with all sorts of unnecessary fees, paying a whopping 0.02% interest on deposits in return.

They even get to steal from their customers through outright fraud – fraud which, despite all their compliance and scrutiny, conveniently fails to be detected by internal watchdogs.

And ultimately, when they screw it all up, they get to whine about how they’re too important to fail and demand a taxpayer-funded bailout.

With all of these guaranteed profits and safety nets, banks don’t actually have much incentive to do any real banking business anymore aside from multi-billion dollar deals with Apple and AT&T.

So it’s much easier and lower risk for them to adopt a guilty-until-proven-innocent attitude and be an obstacle to business and commerce.

Mine is just one small example of their financial barbarism… and far from an isolated case. These things happen countless times each day.

And it’s a good reminder to not keep all of your eggs in one basket… including a bank.

Remember that any money you deposit at a bank technically becomes the bank’s money. It’s their asset, and they’ll do whatever they please with it, including restricting your most basic transactions.

So it’s a reasonable idea to keep a month or two’s worth of living expenses denominated in physical assets like cash and gold in a secure place. This is a form of savings that’s 100% under YOUR control.

The good news is that cryptofinance technology could rapidly make banks obsolete faster than anyone realizes. More on that tomorrow.

And to continue learning how to ensure you thrive no matter what happens next in the world, I encourage you to download our free Perfect Plan B Guide.


ted41776 Truther Thu, 07/05/2018 - 17:53 Permalink

yeah, try to withdraw more than $2k cash fiat currency from a bank and see how fast you get put on DHS list followed up by a call asking about why you need the money. next time i get that call my answer is going to be, "hookers and blow, why else?", although that'll probably get me a call from their hiring manager. ISIS/Taliban/Pokemon/whatever the fuck they're called nowadays are the only ones who can get crates of cash, manpads, tow missiles no questions asked. meanwhile, the average joe is the one who gets treated like a fucking terrorist. think i'll stop by the local recruiting office, someone's got to defend our freedom to get assraped

In reply to by Truther

FireBrander ted41776 Thu, 07/05/2018 - 17:55 Permalink

Fargo, like Hillary, is an admitted criminal entity...and just like Hillary, they don't bother to hide their criminality. ..because they will profit more than punished. 

And again,  just like Hillary,  there are millions of dumbshits that "believe" in, and associate with them. 

Simon conducted business through a criminal bank, then complains when they act like, and treat him like, a criminal.


PS. Was in a local bank yesterday, no one over 25, and no one really knew thier job..took 3 employees to figure out how to print a statement.

In reply to by ted41776

philipat putaipan Thu, 07/05/2018 - 19:55 Permalink

I've had several USD transfers "lost" in the NY clearing system for several weeks and, as the world is fast waking up to, it's best to avoid USD wherever possible. Given that this was a transaction between 2 non-US entities and the recipient was a UK entity, why was he not smart enough (surely an International man of mysetery knows the pitfalls?) to use GBP or EUR for the transaction so that it would not have to clear through the US? Just like many countries are now doing. I guess he must be a slow learner.

In reply to by putaipan

SACRED-COW philipat Thu, 07/05/2018 - 20:39 Permalink

Tried to ACH transfer $150K from Dime Community bank to XYZ community bank in the Chicago area for the purpose of increasing my interest rate by 1%.  The ACH link was established over two years ago.

It took 4 hours on the phone with over 15 people involved and four days to just get it started.

The first two hours was spent waiting on hold using two mobile phones and one land line simultaneously because of their new password security requirements.  Here's a copy and paste of their instructions:


To log into Consumer Online Banking

Visit (after 9‌ am on Monday,‌ June‌ 25)

Your password is:

  • First five letters of last name (first letter uppercase). If your last name has 5 or less letters use the entire name
  • Four digit year of birth (YYYY)
  • Last four of SSN
  • Exclamation point (!)
  • For example John Fitzpatrick, DOB 5/14/1964, SSN 123-45-6789 would use: Fitzp19646789!


This is what happened after following their instructions to a tee:


Dear Dime Customer,

Your online banking account has been locked for your protection. To unlock your account or for more information, please contact Dime's Customer Service team at (800) 321-3463.

Thank you,

Customer Service Dime Community Bank


The next two hours were spent on hold after calling the 800#.

I finally woke up and did a search for local branches and spent the next two hours speaking with 15 different people at various Dime Bank branches.  The conversations were all "mumbo jumbo" 'try this on you computer', which would fail, followed by 'try that', which would also fail.   Their employees, although "not the brightest bulbs in the room", were all very civil and relaxed while wasting half of my day.  It was obvious that their system was hampered by discount, off shore, H1-B type programmers. 

When you take a moment to think about it, it all becomes very frightening.  As some of you (fucking assholes) here have experienced, I can be tenacious when faced with adversity, but, what would the story be if it were a kind, trusting, elderly person trying to pay their property tax bill?  I shudder to think about them being on hold for days on end while incurring penalties for late payment on their taxes. 

In reply to by philipat

SACRED-COW DarthVader101 Fri, 07/06/2018 - 17:40 Permalink

I checked out CloudCoin.

It appears to make more sense than the rest of the cryptos, but, it's still a Ponzi like all of the rest, including fiat.

CloudCoin's systems appear to be cluster-fucked at the moment, somewhat like the rest of the cryptos.

I'd like to see a crypto backed by real gold and real silver, but, nobody wants to do something like that because the founders won't get instantly rich. 

CloudCoin must improve their systems or they will vanish given time. 

In reply to by DarthVader101

jaxville Spaced Out Fri, 07/06/2018 - 11:41 Permalink

  It's not as though the banks don't trust you alone.  They don't trust each other as clearing bank drafts or certified payments are all being delayed.  I strongly suspect the Libor is understated or being supplemented by some fee. 

  Some "tobigtofail" banks are in business only because of central bank malfeasance. It is though the banks are expecting the rug to get pulled out from under them any day. 

  Any wealth you have in ANY financial is at risk including temporary transfers.  I suspect it won't be long before many people learn that at great expense upon their asses.

In reply to by Spaced Out

AGuy Cryptopithicus Homme Thu, 07/05/2018 - 18:14 Permalink

"Every time I step foot into a brick-and-mortar legacy bank I feel like I am time-traveling back to the 1900s now."

Wish that was true. Back than Most Banks were decent and you could conduct business in cash and redeem FRNs for Gold and Silver (pre 1933 and pre 1914 banking system).

In reply to by Cryptopithicus Homme

mkkby Cryptopithicus Homme Thu, 07/05/2018 - 18:19 Permalink

Saw it was simon black and read for the laughs.  He doesn't say what business, so it was shady.  Probably crypto, which is a ponzi scam.

Love the way sociopaths sell doom porn and bullshit about renouncing your citizenship.  Will gladly take your money and harm any unfortunate who takes their *advice*.  Sorta sounds like what a jew might do, no?

In reply to by Cryptopithicus Homme

So It Goes FireBrander Thu, 07/05/2018 - 22:09 Permalink

FireBrander - "PS. Was in a local bank yesterday, no one over 25, and no one really knew thier job..took 3 employees to figure out how to print a statement."

Thanks for that - I remember an incident that occurred several years ago.  I thought that the cost of nickel may go up - so what's to lose?  I went to a local bank (I don't do business there) and stood in line.  When my turn came I handed a sweet young thing behind to plexy divider a $20 bill and said "may I have please have rolls of nickels?"  I thought the transaction would take 2 minutes.  But no - this teller did not have such a thing in the drawer - NOR did all the other 4 tellers combined.  I created a commotion.  The manager was summoned to look in the safe.  More people were waiting longer in line.  Finally the manager appeared with $16 in nickels and 4 $1 bills.  I was astounded and said "thank you".  You can't make this stuff up.  (Still have my nickels though).

In reply to by FireBrander

swmnguy Bill of Rights Thu, 07/05/2018 - 18:52 Permalink

I don't generally agree with you but on this one you're 100% correct.  Credit Unions.

I've been with my credit union for 20 years.  I've financed two houses, three cars, 2 credit cards, 2 HELOC's, a set of student loans, a Health Savings Account, an IRA, and now a SEP plan.  I have three checking accounts and a savings account, and one of the checking is strictly for my business.

I've never had a fee for a normal transaction.  Fees for others were clearly spelled out in advance.  I've used their ATM card at ATM's in 8 countries on three continents, and about 40 US states.  Never a fee from them; sometimes a fee from the local ATM but that's not their fault.

I can use their mobile and desktop apps to do most of my banking.  When I call them, they pull up my file and know exactly who I am and what I usually need to do.

I could call them right now (well, tomorrow at 9:01 AM) and get $50,000 easily, without even having to go in to sign papers.

Nobody should ever do business with a conventional bank anymore.  There's simply no advantage to it.  Especially Wells Fargo.  My wife has an account there still (couldn't tell you why), and someone managed to steal money out of her account on an obviously fraudulent ATM transaction.  Wells Fargo took nearly six weeks to cover her losses and was rude about it.  My daughter flat-out left her ATM card at a business and somebody stole $50 out of her account; the credit union refunded her account the instant she called to report it, and had a replacement ATM card waiting for her by the time she biked to their nearest branch.

Only use credit unions if you use a financial institution.

In reply to by Bill of Rights