Bank of America will begin asking about citizenship status

Bank of America says it plans to ask all customers about their citizenship. (Photo courtesy of Bank of America)

Bank of America has begun asking some of its account holders to disclose their citizenship status, sounding off alarms to some in the Seattle community.

Univision Seattle reports that Maria Parker, who has had an account for 19 years, was confronted with the question “Do you have dual citizenship?” when she logged onto her online Bank of America account.

Parker told reporter Pablo Gaviria that she won’t answer the question and if it becomes a requirement, she doesn’t mind moving to another bank.

“I think the information received from this question could be used for other reasons,” she told the TV station in Spanish.

Parker added, “there’s been reports of other information being used to report people to immigration.”

A Bank of America spokesperson told Univision Seattle that they will continue to ask Parker to update her information through mail or phone calls.

In January The Seattle Times published a report revealing that the Department of Licensing had been releasing the information of undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

A spokesperson for Bank of America said the bank has to collect that information because they aren’t legally allowed to provide services to people from countries the U.S. has economic sanctions against.

But the spokesperson said a person who has U.S. citizenship can still use their account even if they are also citizens of a sanctioned country.

Bank of America plans on eventually asking all of their account holders whether or not they have dual citizenship, the spokesperson said.

22 Comments

  1. I have recently noticed these questions as well. Up to now, Bank of America is the only bank that has asked me the citizenship question. I do not have immigration issues and do not need to hide my status, but I have doubts that what they are doing is legal and here is why: if the interdiction to provide services to some countries is a federal requirement, why don’t other banks ask the same question?
    I refused to answer the question and will continue to do so.

    1. i refused and they froze all my bank account. I was left 4 days without money. I was shocked. Not even a text or phone call telling me they were going to do it. It felt very handmaids tale

  2. I have recently noticed these questions as well. Up to now, Bank of America is the only bank that has asked me the citizenship question. I do not have immigration issues and do not need to hide my status, but I have doubts that what they are doing is legal and here is why: if the interdiction to provide services to some countries is a federal requirement, why don’t other banks ask the same question?
    I refused to answer the question and will continue to do so.

  3. I have had several accounts with Bank of America for over 38 years now—checking, savings, credit cards, and my mortgage—all joint accounts with my husband. Bank of America suddenly keeps asking me about dual citizenship when I log on. However, they do not ask my husband when he logs onto online banking. I feel like this is discriminatory because my name is Spanish even though I am not, and my husband has an Anglo name. I am not a dual citizen, but I refuse to answer because it’s none of their business. Is their a federal bank regulatory agency to which I can address a complaint about this discriminatory practice?

    1. Good for you, you have every right to not answer that question.. yes what they are doing is illegal.
      My bank asked me where I got this money when i made a cash deposit which i have made for years, this transaction is no different than any other time making large cash deposits.
      I told them .. “my money is none of yiur business”.
      Stand your ground do not give in next time ask them to see the policy or regulation requiring this because when you filed the application for account there was no mention of this as company policy nor did it say it is a regulation required by law!!!

      1. My mother who banks through them for business and personal was asked that question recently and they informed her that if she didn’t answer they would freeze her accounts. Is this legal?

  4. I got the same line of questioning when I tried to activate a new card. After 18 years of having a line of credit with them. Needless to say, I cancelled the account, everyone that can should do this, take your business elsewhere.

  5. Today they did the same to me. Today, I tried to withdraw some cash from one and in addition to my driver’s license, they demanded TWO forms of Bank of America ID. I refused and produced two forms of government ID and demanded my money.

    I have several multimillion dollar business accounts and will move them all to Wells Fargo.

  6. Today I was was asked about my dual citizenship. When I told the teller I was uncomfortable answering the question Sean the teller at Univerity Village branch said if I refused to answer the question he would have to cancel my Bank of America credit card(I had a question about the card and that is why I was at the bank).

  7. You people are all far too sensitive. This regulatory policy. The other banks do it too, they don’t get to choose bank policies these days. The feds do it for them. The difference between a B of A or a Wells and you small local bank is the new regulations are always enforced at the larger institutions first. That’s it. Honestly, if you don’t like it talk to your Senators and Congress person. It isn’t the banks fault.

    1. It’s not “sensitive” to demand decent customer service ever. Also not “sensitive” to demand our nation’s banks don’t discriminate against certain cultures…in fact, it’s about as American as it gets to expect our businesses conduct themselves within our laws. Racial discrimination as defined in international law is “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

    2. Nope, not sensitive. I have accounts with other federal banks, and none have asked if I’m a dual citizen. I’m happy to reconfirm my SSN with them, give them a copy of my state issued driver’s license, a copy of my Federally issued passport. I’d even, unlike our president, show them my tax returns. They aren’t asking if I’m a citizen. They are asking if I’m a dual citizen, which means they KNOW I’m a citizen. What happens if you are a dual citizen? What list are you being put on? It is NOT illegal to be a dual citizen. If they asked me my sexual orientation or if I eat meat, my answer would remain the same: “none of your damn business.” The question is not relevant to my accounts with them.

  8. This is IGNORANT. They have access to databases to confirm who you are, and if you are a citizen. I would remove ALL my funds pronto from this stupid bank.

  9. I received an email from B of A stating that unless I updated my profile with my citizenship status, they would consider it a request to close my account. Thinking it was a scam, I called them and was told that it was true. They also sent letters to our home, one to me and one to my husband, asking us each to complete a W-9 and state our source of income. I went to a nearby branch and spoke to a manager, who was as confused as I was — I’ve had my Alaska Airlines Visa for 35 years! She called them and verified that yes, they would definitely cancel my card unless I responded by August 23. I just walked over to Chase and opened a new account and they did NOT ask for that information! I will cancel my B of A card as soon as the Chase card arrives.

  10. I’m confident they weren’t worrying about dual citizenship when they took the money from Enedina Arellano Félix . I’m confident they weren’t sweating Melania Trump’s bank deposits, even though she lied on her Visa application. I’m also confident we should ALL threaten to leave their bank if they continue this. This is why I have a credit union account and a bank account. Stop answering culturally divisive questions.

  11. Everybody should call BofA and demand to stop this practice. It is not under the law and it’s discriminatory. Tell them you are going elsewhere to do business if they don’t stop harassing people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.