You are not the bank’s customer

14 January 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in diary | 18 Comments »

I walk into the nearest branch of Tatra banka, where I keep all of my accounts. I proceed to the cash window.

I have two tasks:

  • Exchange a quantity of Slovak koruna banknotes for euro notes
  • Purchase a number of commemorative coins for a friend who is a collector

I hand over the banknotes, my card with my account number and my canceled US passport, asking to exchange the money for euros. The teller lady flips through the passport a few times, checking the data page and my visa page. She types in the passport number and confirms it against my account records on her computer screen, satisfied that they match. She then returns to look, curiously, at the four holes punched through the passport booklet, then picks up a telephone, signaling me to wait a bit.

Nope, that's not the guy.

Nope, that's not the guy.

A supervisor lady comes over. I tell her that the passport is canceled. She steps away to speak to someone out of sight for a few seconds, and comes back to tell me that they can’t accept the passport since it’s no longer valid. “I’m sorry,” I say, “but I probably don’t have any document, then, that will be sufficient.” I present my still-valid Florida driver’s license and the notarized copy of passport and visa I had made before the passport was canceled. No love. The supervisor steps away again, this time for about ten minutes. She’s on the telephone with someone.

While she’s away, I briefly address the teller, saying, “This is a matter of identity; I lost my citizenship, not my identity.” She just smiles emptily, and asks my patience for waiting.

The supervisor comes back and apologizes, saying that she’s spoken to the bank’s legal department. The passport can’t be accepted since it’s no longer a valid document.

All I wanted to do was exchange one pile of fiat currency for a different pile, and maybe buy some shiny metal tokens with the remainder. I didn’t even need any access to my accounts.

I wonder if, when the US State Department person was operating the hole punch on my passport, little wisps of smoke might have been observed coming out — magic smoke which wafted away, carrying my identity as well as my citizenship along with it.

There was a time when presenting ID at a bank was done for only one purpose: to verify that the person attempting to withdraw money from a given account is actually an owner of that account. Just ten years ago in the US I could walk into a bank and deposit cash or endorsed checks into any account, even one I didn’t own, without needing to present any ID at all. I haven’t tracked exactly what’s gone on in the US banking system lately, but with the introduction of POS fingerprinting and all manner of other “Know Your Customer” measures and such mandated under the guise of combating money laundering — which isn’t even a real crime — I imagine the situation there has only gotten worse.

You are not the bank’s customer any more. The bank’s primary customer is the state. You are just an epiphenomenon, fluttering about that core, corrupt relationship.

If the bank people wanted to serve me, they would have responded to my letter asking about alternative forms of identification differently than they did. Instead of saying, “you must bring us one of these official documents,” they could have said, “come to our office, satisfy us of your identity; we will then take your photo and put it in the computer, and establish a password by which you can access your account at the branch.”

Remarkably, I can log on to the bank’s internet banking website using nothing more than a password and GRID Card code. I can move money between accounts, issue payment orders, even invest in securities. Nobody even needs to see my face. Yet that same method of authentication is unavailable or unacceptable if I appear in person at the branch.

So, whatever. My collector friend won’t get his coins unless he can find someone else in Slovakia to deal with it for him. And I’ll phone up the guy I know who operates as a black-market money changer and see what kind of rate he’s giving on Slovak koruna notes. I’ll bet it’s still better than the official exchange rate.

Roderick, do I get Agorist Demerit Points for this, or issue them?

  1. 18 Responses to “You are not the bank’s customer”

  2. By Jerry Jones on 14 January 2009

    Banks suck.
    You are right, they serve the state.
    Interestingly enough their brand of fraud, ‘fractional banking’, wouldn’t be possible with out state approval.

  3. By Mike Gogulski on 14 January 2009

    I might agree to deposit some money with a bank that practiced fractional reserve, even if 100% reserve banks were available. I would do so if I trusted the bank’s reputation, could monitor its reserve ratio, and was offered a higher rate of interest on my deposit. No fraud need occur.

  4. By Douglas Jones on 14 January 2009

    Here in the US, walking up to a teller with your bank card is good enough for them. Well they have card readers at every teller window now so you can enter your PIN. If your PIN matches that’s good enough for them unless you’re dealing with some amount near the trigger point I presume.

  5. By Seth on 15 January 2009

    If your slave papers have expired, you are effectively an “unperson” as far as the tax cattle slave banking control grid is concerned.

  6. By Seth on 15 January 2009

    Btw, over the last week, I deposited both cash and money orders into a friends bank account without having to show ID.

    Trying to cash checks made out to your government name without at least two forms of gubmint slave ID however, is a totally different story.

    Most banks will accept a credit or debit card as a “secondary” form of ID, but you almost always need to furnish a govt SSN (Slave Surveillance Number) before you can acquire a credit/debit card, so what’s the difference? They still “got your number”.

    I tried living for almost a year without any gubmint ID. And it was a major pain in fuggin the ass. You are pretty much forced to find someone else that’s still “in the system” to conduct financial dealing on your behalf. My 2 cents.

  7. By Mike Gogulski on 15 January 2009

    Thanks for the data points, Seth and Douglas (!! Hi!). I’d be interested to read about your “blank” experiment, if you’ve written about it anywhere.

  8. By Seth on 17 January 2009

    I have not written about my experiment going paperless elsewhere.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I was not totally paperless as I still had a valid passport which I used to gain entry into establishments where the Devil’s nectar was served. I live for live music and the nightlife is the right life for me, so I had to have something. I thought about acquiring a fake ID for such purposes, but never got around to it. I like using a passport because doormen can’t swipe it through the hated card readers.

    I drove for about 1 year with an expired license and no insurance, about 4 mos with no valid registration. That came to an end ironically when I was pulled over with temporary tags on my way to get the car registered in another state.

    In light of the fact that I am not financially independent, I came to the conclusion that the economic and psychological costs of driving without slave papers was too much to bear at present. The near constant anxiety of being pulled over, jailed, and having your wheels stolen to boot, was just too much. If you’re caught driving in Arizona without a valid license and any alcohol in your system, you can look forward to felony charges and tens of thousands of dollars in legal system extortion fees.

    I despise being numbered and enumerated more than just about anybody, so it’s not for lack of conviction. It’s just that the moment you start actually behaving like a free man, the clock starts ticking down a violent encounter with the police slave foremen.

    I really hate this fucking world we live in sometimes.

  9. By Bob Kaercher on 20 January 2009

    Mike: Don’t you know that everything we are, even our very identity, can exist only by the virtuous benevolence of the state?

  10. By Mike Gogulski on 20 January 2009

    @Bob: Gosh, I do forget my catechism sometimes. Off to the confessional with me!

    @Seth: Pretty high drama, sounds like. And this is how they screw us, by threatening to take away everything we love. Glad you didn’t end up on the wrong end of an arrest warrant.

  11. By Jay on 21 January 2009

    indeed it is a strange time to live in. They’ve got us all by the balls and they aren’t letting go. we today have had a path laid before us that only we can overcome, together. We will all have to work as a team. everyone. forget ur credit. forget your bills. forget your slave cards and all the rest. throw it all in the fucking garbage. It is going to take massive revolution and everyone working together to make real change. starving, dying and all the rest. it will come to that. we are already the slave race the NWO has been working for.
    and we chose it. we chose it by fear of LOSING things. fear of pain. fear of death.

    the original topic of banking and ID cards…is just the tip of the iceberg, but indeed just as much the problem.

    i just hope one day the masses will wake up and realize what’s really going on behind the curtain.

    but alas, that continues to be my wish.

  12. By Mike Gogulski on 22 January 2009

    @Jay: Some more victory gin for you, brother?

  13. By alex on 28 January 2009

    i told you earlier that the consulate’s making holes into the visa was a nasty move on their part. you could have identified yourself with the visa which is, if unadulterated, a perfectly good proof of identity even in an expired passport.



  14. By alex on 28 January 2009

    how’s that travel doc coming btw??


  15. By Mike Gogulski on 29 January 2009

    @alex: I doubt the bank would have accepted a non-holed visa sticker as ID anyway; that’s not on their statute-mandated list. As for the travel doc, I still have yet to apply. Just got a response from that agency late last week, and now I’m putting together the documents I need to submit my application. That should happen next week.

  16. By alex on 30 January 2009

    they absolutely have to. for all practical purposes this is your national ID from the slovak govt’s point of view. think of it as a green card more than of a visa.


  17. By bob on 15 July 2013

    In security, we call this “security for the honest”.

    The bank has rules saying it must know who you are. To know who you are you need to have valid ID. Not expired. People’s photos change, appearance changes, so the old passport doesn’t validate you to the required level. Their procedure says if you don’t have valid ID then the bank can’t establish who you are so, close but no cigar.

    This isn’t to say that the process isn’t flawed. Of course it is. It stops people like you changing a bit of currency here and there, and ensures that you acknowledge and abide by the power of the state. It is low-level training. They make small rules. You follow rules. You get what you want. Then for bigger things, you follow rules (etc.) BUT you do follow the rules, not break them. This is the intended effect.

    Wait until people like you start using Bitcoin. Then Bitcoin will find that states around the world turn their attention to that issue. Watch closely, because it will be ugly.

    Meanwhile, stay optimistic!

  18. By bob on 15 July 2013

    P.S. You can’t change small change, but the big boys, the crooks, they move money around without a smile or “good day”.

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