Bank of America freezes black mother’s account because ‘she doesn’t look like she should have this amount of money’
A single mom from Detroit says Bank of America is holding literally “every single dime” she has to her name hostage. After receiving $50,000 in settlement money from a lawsuit regarding her younger brother’s death a teller at one of the bank’s branches took one look at her and decided it was suspicious that someone like her would have this kind of money. Assuming something fishy had to be going on, he flagged her account for fraud, which resulted in her account being frozen.
Having done nothing wrong, Christina Anderson still finds herself unable to pay her bills, her rent, or even feed her four children, despite the fact that she has more than enough money.
The $50,000 was wired directly into her account with Bank of America on May 20. There was an initial two-hour hold placed on the funds until everything could be verified, but then she was told she would have full access to her money. Over the next several days she was able to make substantial withdrawals from her account with no problems.
Then on May 24, Anderson totaled her car. She went to a different branch of Bank of America to withdraw $5,000 from her account so that she could purchase a new vehicle. But the teller that waited on her decided there was no way someone like her should have money like that.
The guy behind the counter started asking me where did I get the money from, and a bunch of questions” she recalled. “And I told him, I feel that’s none of his business, so I’m going to go to another branch where I feel more comfortable.”
When Anderson got to a different branch she found out that her account had been frozen, meaning all the money she has is now off-limits. When she accused the bank of discrimination she was told to leave.
I feel like you guys are discriminating against me; is it because I’m black?’ And then … she told me to leave out the back because I was upset,” Anderson said she asked the staff at the bank. “Yes, I was [upset]. I was mad because these are my funds. Why can’t I receive my funds?”
Anderson says she has not been able to access any of her funds since that day. Her rent is due and without a car, she can’t even get to work. The bank has told her nothing about the status of her account..
We’ve frozen the customer’s account under the terms of our Deposit Agreement and Disclosures,” the bank statement explained. “In the agreement, if at any time we believe a customers’ account may be subject to irregular, unauthorized, fraudulent or illegal activity, we may, in our discretion, freeze the funds in the account and in other accounts they maintain with us, without any liability to the customer, until we are able to complete our investigation of the account and transactions.”
The Patriot Act of 2001 gives bank employees the leeway to use their discretion to freeze any accounts that they suspect of suspicious activity. For example, a single black mother who isn’t poverty-stricken. Clearly suspicious.
I feel like my money is being held hostage. Every single dime is tied up in that bank,”Anderson said. “I thought I was being safe putting money in the bank, but it seems I’m safer putting it under my mattress.”
Anderson said she was told by the bank that it could take up to a year for the investigation to be completed and for access to her funds to be restored.
Banking while Black.
So glad I cut ties with this fuckass bank.
Is there a way of raising money for her so she has some to be getting on with?