Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending international wire transfers from November 17 onwards, prompting speculation that the bank is preparing for a looming financial crisis in the United States.
Numerous business customers with Chase BusinessSelect Checking and Chase BusinessClassic accounts have received letters over the past week informing them that cash activity (both deposits and withdrawals) will be limited to a $ 50,000 total per statement cycle from November 17 onwards.
The letter reads;
Dear Business Customer,
Starting November 17, 2013:
– You will no longer be able to send international wire transfers. You will still be able to send domestic wires and receive both domestic and international wires. We’ll cancel any international wire transfers, including reccurring ones, you scheduled to be sent after this date.
– Your cash activity limit for these accounts(s) will be $ 50,000 per statement cycle, per account. Cash activity is the combined total of cash deposits made at branches, night drops and ATMs and cash withdrawals made at branches (including purchases of money orders) and ATMs.
These changes will help us more effectively manage the risks involved with these types of transactions.
Another letter (PDF) received by Peak to Peak Charter School, a college in Colorado, states that the option to send both international and domestic wire transfers has been withdrawn from Chase business savings account holders.
Shortly after we posted this story, other Chase business customers confirmed they had also received similar or identical letters.
“I’m a Chase customer with both of the type accounts mentioned and got the letter posted,” wrote one.
“I have been a loyal customer of Chase for 11 years and I received the letter for my business and when I called about this I was told basically piss off and find another bank!” added another.
Chase is obviously very keen to make it hard for their customers to have any kind of control over their savings and is trying to prevent them from sending dollars abroad, prompting concerns that Cyprus-style account gouging could occur in America.
The move to limit deposits and withdrawals while banning international wire transfers altogether is a bizarre policy and will cripple many small and medium-sized businesses with Chase accounts. Buying stock from abroad in any kind of quantity will now become impossible for many companies, while paying employees will also be a headache.
Why has Chase announced such a ludicrous and restrictive policy change and is it related to the potential for a US debt default?
Speculation is rife that the bank is preparing for some kind of economic crisis by “locking down” its customers’ money. Although most still expect a deal to be struck to prevent a US debt default, its impact would “shake financial markets to a degree not seen since the Great Depression,” according to experts.
Others fear the move to restrict international wire transfers is part of a plan to protect against a near-future collapse of the US dollar.
Whatever the truth behind the policy change, Chase really needs to publicly explain its reasoning in order to quell the speculation.
The bank’s reputation was already under scrutiny after an incident earlier this year where Chase Bank customers across the country attempted to withdraw cash from ATMs only to see that their account balance had been reduced to zero. The problem, which Chase attributed to a technical glitch, lasted for hours before it was fixed, prompting panic from some customers.
Earlier this month it was also reported that two of the biggest banks in America were stuffing their ATMs with 20-30 per cent more cash than usual in order to head off a potential bank run if the US defaults on its debt.
The image below shows another example of a Chase business customer receiving the same letter.