De-banking businesses on the US-Mexico border

Banks are reportedly continuing to close the accounts of businesses on the US-Mexico border as they continue to pursue strategies of de-banking, the closure or refusal to open accounts for entire sets of customers.

While US banks appear to be endeavouring to comply with Washington’s anti-money laundering regulations, their de-banking strategies appear to be taking a toll on legitimate border businesses.

Chase Bank
The owner of La Roca, a restaurant in the border town of Nogales, Mexico, says she was recently contacted by Chase Bank which said that it was closing her business account along with those of several other foreign business accounts.

The restaurant owned by US citizen, Alicia Martin, and which lists it’s prices in dollars routinely serves customers from Arizona and has banked with Chase for more than 40 years.

AML compliance
Martin told local media that Chase said it was closing the restaurant’s account because the bank was unable to monitor its activities.

Chase spokesperson Mary Jane Rogers confirmed that the bank had decided to close fewer than 5,000 small foreign business accounts as it seeks to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

Wells Fargo
Cattle broker Juan Carlos Ochoa says he has also had his business account closed by Chase, which prompted him to move to Wells Fargo, which in turn also closed his account.

Ochoa has dual US and Mexican citizenship and imports cattle into Douglas, Arizona from Mexico where the livestock is fattened up for market.

The cattle broker pointed out to local media that the banks’ de-banking strategies could force some border businesses to use cash, making transactions less transparent and more vulnerable to money laundering.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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