Following is a letter that was posted anonymously
in the general forum on
ChexVictims.com. It is an eloquent
and well written letter that makes a
very clear argument why ChexSystems is bad.
As such, it should be made required reading
for every banker before they should be allowed
to consider using ChexSystems to deny an account.
[Italics and links were added by us.]
I keep 4 banks separate accounts open and funded
after being in ChexSystems hell for more than 2
years. I can think of fewer more Kafkaesque things
that can happen to an American than having these
unaccountable, faceless entities ruin your life,
embarass you in front of your employer and friends,
and cause you to feel like a degenrate, social outcast.
Some day, I wonder if somebody will ever prevail
and win psychological damages for the harm that
Sites like this one
are littered with pleas, "Help me, please." These
are not the pleas of criminals and check kiters,
but honest perhaps sometimes mistaken individuals
who have been wronged by what amounts to a sinister
and highly profitable conspiracy on the part of
the Deluxe Corporation, which profits from the
misery of its victims.
To these pleas from the heart, these pleas of
"Help Me!" some idiot at Deluxe's EFunds
counters with a
self-righteous, semi-literate rant.
Meanwhile, the Fed -- pandering to minorities --
speaks of the "unbanked"
as if the majority of people in any check
casher's line wouldn't prefer to be at a bank
if they only could.
In Florida, I have seen the people line up outside
banks on Fridays to cash their paychecks. And I
mean outside literally because some banks
there have an outside teller window for
non-customers to cash checks payable to them.
These poor unfortunates aren't allowed in the
banks's airconditioned lobby. And they're
fingerprinted every time they cash a check,
too! Of course, these are the working poor, the
lower income, the welfare recipients. Too smelly
and low class to be allowed in the front door.
At least in South Beach.
This is the future of banking unless regulators
and politicians act. BANKS ARE NOT ENTIRELY
PRIVATE BUSINESSES, BUT HOLDERS OF PUBLIC
LICENSES AND MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL BANKING SYSTEM.
As such, they have obligations to the public.
There is nothing inconsistent with good business
and requiring a bank to do business fairly,
openly and with all comers.
Moreover, there need to be procedures in place at
a bank before one can be blacklisted. There need
to be official written policies, notice
requirements, and the ability for a customer to
offer evidence in his or her favor BEFORE being
Here, we have a clear instance of big
corporations assuming monopolistic functions and
riding roughshod over the liberties and rights
of individuals. CheckSystems allows a bloc
consisting of 80% of US banks to act
monopolistically in concert with regard to
individual depositors. It's effect is clearly
restraint of trade, and should be treated as
At both the bank and the CheckSystems level,
there need to be clear, written, published and
enforced standards. If CheckSystems is, in fact,
a security system to protect against bad check
writers, then the procedures need to ensure
that only bad check writers, and not sloppy
accountants, are adversely affected. Certainly,
the policies and procedures shouldn't allow
actions by third parties (automatic debits
that won't stop) be be used against current
and former account holders. Nor should bank
fees that result in overdrafts be portrayed
in the same light as check kiting.
A detrimental report to ChexSystems should
be the result of a considered process, done
for cause and under deliberation. It is not
the way a publicly regulated institution
should pare down its less profitable customer
roles by computer flagging absent little human
intervention. Apparently, this is what
CheckSystems does.. .it offers an easy,
automated way for the spreadsheet boys to
cull out account they dont like.
I take issue with a bank's ability to close
accounts generally. But the idea that one can
be entirely blacklisted from an industry is
something that can only be addressed by
legislators and regulators.
In today's Los Angeles Times, there is an
about how mainstream banks are running to get
into the highly profitable retail check cashing
business. Of course, this businesss has seen
boom times since the CheckSystems blacklist
became a popular way of doing banking business
in the past two decades.
Now, we see that banks have a vested interest
in steering you to check cashing, where they
skim 2-3 percent from your gross income!
The idea of segmenting markets to maxmize profit
in any paticular industry is nothing new. General
Motors pioneered the idea by maintaining a
menagerie of substantially similar brands, each
best designed to extract the most money from the
Banking is no different. At the top are those
served by personal bankers, with special,
queueless teller lines. The elite of the elite
sit at a vice president's desk in a private
banking department, where this over-titled
factotem scurries off and brings you your
money and documents while you nibble on the
bank's complimentary cookies and sip coffee.
Down the spectrum, banks have employed the
techniques of market segmentation to divide
and conquer the banking consumer. Far from
being a classless society, this is a world
where different "banking products" are sold
only to specific groups. There are all-in-one
accounts for the middle classes, money
market acounts for the better off, and
no-frills checking for those who live
paycheck to paycheck.
What's different about the ChexSystems fraud
is this: it bans you entirely from the bank.
You become a non-citizen, an outcast. With
real repercussions in your real life, which
go far beyond where to cash checks.
Checks are NOT and never were the issue.
Disenfranchisement from the nation's banking
and payment systems are the problem.
Without a bank account, including checks and
a VISA card, you can't readily:
1. check into a hotel or rent a car
2. buy an airline ticket without becoming a
3. rent an apartment
4. buy a home
5. buy a car
6. receive a direct deposit paycheck
(some companies refuse to issue paper checks)
I cannot begin to think of the kinds of
different transactions for which one needs the
ability to write a check. But there's the rub:
these are transactions of the middle and upper
middle class. So by denying you access to
these necessary tools of middle class life,
ChexSystems in effect degrades you to
marginality, to the effective status of the
ChexSystems must be stopped because of how
dangerous it has become.
To comment on this letter, please reply to
which was posted to the general forum on
ChexVictims.com on March 16, 2000 and is titled
CheckSystems: facilitating monopoly and restraining trade.