I don’t know if it’s that I love crypto so much, or if it’s my hatred towards the banks and all financial service providers who abuse and exploit their customers such as legacy banks, PayPal, credit card companies, and predatory loan providers, among others. Here is the last example showing their attitude.
I decided to make a real estate investment in Germany, so I started a bank account at Volksbank Ruhr Mitte. I met with the bank representative in Germany (yes I flew there physically) and opened the bank account with no issue.
A massive KYC/AML overstep
After the bank account was opened, in order to get access to online banking they asked me to go through a KYC/AML process which is normally understandable. But in this case, they asked me to provide ALL my bank accounts EVERYWHERE even though I provided them with my tax payment details including a tax report submitted to the authorities. I also provided details of one of my companies showing the source of funds that were transferred to the new bank account but they insisted that I had to disclose all of my personal bank accounts! When I refused, explaining they were asking too much, they announced the bank account must be closed.
Let me repeat this: They demanded that I disclose ALL of my personal bank account statements! It was not enough for them to see the source of my funds and go through the standard KYC/AML procedures!
Here is my explanation to the bank:
Here is the bank's response:
I’ve not shown the entirety of these messages because I don’t want to share the personal, private information that was included in the above emails.
Charged to transfer funds out of the forcefully closed account
When I realized I couldn’t get the bank to see reason and the account was going to be closed due to my refusal to comply with their request, I asked that they transfer the funds to another bank account. The bank had another shock in store for me: They charged me for the bank transfers that were necessary because they had forced me to close the account against my wishes!
That wasn’t enough for the bank, either. They forced me to sign physical forms for the transfer they forced me to make. Further, rather than emailing the form for me to print and fill out, they posted it to me and then I had to physically post it back to them.
When I requested that they refund the charges for the transfers, they initially refused, but after I threatened with a lawsuit they did refund me. The big issue here (yes another one) is this time they transferred the refund without asking me to sign a physical form and post it to them, which means they didn’t really need me to sign any physical forms before, and they did it for no real reason! They had me go back and forth to the post office three times until the forms were signed and sent to them according to the specific way they wanted.
Another person might not fight for a few hundred Euros worth of charges that should not have been made, which means so many people lose their money because banks falsely charge them and nobody does anything about it. Not the governments, not the regulators, not the customers.
Maybe they made the above decisions because I am involved in crypto and maybe not, but it doesn’t change the fact the way the bank behaved is NOT required by laws or regulations. The way the bank behaved was their own choice, and was fucking outrageous.
When I talk at events, I explain why cryptocurrency is the first time people can have complete economic freedom. I hope the above story will help some people understand why our money in the bank is NOT really OURS and it’s NOT really SAFE.