Bank of America freezes account of Kansas man who did not confirm citizenship

Credit: Justin Sullivan

Credit: Justin Sullivan

A Kansas man who ignored a letter from his bank asking if he was an American citizen had his family's account temporarily frozen, The Kansas City Star reported.

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Josh Collins and his wife, Jessica Salazar Collins, of Roeland Park, said they received a letter from Bank of America last month. One of the questions asked if Josh Collins was a citizen or could claim dual citizenship, the newspaper reported.

Jessica Collins said she threw out the letter, telling the Star that she and her husband "thought it was a scam," since her husband was born in Wichita.

The couple was surprised to learn July 24 that the bank had frozen their account.

In a statement Friday, Bank of America said asking about the citizenship status was not unusual. Spokeswoman Diane Wagner said Collins was not singled out for any particular reason, the Star reported.

“Like all financial institutions, we’re required by law to maintain complete and accurate records for all of our customers and may periodically request information, such as country of citizenship and proof of U.S. residency. This type of outreach is nothing new,” Bank of America said in a statement. “This information must be up to date and therefore we periodically reach out to customers, which is what we did in this case.”

When the Collinses went to a Bank of America branch in Mission, a bank worker's computer screen showed that a red flag had been placed next to Josh Collins' name, along with the notation "citizenship," the Star reported.

The bank worker asked Josh Collins for his driver’s license and unfroze the account the next day, the newspaper reported.

Wagner said it was unfortunate that the Collinses ignored the bank’s request for updated information.

"If we don't hear from a customer in response to our outreach, as a last resort, we may restrict the account until we can confirm it is in compliance with regulatory requirements" she told the Star.

Jessica Collins said it was fortunate the family canceled a planned vacation to Minnesota.

"We would've found ourselves up there without money," she told the Star. "No money for gas. No money to feed our kids. For a hotel. No money!"

The Collinses are planning to change banks, the newspaper reported.

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