boy with eyes crossed out, dollar sign, euro sign

You might have read on that Banca Transilvania customers had a little trouble with their accounts.  This was annoying, but it doesn’t begin to deal with the problems that many British, American and French expats face because of regulations created by their own governments.

A decade ago, the USA created FATCA, probably the worst law for expats ever.  The Truman Doctrine states that people should not be discriminated against because of national origin, but FATCA forces foreign banks to discriminate against US citizens or US born persons.  The law basically states that if anyone has a US national origin, or can be suspected of being connected to the US, the bank needs to send all data across the Atlantic.  The problem comes with “Accidental Americans,” who do not have a social security number, so they often cannot even open bank accounts.

For Brits, it’s even worse.  Americans can at least keep their accounts in America.  Many UK banks, in fact all that we know of, have punished British citizens who have moved abroad by forcing them to close their UK bank accounts.  If you still have bills to pay, for instance you are still paying off your mortage in the UK while you temporarily work abroad, or your UK phone bill to deal with expenses, debts and responsibilities you left behind, tough.

The French do not have it so bad, but CRS is still annoying.

And to top it off, the European governments created other legislation which treats artists as if they were money launderers.

None of these laws are good for the banks or customers, and none of them hurt the bad guys.  They are basically laws that politicians passed in order to look busy.  There are many ways for crooked people to get around them, but for honest people who want to start a business or simply live abroad for whatever reason they are a pain in the neck.

So, with many elections coming around this year, should the expats of the world unite and tell politicians to ban FATCA (the law, not the person), Fbar, CRS, and other banking legislation that hurts expats?  Should we go further, and declare that banking is a human right?

Here is the Hey Cluj platform on banking.

  1. All people have the right to have a bank account, especially in countries where we are pretty much forced to use online transactions and where a bank account is necessary for normal day-to-day living.
  2. All businesses have a similar right to a bank account.
  3. If any bank refuses service, they need to provide a reason.  This reason cannot be simply that the person who has the account is of a different nationality or national origin.   The reason should be something bad the customer has done.  There needs to be due process, an appeal procedure, and all customers need to have the right to refute such claims.
  4. The Truman Doctrine should be respected in US law, and so FATCA and Fbar should be abolished.
  5. The UK and Europe should stop punishing ordinary citizens for spats over Brexit or whatever it is.  British banks should be made to keep bank accounts open for all British citizens abroad.

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