I received an e-mail yesterday from a Canadian reader calling himself "Algyploreable". He's preparing for hard times, just as many of us are, and recounts this incident.
[We have] a "larder" in our spare room that we resupply as we use and we have finally taken the plunge and had a safe installed so that we can have a ready supply of cash/silver on hand. We cashed out a chunk of our investments, the monetary value of which was deposited with our bank here in Canada.
Yesterday I went to our local branch to ask how much notice I needed to give to withdraw $XX thousand in cash, assuming that it would be 24/48hrs. The young teller I was speaking to said that her supervisor was on vacation until next week but if I came back on Monday she could help me. I told her that I needed the money by Friday, and that there must be someone who could facilitate that. She started an email exchange with the branch manager, asking me a question every now and then. One of the questions was "are you buying something?". Canadian banks were only too happy to freeze customer accounts at the behest of the Turdeau government during the Trucker Convoy, so I thought I'd better play their game and told her I was indeed buying a piece of equipment. After much to and fro between the teller and the manager she told me that because the amount was over $25000 a request would have to be put in to a team at head office to see if they would authorize the release of the money. If the authorization was granted I could hopefully get the money in 10 days. This is money that had been deposited by a recognized investment institution......I had not rolled in the week before with a duffel bag full of soiled twenties to deposit.
I became quite angry at this point, however I was cognizant that I was on many cameras and that other tellers were in earshot. I had my hands open, palms down on the counter (no fists) and I told the teller very politely that I wanted "MY" money by the weekend, not whenever the bank authorized me to get it. This led to a flurry of email exchanges and I was asked to take a seat and the manager would come and speak to me. The manager attempted to explain that the steps put in place were for my security as most people don't take that amount in cash from the bank. He suggested that I get a bankers draft to pay for the item I was buying. Time to play their game again. I told him that the guy selling the equipment was giving me a fantastic deal but that he only wanted cash and it needed to be by the weekend. The manager said that he was unable to process that amount in cash without putting in a request to "the team", and asked if I could wait. When I told him I couldn't he did try to come up with a solution (credit where it's due). As long as the amount was under $25000 he was able to authorize that amount, however he would have to order the cash to be delivered next week as they don't hold that amount at the branch. He could also increase my daily cash withdrawal limit so that I could make up the lump sum shortfall through ATM withdrawals over a period of time. I pointed out that if he could authorize amounts under $25000 that I would be happy to do numerous withdrawals that way, over a couple of weeks. Apparently "the team" views that as one withdrawal, but if I could wait three or four months between those withdrawals it wouldn't raise any flags. Once I agreed to the lump sum and daily ATM increase it was time to ask some questions again......all done with a smile and a concerned tone. The old non-conspiratorial me would have told him where to go, but in this brave new Canada I concocted a story that even impressed me. If things go as planned I will have all MY money in the safe by the end of next week.
This is a cautionary tale for Canadians, I have no idea what the banking establishment in the US is up to. It is very obvious here that the bank does not consider your money to be yours and needs some form of government approval for the withdrawal of large sums. Having to wait for the branch to have the required funds on hand is one thing, but needing authorization to withdraw your own money, regardless of the amount, is mind-boggling. When SHTF I can only imagine what an eye-opener it will be for people who think they can waltz into the bank and withdraw their savings. Cash will indeed be king for a while, for those who have it. Any of your Canadian readers might want to think about turning that savings account at the bank into useable funds now while the going is (relatively) good.
I'm sure US banks will be equally obstructionist, not necessarily because they want to, but because government agencies like the IRS want to keep track of big sums in cash. I was told some years ago by a banking official in Tennessee that if a customer demanded a substantial sum in cash, he'd most likely get it in new banknotes, in serial number order, as received from the printing facility. That means the IRS, DEA and other agencies know where the block of $100 notes, serial numbers XXXX1 through XXXX9, have gone. If they show up in the course of normal commerce, the agencies can follow individual banknotes back through the system to figure out where and when they first appeared. That, in turn, may help identify what that customer bought with them, and possibly where and from whom. It's not perfect, but it's a lot easier than trying to track used banknotes in no particular sequence.
(This is also why central bank digital currency, or CBDC, is such an attractive concept to the powers that be. It would completely supplant paper money or coins. Your income, plus any government support, etc., would be deposited directly into your CBDC account, and you'd spend it by transferring sums from that account to whoever you were buying from. There would be no cash withdrawals, and every transaction would be traceable. You'd lose all privacy when it came to buying and selling. The IRS would know every penny you received and how you spent it; the DEA, FBI and other agencies would be able to follow your transactions and decide whether any appeared "suspicious", and if so what they were going to do about them; and so on. Even better, after an initial period (to allow you to hand over your existing cash in exchange for CBDC's), the use of existing cash can be banned, and the notes declared worthless. If you happen to have a lot of cash on hand that you daren't deposit, for fear the IRS or others would ask questions about where it came from and its tax status, you'd lose your money. It's a statist's wet dream.)
Miss D. and I aren't wealthy, but we've long made it our policy to keep at least one month's routine expenditure on hand, in cash, just in case. It won't go far if things go to hell in a handbasket, but if we hit an interruption in normal banking for a few weeks, it'll help keep our heads above water. I'd love to increase that to six months' supply of cash, but that simply isn't feasible on our income. (On the other hand, we do have a small stash of 1oz. silver rounds, which are fairly readily accepted by people in our area as a cash equivalent, and they'd stretch our emergency cash further.) I hope and trust that my readers have made similar arrangements, even if it's only one week's cash on hand. It can make a powerful difference when the lights go out, and credit or debit cards can no longer be used.
Have any readers recently tried to withdraw large sums in cash in the USA? How did it go? Any problems? Please tell us about them in Comments.