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Every time I deposit $2,000 in my bank for my disabled daughter,


Founding Member
Board Elder
Site Mgr
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 25, 2010
Every time I deposit $2,000 in my bank for my disabled daughter, the staff treats me like a criminal
By Quentin Fottrell
Published: Dec 8, 2016 10:08 a.m. ET

This mother is tired of being quizzed every time she walks inside her bank

Dear Moneyologist,

My daughter’s grandfather was intending to gift my daughter $100,000 for university when she graduated high school. My daughter was injured and became disabled at 15 years of age, so now he generously sends $1,000 to $2,000 every month or two to help with costs not covered by insurance. We are transferring her to Social Security.

‘The banks treat us like criminals. Every time I deposit the money, the cashier gives me these wide eyes with slow methodical examination of the account.’

While I do understand I will pay taxes if this money exceeds $10,000 per year, the banks today treat us like criminals. Every time I deposit the money, the cashier gives me these wide eyes with slow methodical examination of the account. And I am constantly interviewed on the origin of the money at the same bank. My other bank is the same way.

Is there something I can set up for her so that we can accept the kind help but not get the paranoia breeze?

A mother in Ohio who feels like a criminal

Dear Mother,

I can’t help feel that there is some kind of class issue going on here. If this bank was in Manhattan and you were dressed like $1,000 was chump change for you, I suspect that the cashiers would be falling over themselves to treat you with the respect you deserve (and then some). That said, you can guard against some raised eyebrows by depositing a personal check by your daughter’s grandfather rather than cash or a money order, if that is how he is paying you currently. Depositing regular amounts of cash may raise questions, given how vigilant banks must be about money laundering. And there’s nothing as easy and seamless as an electronic transfer.

‘If this bank was in Manhattan and you were dressed like $1,000 was chump change for you, I suspect that the cashiers would be falling over themselves to treat you with the respect you deserve.’
–The Moneyologist

“Banks these days are very concerned about money laundering and frequent deposits from a source that is not business related can be a red flag,” says Shirley Whitenack a partner at Schenck, Price, Smith & King law practice in New Jersey. Global money laundering transactions are estimated at 2% to 5% of global gross domestic product, or between $1 trillion and $2 trillion annually, according to accounting firm PwC. “With the rising visibility of terrorist attacks, money laundering and terrorist financing are escalating as priority issues for governments across the globe,” according to its latest report.

But that has nothing to do with you. And there are things you can do to make the depositing go smoother. “If the checks are made out to your daughter but are deposited in your parents’ bank accounts, another red flag may be raised,” Whitenack says. “There is nothing illegal per se about a grandparent helping a granddaughter financially, so an explanation that a grandparent is helping a granddaughter may be sufficient.” Alternatively, you could arrange an annual gift to avoid having to go through this every time you go to the bank. If you are depositing less than $10,000, you don’t have to fill out paperwork under federal law and your daughter won’t face gift tax, but if your daughter is receiving Social Security, these deposits could jeopardize that.

“In order to get disability benefits and not become ineligible, you really need to talk to an attorney and set up a special needs trust,” says Eleanor Blayney, Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a nonprofit organization overseeing CFP standards and practices. “It would not be her asset, but it would be used for her needs.” (One more thing: You don’t pay tax when money is gifted, and your daughter’s grandfather would have to pay $5.49 million to exceed his gift tax requirement, and he can gift up to $14,000 per year to her without that counting against his lifetime limit.)

You may also want to look into establishing an ABLE account, a tax-advantaged savings account loosely based on Section 529 college-savings plans. The account can grow on a tax-deferred basis, and withdrawals are tax exempt for certain reasons like paying for your daughter’s expenses. (Read more about them here (subscription required): ABLE programs are available in Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee, Virginia, and most of those programs — except Florida — accept applicants from other states. Whether or not you decide to do this, speak to the manager at your local branch manager, tell them your story and say, “I am a loyal customer and I feel unnecessarily scrutinized.” (Or move banks.)

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyologist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

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Have a question about the fiduciary rule? Ask it now. The fiduciary rule is set to greatly affect the way retirement accounts are managed, and in turn, perhaps how much investors see in returns. Marketwatch is going to interview Department of Labor assistant secretary Timothy Hauser and Marcia Wagner, an attorney and expert in labor law and fiduciary issues, on Facebook Live from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, Dec. 8. Certified Financial Planner professionals can earn a one-hour credit of continuing education after watching the session. Have a question you’d like to ask? Email them to Alessandra Malito at amalito@marketwatch.com, and we’ll ask them during the live broadcast.



Deep Sixed
Mother Lode
Site Supporter ++
Mar 30, 2010
Banks are scum. Fuck with them every chance you get but don't ever allow them the upper hand.


Tungsten collector
Silver Miner
Site Supporter
Aug 1, 2012
Under Cover
It seems that the Moneyologist has bought into the BS narrative of the banks being concerned about terrorism and money laundering. He should have just told her the truth, it's all about control. The Gov wants to be in control of all money transactions so they can confiscate their vig.


Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Mother Lode
Mar 31, 2010
Deposit the check via an atm. Regarding the gift issue who's going to know he gave over 10k , I doubt that's something banks are concerned about unless its cash.


Silver Miner
Platinum Bling
Sr Site Supporter
Jan 23, 2013
Somewhere in the midwest
Gift tax exclusion is now $14000 annually. However, IRS reporting requires reporting of sources of deposits $5000+ (the stupid money laundering excuse). There should be no issue with $1000 or $2000 deposits. They may suspect breaking up a large transaction into smaller amounts to thwart the reporting requirement.

I have to take bank agent training annually. There are specific signature, disclosure, identification requirements to be met. Opening a bank account can feel like an interrogation. You seriously have to sign some stupid document promising not to use the account for support of terrorism or money laundering.

tom baxter

back from 2004
Oct 21, 2016
I didn't like the fat toads behind the counter in my bank either so I went across the street to a smaller bank where they were friendly.