The complainant wanted the bank to close a dormant business account.
The bank would not adhere to the request as there were amounts owing to the bank due to unpaid bank and debit order charges. The complainant wanted the bank to close the account, as the business was no longer operating, but the account was in a remediation programme. The bank requested updated documentation for compliance purposes following a CIPC check, where the bank noted a directorship change and no proof of the operating address on file.

The complainant refused to comply, as he did not see the point of disclosing such documents when all he wanted was to close an account that kept on accumulating bank charges and fees for which he was ultimately responsible.

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) (“the Act”) expects an accountable institution to refrain from conducting a transaction in the course of a business relationship with a customer if the customer is not fully compliant with the identification and verification requirements as specified in the Act.

The Financial Intelligence Centre Regulator stated that the closure of a non-compliant account and the transferring of the remaining balance to a customer constitutes a transaction in the course of the business relationship with a customer. Therefore the bank was justified in refusing to uphold the complainant’s request, as it would have amounted to a direct contravention of legislation.

PRINCIPLE: The bank has a duty to comply with the relevant legislation; the bank cannot act contrary to the law. If it is your intention to close an account, then you will need to satisfy all the legal requirements before your request can be actioned.

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