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Banks May Begin Keeping Tabs on Your Transactions

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RALEIGH — The federal government is proposing new banking legislation aimed at reducing criminal activity, but many N.C. banks and customers claim it is an invasion of privacy.

The legislation called "Know Your Customer" would require banks to keep track of normal and expected transactions, sources of the funds and any inconsistent or suspicious activity could be reported to the federal government. The customer could then become the target of a federal criminal investigation.

Ed Aycock, senior vice president and regulatory counsel of theNorth Carolina Banker's Association, says most banks are opposed to the legislation that would require them to create profiles of their customers.

"You might inherit some money that you want to deposit - that would be a little bit unusual, but the bank would have to make some note of the fact that you had a larger deposit that you ordinarily do on payday," he said.

Aycock says many banks do not want to be put in the position of playing big brother for the government.

"They don't want to be making those inquiries of legitimate customers because you can imagine in some cases the resentment," he said.

Resentment was the first reaction from banking customers when informed about the legislation.

"They're delving a little bit too much into personal business," says opponent Beverly Powell.

Credit unions would not have to comply with the legislation's rules. The federal government says many banks already have policies in place to track their customers' transactions, but bank officials say this goes above and beyond their current procedures.

Federal officials are collecting public comments until March 8. The following is a list of the contact person at the federal banking regulatory agencies that have published proposed "Know Your Customer" regulations: Richard A. SmallAssistant DirectorDivision of Banking Supervision and RegulationBoard of Governors of theFederal Reserve System20th Street and Constitution AvenueWashington D.C. 20551Robert FeldmanExecutive SecretaryFederal Deposit Insurance Corporation550 17th Street, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20429Robert S. PasleyAssistant DirectorEnforcement and Compliance DivisionComptroller of the Currency250 E. Street, S.W.Washington, D.C. 20219Larry A. ClarkProgram ManagerOffice of Thrift SupervisionDepartment of the Treasury1700 G. Street, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20552

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Ericka Lewis, Reporter
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