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Our bank sent an email to my spouse saying that they are required by law to collect some details, and that they may terminate her account if this info is not provided. My wife is a homemaker, and does not have earned income. This option was not on the bank's survey.

I have two issues here. The first one is, there is no place to enter "homemaker / no income"; do they expect her to enter my income in place of hers? My other issue is, my wife and I keep our banking separate (except that we have a joint checking account with this bank). I don't want to enter my information in place of hers, because of this. Am I required to?

Edit: The mail tells us about the requirement. We still log in to the bank website (using the link we always use, i.e. the bank's real URL) and go to the messaging inbox on that site to review what information they need. In other words, it's legit.

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    How do you know the email came from your bank and is not a phishing email? Why not go into your bank branch and ask them whether they sent this email and if so why they want this information? – Robert Longson Jan 11 at 18:30
  • @RobertLongson exactly. The first impulse should be to ask the people who sent the email instead of a bunch of strangers who only know a fraction of the details. – RonJohn Jan 11 at 18:36
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    @RobertLongson the email is informational, the actual request is in the message center of the bank website interface. – HH- Apologize to Carole Baskin Jan 11 at 18:48
  • @RonJohn since this relates to law it's prudent to get different input on the subject (from the horse's mouth, as well as from others who may have had experience with the same thing) – HH- Apologize to Carole Baskin Jan 11 at 18:49
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    @horsehair if this "relates to law" please specify the country. – mhoran_psprep Jan 11 at 20:12
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I was finally able to get information from a bank representative. This is related to Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). Banks and other financial institutions are mandated to institute “know your customer” (KYC) rules that ensure the legitimate source of funds.

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Your question states that the country is the United States. You also seem confident that the question actually comes from your bank and not a potential scammer, but, as others have stated, best to make absolutely sure of this by asking your bank directly, ideally in person.

I've had bank accounts for decades, and never been asked, under threat of closing my account, for details about income or occupation. This is, IMO, a good reason to switch banks.

The no-fuss way to deal with this is to enter whatever you want. Assuming there is a list of possible answers, check Other for both income and occupation. If there is no list, enter anything you choose for Occupation. Entrepreneur, say, or chef, or exoplanet researcher -- your wife looks at the stars, doesn't she? As for income, if you don't have a list to choose from, enter a range so wide as to be meaningless.

The bank may be required by law to ask these questions, but I'd be astonished if you are required by law to answer them. (If someone here knows otherwise, please correct me.)

People, businesses, institutions ask too many GD questions about things that are none of their business. As long as you keep your account in the positive range, and large enough for it to make it worthwhile for the bank to keep you as a customer, and don't engage in shady practices, nothing else is any of their business.

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  • See the answer I just posted. This is federally mandated. – HH- Apologize to Carole Baskin Jan 14 at 17:06
  • It is part of the Know Your Customer laws, but I ignored one bank's emails and they never followed through on the threats to close the account. Your mileage may vary. – pboss3010 Jan 14 at 17:10
  • You are not legally required to provide the information, but the bank is allowed to refuse to do business with you if you don't. Ultimately the bank is on the hook with regulators for complying with the information gathering requirements, not you personally. Outside of core requirements, there is a degree of subjectivity allowed for the bank on what they collect and how, but suffice to say the penalties are very steep if they are way out of compliance. So, many banks will certainly refuse to do business with you if you grossly refuse requests related to KYC or AML in general. – dwizum Jan 14 at 17:57
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This sounds very much like a scam to steal your banking information. I would call your bank directly or visit a local branch. Do not call or contact them using only the information in the email.

It is very possible the email isn't from your bank, it is someone trying to trick you into giving up personal information.

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    I mentioned this in the comments but I'll add it to the question as well: the email simply notified us of the requirement. We then log in to our (real) bank website to view messages, and the message (in the inbox on the real bank website) tells us what info to submit. – HH- Apologize to Carole Baskin Jan 11 at 19:51
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    Did you use a link to the bank contained in the email? – Michael Harvey Jan 12 at 20:41
  • See the answer I just posted. This is federally mandated. – HH- Apologize to Carole Baskin Jan 14 at 17:05

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