I noticed that none of my banks I have accounts with in the US (i.e. my local CU, Bank of America, Chase, and Citi) offer any way to view or download bank statements (e.g. as PDFs), account activity pages, and transaction lists (e.g. CSV, OFX, QFX) older than a few years.
For example, my credit-card with Chase was opened in 2014, but both web-page activity listings and CSV/QFX downloads only go back to September 2018:
I understand that banks will keep a record of every transaction: the amount of data that represents a transaction is no more than a few hundred bytes (at most!). Since the mid-1990s there's no technical or economic reason for banks not to store the full details of every transaction indefinitely - and there is business-value in having that data.
So assuming that banks do have that data available, why do they all prohibit access to old records?
I note that most (but not all) of those banks say on their website that you can contact them to request a print-out of your statements going back an additional 2-3 years, but nothing older than that. This feels arbitrary and frustrating (and I really don't want my statements on paper!)
I would assume that being able to determine an account balance by re-running every transaction from the start would be desirable, or even required, for a bank's recordkeeping to be considered trustworthy.
I'm asking this question because I recently lost my old manually-downloaded CSV/OFX files that I downloaded every month since I opened my accounts, and I want to re-build my personal-finance database but none of my banks offer any records older than 2014 or even 2018, which is annoying.