Chase rule change prompts fears here

The U.S. central government is moving to seize private bank accounts and send those who object to concentration camps in Utah, according to some conspiracy theories making the rounds.

The panic, mainly among those who were anti-government in the first place, stems from a change in banking rules by JPMorgan Chase. The bank sent out a notice Oct. 9 that said certain business customers would not be able to send international wire transfers after Nov. 17. The change affects those with the lowest level of business account.

The letter came from Donna Vieira, identified as a senior vice president of Chase online banking.

Some expats in Costa Rica quickly feared that this could mean there were to be no wire transfers from any bank,  The fact that U.S. government finances are at least shaky made the account seizure rumor even more believable.

What Chase appears to be doing is reducing its legal exposure by restricting accounts that seldom send any overseas wire transfers. The letter said that the recipients probably would not be affected based on the history of their account.

Banks face big penalties if they do not keep a tight grip on accounts to avoid money laundering.

Chase also instituted a $50,000 monthly activity limit on these same accounts.

However, as Forbes Magazine online noted, by paying $20 a month to upgrade these accounts a customer is spared the new restrictions.

Some small credit unions and similar financial institutions also might be affected by these rules if they run their wire transfers through Chase.

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