Q: Banking help for person from United States that is stuck in Canada from pandemic shutdown.
There is a friend that is stuck in Canada still from the Clovid-19 lockdown. While in Canada the person had their bank account in the United states suspended due to , the bank says, fraudulent activity. The company this person works for can only deposit money earned to bank account. Meanwhile my friend has talked to the bank and the bank won't help unless you show up in person. So all the time in Canada, there are accrued motel bills. Is there any legal way I can help my friend get their pay so they can take care of the motel bill and get back home to their family.
A: Banks have systems that "red flag" accounts when certain events happen, such as uncommon account usage or access from new locations. Banks will have procedures in place to identify the person and ensure that there is no identity theft. Depending on her bank, talking to someone that can resolve the situation may be easier or not. Smaller banks where the account officer knows the customer well and can identify her over the phone by asking her questions only she should know, would be enough. Another alternative, is for her to have a power of attorney executed in Canada, in favor of a friend in the US that can go to the bank and be entitled to talk on her behalf. A Michigan attorney could explain to you if under Michigan law the bank must accept the power of attorney. This would require the expense of an attorney in Canada and probably one in Michigan. Another option, which I recommend, is to contact her local Senator or Representative to Congress (State or Federal). The office of the Senator or Representative can contact the bank directly to resolve this problem, or they can get the FDIC involved. The advantage of going through her politically elected representatives is that the banks have a shorter period within which to resolve this issue, just a few days. She can check her representatives' websites and might even be able to fill-out a request for help online. She can also contact directly the FDIC and file a complaint, but the bank would have a longer period of time to take care of the matter.
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