The bank froze my business account - AND told me to leave

Profile picture of the author Shamir Rele by
Hi Warriors,

Please listen, and listen carefully. I am a CPA marketer and I use Lloyds TSB (business banking) in the UK. Now even though Lloyds TSB is a UK bank, this may affect everybody who is making money online.

This is not a short post. On the 29th March, I tried to log into my online bank. Turns out that they had frozen my account. The reason? They didn't give me one. They said: "we need supporting evidence to show proof of income". By the way, they did not inform or warn me of the freeze. No phone call, letter or email. They just did it - on a suspicious hunch. And they also tell me that it has already been frozen for one week. I just didn't know.

I tried to rationalize in my own mind. Since my Lloyds business account ONLY had money coming in for a while, it looked odd. This account has been open since May last year. However, I explained to the bank that my expenses were being relinquished from my Lloyds personal account, as this year has been a transitionary period for me. Hence money is leaving the personal account, and income is going into the business account. And this was about to change. He understood.

Of course, my initial response to this whole thing was anger. However, I proceeded to contact the CPA networks I mainly work with (Maxbounty, CX Digital, and 3 others) who all emailed me the breakdown of the last months transactions along with a short nice paragraph stating "we value your business" all in PDF format.

I sent these over invoices to the bank via email they provided. So now, I'm calling the bank EVERY day to find out what the situation is. The general tone everyday for 5 days was is "they have received your documents and are reviewing it currently". I spoke to a different person in the business department EVERY day. I made a note of ALL their names, the dates, and what they said. Some were pleasant - others didn't give a crap. It was horrible and frustrating. Remember, I am calling them here, They are NOT calling me or contacting me at all.

To top this off, I've recently moved to New Jersey (got married last November, been here for 6 months) and so my bank is in reality 4000 miles away. I am originally from London, UK.

I went through 2 weekends of NOT have any access to my money including easter weekend. The bank would not even let me talk to the investigative department. I wasn't allowed to.

April 11th & 12th and they tell me that they will call me at the end of the day with a response. Not that I will have access, just... a response. Pathetic. But I received NO phone call. No email.

April 13th, I try logging in, and it now appears I have access again. So the info I gave them must have been sufficient. But they did NOT call me to tell me, it was unfrozen -- again -- I found out myself.

Now my mother calls me up from London, and Lloyds have sent a letter to me to my London address, saying this: 2012-04-14_1121 - ShamirRele's library

They are basically telling me to leave them! They told me to leave my 12th June and also asked me to return cheque books and cards associated with them. Unreal. They gave me NO reason for the freeze OR why they don't want me to bank with them anymore. I've already contacted a lawyer as during the freeze, I had to STOP all my marketing efforts in fear of not paying my business and personal bills. He said they owe me. Lloyds locked me out of my business account for more than 2 weeks, and I only found out 1 week in. They gave me no reason. They were not courteous enough to even contact me ONCE during this whole thing.

I want to WARN everybody who is banking with Lloyds TSB. If you are an internet marketer, or if you do ANYTHING where you receive money from different companies, or perhaps you do product launches, or whatever, please be warned. They don't seem to even want to understand the nature of my business.

Of course, I will leave Lloyds - as not only do I have no choice, but why would I want to bank with them anyhow.

If you have any advice, thoughts or anything. Please let me know. I'm not happy.. to say the least.

Shamir
#internet marketing #account #bank #business #froze #leave #money #told

  • Profile picture of the author JasonGiorgini
    That seems crazy, but if I was you I would go to a bank that wanted my business. The bank is there to serve its members, without people like you putting money into your account, they would have no money.

    Long story short, find a new bank
  • Profile picture of the author Dinospider
    Just in time. I have an appointment to open a new business bank account with Lloyds tsb.

    Not after reading that. I'll be looking elsewhere. Shocking customer service.
  • Profile picture of the author Brooke Milt
    RUN FAR AWAY! That is pure cr@p if you ask me. It's without a doubt time to get a lawyer involved.
  • Profile picture of the author thetrafficguy
    This will happen with any bank (U.S. or other) if you're operating a business.

    Yes it is horrible customer service.

    But focus on getting your money back. Then switch banks.

    But just be forewarned this is common place. Usually only happens if you have larger bank accounts, but its something you need to be aware of and be prepared for.
  • Profile picture of the author rooze
    You might want to try and find out if you're on a 'suspected persons' list. I'm not condoning their actions but financial institutions are under pressure nowadays to monitor 'suspicious' banking activity and report/respond to it.
    This is in light of terrorism, money laundering and funding terrorists - there's a lot going on in that whole industry since 9/11, the mortgage meltdown and Bernie Madoff!!
    You weren't too specific about what you were doing with passing money between your personal and business accounts and what amounts were involved, but it may well have raised a flag somewhere. Then there's your overseas travel activity which might figure in to it.
    I know this sounds paranoid but it's very real, I've read about a lot similar stuff going on in the past couple years. The fact that they didn't explain their decisions suggests they were acting in compliance with a legal directive instructing them not to disclose certain types of information.
    Your attorney may be able to get them to release the information and I think it's important that you employ him/her to do so, so you know where you stand.
  • Profile picture of the author Shamir Rele
    Originally Posted by thetrafficguy View Post

    This will happen with any bank (U.S. or other) if you're operating a business.

    Yes it is horrible customer service.

    But focus on getting your money back. Then switch banks.

    But just be forewarned this is common place. Usually only happens if you have larger bank accounts, but its something you need to be aware of and be prepared for.
    A friend of mine almost had the same situation with a non-mainstream American bank, however, once you've explained your situation (ie. the business you are in, how you receive money, irregular patterns, etc) they will leave it alone.

    I did explain this to Lloyds when opening the account, but the truth is they are so archaic and very impersonal. They don't give a ****.
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    The bank is there to serve its members
    No - the bank is there to make a profit by serving members. Increasingly, CPA payments are viewed with suspicion. With a very traditional bank, this could be the reason. Concerns for legal details can make them suspicious and they think like bankers, not like marketers.

    Suck it up - get your money out and move to a different bank.
  • Profile picture of the author Shamir Rele
    Originally Posted by rooze View Post

    You might want to try and find out if you're on a 'suspected persons' list. I'm not condoning their actions but financial institutions are under pressure nowadays to monitor 'suspicious' banking activity and report/respond to it.
    This is in light of terrorism, money laundering and funding terrorists - there's a lot going on in that whole industry since 9/11, the mortgage meltdown and Bernie Madoff!!
    You weren't too specific about what you were doing with passing money between your personal and business accounts and what amounts were involved, but it may well have raised a flag somewhere. Then there's your overseas travel activity which might figure in to it.
    I know this sounds paranoid but it's very real, I've read about a lot similar stuff going on in the past couple years. The fact that they didn't explain their decisions suggests they were acting in compliance with a legal directive instructing them not to disclose certain types of information.
    Your attorney may be able to get them to release the information and I think it's important that you employ him/her to do so, so you know where you stand.
    Thank you... I will. My lawyer will be starting on Monday. I know why it raised flags - the amounts coming into the account were 3-4 figures at a time from CPA networks. I do make international payments from insidethe Lloyds account to Amex to pay for my business expenses every month. THEY KNOW this. They see it on their screen.

    And sure, every 2 months or so, I pay myself some money (to a Bank of America account) to live on. To pay rent, and general bills. They can also see that. Seriously, they may have me on a list. I don't know. But I got nothing to hide. I've been open and honest with them. They did not to their due diligence at all. They are just suspicious - and have appalling customer service.

    Living the internet marketing lifestyle means you want to travel. Make money here, and spend over there. Clearly, Lloyds are living in the Brick & Mortar world.
  • Profile picture of the author DanMurray
    Oh dear. Hope you get this sorted. I know a guy that had troubles with his bank before...it really sucks!

    Hope you get it sorted,

    Daniel
  • Profile picture of the author Cecil Dee
    Have your lawyer on their a**es. In my view it doesn't matter what their thoughts are with respect to this, suspicious, terrorism or otherwise. If there was no just levy or some court order to freeze your account or anything like that I'm fairly certain you legally had some of your rights violated w/o a doubt.
  • Profile picture of the author ProServices
    This is really bad. I've heard these horror stories from friends who have had other bank accounts and paypal accounts frozen.

    Banks/paypal should realize that most of us IMers learn as much as they can from Forums like this one, buy some wso's and join some coaching programs. This is an investment of our time and money which will hopefully generate income for us. So most of us work harder in IM than those working the normal 9-5 job.
  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    I never heard of bank accounts being frozen due to online work at home activities. This is really weird.

    I would either do 2 things here.

    1. Think of a positive outcome with the bank and wait a few more days.

    2. Or worst case scenerio, you just dump them and move to another bank. Make sure that you are not doing any "illegal" activity in the future. Maybe your bank now thinks that way.
  • Profile picture of the author Eduard Stinga
    Wow, I was actually thinking of opening a new bank account here in the UK, Lloyds was one of my options. Not anymore.

    Guess I have to be extremely happy with my home bank from Romania, ING - I once had a big problem let's say, customer support was excellent, got informed about the situation, got e-mails, phone calls from them, everything. It goes without saying that my problem was solved in a few days.
  • Profile picture of the author azmanar
    Hi,

    UK is quite famous for it's more liberal banking policies than others in Europe. Lately, British offshore banking services in Virgin Island were making headlines as a great safe haven for a lot of things, including grey areas.

    So it is very strange to hear that Lloyds is regressing. Could this be some sort of racial profiling that triggered some alarms at MI5's bureau?

    If you can, go for Stanchart or HSBC or Citibank. They are just about everywhere in the world and great banking services.
  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    The Feds don't trust "work at home". In fact, if I remember correctly, PayPal even has TOS against "work at home" and "mlm".

    Never mind that most of us "work at home" anyway. It is just that it is believed that most online scams are wrapped in "work at home" terminology.

    But the fact here is that you raised suspicions by having money come into your business account, without money leaving your business account.

    You were paying your business expenses from your personal account instead of your business account. That raised eyebrows.

    They were viewing each account as independent, unconnected accounts. And your business account was receiving income without any outgoing expenses.

    It smelled strongly of money laundering.

    Add to that the fact that you know longer lived in the UK, but lived in America, and you account looks like you are laundering money.

    Any bank would have likely flipped on you.

    My advice. When you start receiving money to your business account, then start paying for your expenses out of the same account.
  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    Well with money going out of your personal account and money going into your business account they might have felt you were trying to launder money. After they realized you were not they gave you access again.

    The letter might have been sent before they finished their investigation or they do not fully understand what the internet and making a living from the internet is all about.

    Either way, switch banks immediately!
  • Profile picture of the author mrinternational
    You might want to read super freakonomics book. It's an international best seller you might have heard about. It talks about a lot of different topics that intertwine but it has a section about I think it was a mathematician that worked for a bank that he created an algorithm based on suspicious transactions. Basically if you met certain criteria, your account would set off an alarm to have a human analyze it and then it would get sent to the authorities to have a closer look.

    It was developed to help spot terrorists before they committed an attack.Turns out that it is very effective. The bad part is that even though it is 99.97% accurate that 0.03% of the general population that is not a terrorist still pays for others" freedom"

    Another good book to work your way around that is called the laundrymen. It basically tells you what money launderers do to avoid getting caught and even though you have nothing to hide it opens your eyes to what you can do to avoid a sticky situation like the one you have just described.

    I really recommend you read those 2 books. It will avoid you many headaches if you deal that kind of money (large sums)
  • Profile picture of the author Same
    Sorry, I haven't read all your post, but I understood that your account was frozen by LloydsTSB right. So let me tell you my story.

    I was having an LloydsTSB business account.I was getting payments from my clients, and affiliate networks, one day I've been banned. They said my account is under review until there is on-going investigation. After few weeks I received a letter that my bank account is closed, no reason given. ( In few weeks I received 20+ payments, all was accepted by bank no returns. ) I came to bank to take out all money, and guess what ( there was some fraudulent payments come to my account ) so they took that money, showed documentation from where come and gave me insurance claim form. Then I asked them about my other payments ( statement wasn't showing any ) and if I will can use lloyds again. So they made a call and simple answer - there wasn't any payments made during this and this period and also said that this is final decision.

    Only after 3 MONTHS I get back my money.

    Lloyds sucks guys, don't use it, run from there immediately
  • Profile picture of the author Halcyon
    Several years ago I had trouble with my bank. Nothing as horrible as what you described but enough to make me tighten up my business financial strategy. So I feel your pain.

    I suggest before you open your account in US, register an LLC or S-corp, sole proprietorships are always getting screwed over by banks. Second, choose a bank where you can open the account personally with the manager. This can either be a small branch of a big bank or a small bank.

    We spend so much time networking with other marketers but we often forget to network with the most important people...the folks who handle our money.

    But since the IM business model is relatively new and so wrought with fraudsters, it's only to your benefit that you get to know your banker.

    Even though 100% of my transactions can be handled online, I still make a point to go into the office once per month. I congratulate the tellers on their babies and send the manager a gift basket on his anniversary. As a result, I seldom stand in line and no matter how slight the problem I always receive a phone call.

    I know this does not help your current situation but it's something to keep in mind as you move forward.
  • Profile picture of the author Steven Sauve
    Hi Shamir,

    Please note that we can pay you other ways, so that you can still continue with your marketing. We can offer you payment through PayPal, Payoneer pre-paid Mastercard, and ACH payments now that you are in the US.

    Feel free to let me know if I can help further, or give Adam a shout.

Next Topics on Trending Feed