Wednesday 8 October 2008

ATB best place to launder money in Alberta

Thanks to CaramonLS at the puck forum for reminding me to blog about this.

In my business I conduct the banking for some of my clients; in the course of a month I deal with nearly every major bank in Alberta.

I can tell you things like; RBC is the worst for business service charges, CIBC and Scotia do not have convenient locations, the TD despite their long hours always has line ups, etc…

But the most alarming discovery I have made is that the Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB) are the best place to launder money. Now, this should not to be construed that I do launder money or that I encourage it; but if I have figured it out, certainly the criminals have as well.

Case in point:

For one of my clients I deposit payroll cheques and sometimes cash (hotshot) on behalf of the employees. One particular employee deals with the ATB. His cheques were continually being held. The only explanation they gave was “that’s the way we do it”.

I asked once; “These cheques are going in on a regular basis without any NSF problems. Doesn’t that constitute a good record and further cheques should be accessible right away?” …. Answer: NO.

We then we switched to doing certified cheques for this employee, yet the issue continued. So I asked them; “Why on earth would you hold “certified funds”, they are the same as cash?” To which they said; “With the amount of cheque fraud, we must still wait for the funds to clear.” Huh? The money has already “cleared” at the bank it is drawn on.

I then asked; “What if I deposited cash?” Response; “Cash is ok.” So I asked; “What identification would I need to provide?” …. Response; “None.”
Which is odd, since at every other bank when I deposit cash to someone else’s’ account I have to produce my drivers license and they record the number. This is to prevent, discourage and track money laundering.

The ATB’s rules are encouraging businesses to move away from cheques and use cash. They have created a very friendly environment for the criminals. I wonder if it is just coincidence that they are completely regulated by the Alberta Government.


  1. Interesting. Reminds me of a book I found at Wee Book Inn called "Prairie Boys and Banksters" or something to that effect.

  2. Maybe it's just the branch you're using. My ATB branch asks me for ID when I deposit cash and that's even after I've entered my pin # at the teller's counter...