Follow-up: A credit check to open a savings account?

This afternoon I called Equifax to have my security freeze temporarily lifted.  I was still mulling over – why would this credit union require a credit check when I am opening a savings account only?  And then it struck me, is this because of the PATRIOT Act?

I called the credit union after placing my request with Equifax.  The individual who called me yesterday was unavailable and I left a message for her.

Two hours later I called again and she answered the telephone. I explained to her the security freeze either has already been lifted or will take up to three business days to be lifted per Equifax.  And I told her when the freeze would be reinstated.  Then I asked some questions.

Why does the credit union require a credit check to open a savings account?  Her response,  to ensure the name, date of birth and social security number match.  Then I probed deeper.  Is this because of the PATRIOT Act?  She stated, in essence, yes.  I then asked, has anyone’s application to open a savings account ever been denied based on his/her credit report?  She responded, not to her knowledge.

Then she told me, if I wanted to open a checking account (more than three months after the credit check for the savings account), the credit union would need to conduct another credit check.  This representative remarked the credit union would be looking for certain types of negative information.  Huh?  I don’t have any first-hand knowledge but do banks report to the credit reporting agencies if an individual bounces a lot of checks?  I’m trying to figure out, what else would be relevant to a bank for the purpose of approving or disapproving a request to open a checking account?  With a checking account, you are not asking the bank to LOAN you money. 

It’s just REALLY creepy and intrusive that financial institutions, such as this credit union, will review your credit report when you are opening a savings or checking account.

And, let me say, I had to provide a PHOTO ID with my savings account application.  My name, address and date of birth are listed on my driver’s license.  And, though not required (but I had to show proof of membership eligibility,) I provided a redacted copy of my pay stub which lists my name and address.  So, having provided these two pieces of information, the fact that a credit union NONETHELESS wants to check out my credit report – excessive and abusive.



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