NEW YORK, January 12, 2017 – Amalgamated Bank, the nation’s leading progressive bank and a strong supporter of the New York municipal ID, joined the growing outcry and defended New York City’s decision to stop retaining documents used to obtain municipal ID cards in a brief filed in New York State Supreme Court in Richmond County. In the filing, the bank specifically refuted arguments from opponents who falsely claimed that document destruction would prevent investigations of fraud and other financial crimes. Banks have their own responsibilities and procedures, set out by the federal and state governments, which help them monitor transactions and detect financial crimes. In fact, the eventual destruction of documents by New York City will not affect the bank’s ability to fight against financial crimes, because of the myriad identity verification tools used which do not rely on the city’s records of documents used to obtain municipal ID cards.
“We can all see what this is about, and it’s deeply troubling that the incoming administration wants to pervert an important program designed to help our immigrant and under-banked communities,” said Keith Mestrich, CEO and President of Amalgamated Bank. “It is obscene to claim protecting the identities of law abiding people so they are not targeted by a politicized agenda is somehow a threat to our banking institutions. We proudly stand with the Mayor and other reasonable and responsible institutions who will fight to protect these hard working people.”
Both federal and state regulators have described the municipal ID card as an acceptable form of ID to verify a customer’s identity. Even as the municipal ID program was initially developed, New York City officials went to significant lengths to ensure the resulting ID cards would comply with the Bank Secrecy Act’s requirements, regardless of the documentation preserved by the city.
Amalgamated Bank is a longtime supporter of the municipal ID program, and firmly believes in its ability to help bring New Yorkers who are either underbanked or completely unserved into a stronger financial ecosystem. Amalgamated Bank currently accepts municipal IDs from customers applying for an account in-person. After nearly two years of accepting the municipal ID, Amalgamated Bank has not seen evidence of the financial crimes predicted by opponents.
About Amalgamated Bank
For nearly a century, Amalgamated Bank has been the most trusted financial institution for progressive people and organizations. By helping those who do good do better, we work to help make the world more just, compassionate and sustainable. Our extensive experience, financial resources and community of like-minded customers offers labor unions, philanthropies, political campaigns, socially and environmentally responsible corporations, as well as individuals, a unique set of financial services enabling them to lead the charge to improve our communities and our country.