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Old 01-17-2012, 11:05 AM   #1
Kano
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HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

Got a phone call from the manager of my local branch last week inquiring into some payments in & out of my account. He said he was already aware I played poker for a living given the regular withdrawals to my account for the last 3+ years. He wanted to ask what my relationship was to a couple of close friends of mine who also play poker for a living and why I need to send/receive money from them. I won a live MTT recently for 60k+ euros, they had a piece and I shipped it to them from my bank account (standard?). I explained all this to him and he understood, explaining he was getting it off head office. I have banked here for 16 years btw, joining them when I was 10! He said that is fine and thanks for honesty etc., but to calm down on the account transfers as they don't like it. I receive a phone call today from him, to inform me that head office have sent down a 'Close Account' notice. he said I would be receiving details in the post, but he was just calling to give me a heads up on the whole thing. He said I will have two months then everything will be closed, apologising & explaining it all came from head office. I am shocked quite frankly, and was informed there is no appeal process.

Like to hear if this has happened to anybody else?

What UK bank should I be looking to join now?
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:10 AM   #2
JayC170
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

wow that's ridiculous..I'm also with HSBC and withdraw large amounts regualrly....might be time to consider switching too if this is the attitude they have.

gl finding a new account
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:11 AM   #3
L0stInADream
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

Wow that is weird... Maybe Barclays or Natwest.. thats who I'm with and have had no problems.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:17 AM   #4
Kano
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

JayC - ty

L0st - When you joined them, did you list your occupation as poker player?
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:26 AM   #5
pmarrsouth
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

UK are very strict with regards to Money Laundering issues (obv not saying that you were when transferring to friends, but might look to them). Prolly closed for AML reasons for xers, rather than deposits and withdrawals from sites. Your bank manager seemed pretty open about it, so give him a call back and ask of this was to do with the xfers.

Might take his answer into consideration when u open a Barclays, or whatever, account when paying out wins to stakers.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

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Originally Posted by pmarrsouth View Post
UK are very strict with regards to Money Laundering issues (obv not saying that you were when transferring to friends, but might look to them). Prolly closed for AML reasons for xers, rather than deposits and withdrawals from sites. Your bank manager seemed pretty open about it, so give him a call back and ask of this was to do with the xfers.

Might take his answer into consideration when u open a Barclays, or whatever, account when paying out wins to stakers.
he shouldn't really say anything about this as he could be accused of "tipping off", a criminal offence.

btw the concerns are almost def with the account being used for the "layering" stage of money laundering, where money is moved through various accounts to disguise its origin.

Last edited by davmcg; 01-17-2012 at 11:37 AM. Reason: a bit more
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:33 AM   #7
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

This is nothing to do with playing poker, it is legal and they dont care. There is some other reason - if you're legit and really sure your friends are legit then dont let it drop. 'there is no appeal' may be technically true but its basically rubbish, be persistant. The top level of problem sorters is normally in the chairmens office, work your way up to that level if necessary. You may have trouble opening an account elsewhere so this is probably something you cant just let drop.

If on the other hand you or your friends have been doing something dodgy then be a bit scared as they will probably have reported you to the authorities.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:50 AM   #8
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kano View Post

L0st - When you joined them, did you list your occupation as poker player?
I am with HSBC and have large amounts going in and out from pretty much only poker sites i signed up with them when i was a student but ive been with them 6 years now and have never had any issues suprises me alot that they are trying to close your account i would go with Barclays or Natwest had bad experiences in the past with Lloyds
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:29 PM   #9
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

I am with HSBC and never had any problems - I think it was the transfers that got flagged and caused your problems.

Juk
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:55 PM   #10
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

Your contact at the bank sounds like a standup dude. Id ask him for some off the record recommendations for a new bank.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:06 PM   #11
Aek203
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

If you're looking to get a new bank account avoid Halifax. I bank with them and they cancel my card about once a month due to using the card for gambling transactions. It's pretty annoying having to ring them every month to get it reactivated and they say there is nothing they can do to stop it.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:20 PM   #12
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

HSBC also closed my bank account and told me I was never allowed to open another account there just because I used the account to deposit and withdraw to pokersites.

Last edited by sleepingtom; 01-17-2012 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:33 PM   #13
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

sign up with moneybookers.. deposit to moneybookers and they dep/withdraw on poker sites using moneybookers then into your bank. No issues with using that for poker or large p2p transfers either
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:43 PM   #14
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

oh man that sounds disastrous. i just opened up my hsbc account 5 months ago and am planning on doing some similar large transactions with it fairly soon... so it sounds like my case would be a lot worse than yours. ****ty story op, ty for heads up.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:45 PM   #15
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

Do UK banks hate money lol? I really hate their stance of 'we don't like transfers' rather than judging the case on it's merits.

It sounds like you explained yourself well enough to your bank manager. Maybe he was unable to explain it as well to his head office. If it was me I would want to speak to them directly but this might not be possible I guess.

I'm at RBS (currently owned by us ) and haven't had problems, but I've not done many bank transfers to other players (probably no more than 2-3k).
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:48 PM   #16
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1aday View Post
sign up with moneybookers.. deposit to moneybookers and they dep/withdraw on poker sites using moneybookers then into your bank. No issues with using that for poker or large p2p transfers either
The fees for moneybookers to moneybookers account transfers are also a flat fee (which is tiny) if they are in the same currency.

My experiences with moneybookers have all been good and I would highly recommend them. They have a security token to which is awesome
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:14 PM   #17
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

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Originally Posted by JayC170 View Post
wow that's ridiculous..I'm also with HSBC and withdraw large amounts regualrly....might be time to consider switching too if this is the attitude they have.

gl finding a new account
this

Should I phone HSBC and talk about it?
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:18 PM   #18
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

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Originally Posted by Aek203 View Post
If you're looking to get a new bank account avoid Halifax. I bank with them and they cancel my card about once a month due to using the card for gambling transactions. It's pretty annoying having to ring them every month to get it reactivated and they say there is nothing they can do to stop it.
I also get this with HSBC whenever I deposit onto any Pokersite/Sports betting site.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:50 PM   #19
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

hsbc is a big joke anyways... they did not even give me an acc bc of poker... guess that just hate money... i'm with lloyds now and quite satisfied... will never ever try to open anything with hsbc again but op's story is not a big surprise to me tbh...
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:59 AM   #20
Kano
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chezlaw View Post
This is nothing to do with playing poker, it is legal and they dont care. There is some other reason - if you're legit and really sure your friends are legit then dont let it drop. 'there is no appeal' may be technically true but its basically rubbish, be persistant. The top level of problem sorters is normally in the chairmens office, work your way up to that level if necessary. You may have trouble opening an account elsewhere so this is probably something you cant just let drop.

If on the other hand you or your friends have been doing something dodgy then be a bit scared as they will probably have reported you to the authorities.
We are all 100% legitimate players, all our money comes from poker. He seemed pretty insistent that once they send out a Close Account notice, the decision is final. He said there is no appeal process and they will simply refer you to their terms and conditions whereby they can remove banking services from you at any time and for any reason it seems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jukofyork View Post
I am with HSBC and never had any problems - I think it was the transfers that got flagged and caused your problems.

Juk
Apologies If I didn't make this clear in OP, my local branch manager told me explicitly it was because of the account transfers (Called 'Bill Payments' on their system). I would be expecting problems like this if I was running a MTT stable with all kinds of activity between multiple parties constantly, but I'm simply not. I play cash games for myself, and have sold action to a few close friends for live MTTs on no more than 10 occasions. Any other transfers have been the usual stuff, to family and friends (Small amounts).

Quote:
Originally Posted by davmcg View Post
he shouldn't really say anything about this as he could be accused of "tipping off", a criminal offence.

btw the concerns are almost def with the account being used for the "layering" stage of money laundering, where money is moved through various accounts to disguise its origin.
Agree with both, although what he did probably would constitute 'tipping off' as I was supposed to find out by the letter that is in the post. He contacted me to give me 'a heads up' on the situation, and to give me early warning to start looking elsewhere and prepare for all the hassle of that. I think he is well aware I haven't done anything wrong, I live round the corner from the branch and don't have anything to hide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkFi5h View Post
Do UK banks hate money lol? I really hate their stance of 'we don't like transfers' rather than judging the case on it's merits.

It sounds like you explained yourself well enough to your bank manager. Maybe he was unable to explain it as well to his head office. If it was me I would want to speak to them directly but this might not be possible I guess.

I'm at RBS (currently owned by us ) and haven't had problems, but I've not done many bank transfers to other players (probably no more than 2-3k).
Milk - Did you state your occupation as 'Poker Player' when joining, or should I steer towards something a little bit more creative like 'Online Gaming Consultant'?

Last edited by Mike Haven; 01-18-2012 at 11:51 AM. Reason: 4 posts merged
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:15 AM   #21
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

DON'T EVER LET ANYONE ELSE TRANSFER FUNDS THROUGH YOUR ACCOUNT EVER!
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:20 AM   #22
Kano
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

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DON'T EVER LET ANYONE ELSE TRANSFER FUNDS THROUGH YOUR ACCOUNT EVER!
Where did I state that anyone has ever done this?
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:02 AM   #23
chezlaw
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kano View Post
We are all 100% legitimate players, all our money comes from poker.
Its unlikely you can know that but lets assume its true. If you do decide to push it further then dont kid yourself on this you dont want to create a storm and then find you are even unwittingly, involved with some dodgy stuff.

Quote:
He seemed pretty insistent that once they send out a Close Account notice, the decision is final. He said there is no appeal process and they will simply refer you to their terms and conditions whereby they can remove banking services from you at any time and for any reason it seems.
By no appeal process he means it doesn't fall within the domain of any regulator but that doesn't mean you cannot pursue it further although he will certainly try to persuade you you cant (no-one likes being held to account to hgher management). If you can be bothered you can make huge progress.

I have heard 'nothing can be done', 'you cant escalate it', 'my boss wont say anything I haven't' many times from senior staff at Banks, building societies, BT, Virgin media etc (even the MD of Wordperfect UK many years ago) and its never been true and several times once the right person has looked at it they have been extremely annoyed at the way their customer(s) were being mistreated.

This type of issue is particularly hard but if it was me I would seek to speak to the person who made the decision, they will almost certainly refuse and I would proceed to their boss or the head of department. The aim is to speak to someone who accepts responsibility for the decision (or is the boss of such a person) and ask for your case to be reviewed. Ask whether they have a policy against poker players which is perfectly legal, or transfers between poker players which is also perfectly legal or whether there had been a mistake in your case? - keep focused on them having made a mistake about a legitimate, loyal customer. Be polite confident and firm.

At some point it may help to make a complaint about someone refusing to speak to you or repeatedly not keeping committment you have got them to agree to. The good thing about complaints is they can be escalated and if the complaints department fails to do its job then make a complaint about the complaints department (this may sound silly but it can be very effective, I find that rather then deal with the complaint about themselves they deflect to the original complaint)

Pursue it all the way to the Directors office, there will be some high level trouble shooting team at that level. Make sure at each stage you have given the current level an adequate opportunity to investigate, update you etc. Dont be disheartened by them not doing stuff they promise to do as that will help you later.

If anyone says nothing can be done then ask them if they mean they cannot do anything or they could do soemthing but wont in your case. If the later then immediately escalate to a higher level. There is nothing that cannot actually be done, closing your account is not some great law of physics its a decision that can be made in error and can be corrected by someone senior enough.

End conversations with them having something to do which will result in them or someone else more senior contacting you. Most importantly keep a log of conversations: who when, promises both kept and broken.


a few other bits and pieces

- At senior levels apologise a bit for having to trouble them but explain how frustrated you are.

- If the usual switchboard becomes obstructive then call head office and ask for people by name.

- Dont bother with the branch chap, he cannot help and you will just be giving someone who sounds decent a hard time for nothing, you may even get him into trouble.

- If someone says something that sounds important enough or sounds like complete rubbish then ask for it in email or letter.

- part of your goal is to make its less trouble for someone senior to make sure you are dealt with then to ignore you. This is where the detailed log comes in to its own: a long list of failures to act as promised, repeated incorrect information given and several complaints will tend to get someone senior enough to insists someone a bit less senior just gets it sorted.

- if you can open an account elsewhere then its far easier to just let it go. Sometimes I just wont let them off the hook that easily but it requires purposeful bloody mindedness.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:22 AM   #24
rje8686
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

HSBC are the nut low. Trying to use your credit card abroad without getting it blocked is nearly impossible even if you warn them in advance you are going away. I get the fraud team ringing me at least twice a month for very normal purchases and one time it was because I spent 10 on lotto tickets. Just moving all my stuff over to Lloyds as I can't be bothered with HSBC anymore.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:41 AM   #25
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Re: HSBC (UK Bank) closing my account?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kano View Post
Where did I state that anyone has ever done this?
In the first post!
"He wanted to ask what my relationship was to a couple of close friends of mine who also play poker for a living and why I need to send/receive money from them."
If he asks this question it has been happening on a regular basis.
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