Major US Banks Closing Border Branches to Fight Money Laundering
“As more money continues to flow into the pockets of Mexican drug cartels, traffickers need to maintain a solid network of places—often along the southwest border—where they can launder drug money. However, in an attempt to stymie these efforts, several major US banks have been closing numerous branches in the region and shutting down hundreds of customer accounts.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the Arizona border town of Nogales, population 21,000, is feeling the financial pinch most strongly. In the past several months, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.-owned Banamex USA have shut a total of four branches in Nogales, almost halving the number in town owned by big US banks, per the Journal. Separately, hundreds of Chase and Wells Fargo & Co. customers, some of them second- and third-generation business owners, have had their bank accounts closed.