Romania, where not even the banks understand capitalism

An associate of mine is out of town at the moment and asked me to go to the bank and pay off a small debt that they had, and promised to repay me upon their return.

I said, “Sure, no problem.”

[[Fast forward to inside bank]]

“Hello, friendly lady at the teller window,” I said. “I came to give you money to put in blah-blah-blah’s account and here’s the blah-blah-blah number and other information.”

“Found it,” she said. “Now let me see some ID.”

“Don’t have it.”

“Too bad, so sad. That’s Romanian banking law. You can’t give us money without showing ID.”

“But I’m not here to withdraw money, only give you money to pay off your customer’s debt.”

“Doesn’t matter. Look, I have this screen on my computer here and I have to fill out all of your information before it’ll let me move on.”

“Okay, I’ll just tell you who I am,” I said.

“Nope, still won’t work. Without an ID you can’t sign the paper receipt because I have to witness that it was you.”

“What receipt?”

“When you deposit cash, you have to sign for a paper receipt. It’s Romanian banking law.”

“Are you saying that you don’t trust your computer system to work?” I asked.

*long pause*

“So unless you break the law, I can’t deposit money in their account right now?” I asked, seeing how far she’d go.

She nodded, a strange crinkle in her eye. “Listen,” she said, using English for the first time. “I know but this is Romania. What can we do?”


“I’m about to make you a bad girl then,” I said.

With a dramatic wink, I set the cash on the counter and slowly backed away, raising my index finger to my lips, the universal symbol for “If you won’t tell, I won’t tell”.

I glanced around at the other workers, including the elderly security guard dressed in baggy brown trousers, nodding at all of them as I assured them it would be all right.

As I got within a step of the door, I suddenly turned and bolted full speed at the exit, bursting into the sunlight as I congratulated myself once again for choosing to live in this hilarious country.

15 thoughts on “Romania, where not even the banks understand capitalism

  1. Sorry Sam, not your best effort mate. AML (anti money laundrey regulations in the EU are quite strict because unlike the US, the EU can’t afford to wiretap every single person in it’s jurisdiction [i.e. over 500 million people]). Keep up the good work though I like reading your blog, I hope you don’t take this personally.


  2. In the USA, you will be asked to show ID if you deposit cash in an amount over the bank’s rules on the subject. Their limit is usually $3000-5000. Federal law requires ID to be obtained for large deposits, and any account which has deposits totalling $10,000 or more in a single week must be reported to the government.

    This is to prevent money laundering. However, smaller deposits are excluded. Anyone can make a small deposit/payment to anyone else’s account… as long as they have the account number.


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