Italian bank regulations make cashing even US Government Checks a Nightmare!

A few days ago I received a check in the mail from the US Department of the Treasury in the amount of $ 1,200.00 (US), representing President Donald J. Trump’s Economic Impact Payment to American citizens regardless of residence in efforts to offset the many negatives of the current Pandemic.

The check arrived at my Italian address in a plain envelope by regular first class mail without a multipage letter from some US civil servant explaining in legalese the whys and wherefores of the gesture. The envelope was neither insured, nor sent by registered mail. It contained just the check, nothing more. I smiled, thinking my Italian friends would never believe me. I would have to be careful about how I break the news even to my closest of friends, so as not to sound bombastic or worse, offensive. 

I could not help but smile pleased by the simplicity and speed of the undertaking. Our Italian “President” is still knee-deep in paperwork trying to organize something similar but not for everyone, just for businessmen and the self-employed.

Yesterday, I went to my local bank where my wife and I have a joint checking account in Euro and another joint account in US dollars. I endorsed the check and handed it over to the Cashier asking that he deposit the face value amount on our US dollar account.

The cashier looked at me trying to keep a straight face and told me that recent “compliance and due diligence rules” now require Italian banks to send the check back to the issuing bank for confirmation.

“Cristo! Ma è un assegno del governo americano”! 

The check’s only valid for twelve consecutive months, I said, better give it back to me. You just gave me another good reason to go back to the good old, US of A!

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