September 11, 2001, national news covered the Twin Towers being destroyed by hijacked airplanes on live television. After 9/11 the Federal Government enforced laws and regulations to better protect Americans and American industries.
On September 11, 2001, Gwendolyn was working at American State Bank. As her and coworkers finished up a 401K meeting, they were alerted to the lobby televisions. That is when total chaos ensued. The bank’s president quickly dismissed the meeting. Gwendolyn and her coworkers stared at the television helplessly as the second plane crashed into the second Twin Towers. The speaker of the 401K meeting frantically announced that she and her fellow staff had recently left New York, specifically the Twin Towers. And from Gwendolyn’s recollection, they knew a man who was currently inside of the Twin Towers.
She recalls how everyone was in panic and disbelief.
Immediately, Gwendolyn could not comprehend exactly what had happened. After early dismissal from work, she ventured to a gas station to fill up her car. That’s when the chaos hit home for her. As she pulled into the gas station, her car’s gas hand extremely close to empty, she witnessed a line about a mile long. It seemed as if everyone within the city were rushing to the gas station. This was her first encounter with the impact that 9/11 had on her immediate society.
Before 9/11, Gwendolyn described her society in Jonesboro as very easy going and trusting. As an employee at American State Bank, she also gave insight on the banking industry in small towns before 9/11.
“We didn’t do OFAC on new account customers. We did not. That was created after that,” she said, “Things were a little bit more lenient, like on identity”.
Prior to 9/11, almost anybody could open an account with a bank. The only pieces of information that person needed were: a social security card, driver’s license, and proof of residence.
Gwendolyn also said that some banks did not fully adhere to those
items for identification. Because towns were so small and trusting, some customers opened accounts under nicknames (i.e “Nikki”), without their social security numbers, without proper photo identification, and sometimes without either pieces of documentation.
The Federal Government swiftly began to enforce countless laws, regulations and guidelines following September 11, 2001. The more obvious of the changes were within the Airline industry.
An excerpt from ABC.Go.News.com reads “So are we safer in the air since 9/11? Yes, thanks to passengers like these, and also thanks to a numbing array of new security measures.” That excerpt is a synopsis of going through security to board a plane after 9/11.
Before 9/11, there were not full body scans, the list of things that you could not take onboard was next to nonexistent, and the check-in process was fairly quick and easy. The names of a flyer’s boarding pass did not have to match to names of the photo identifications letter for letter (i.e Michelle, Michele).
Although security was concerned with what passengers brought on board, the passengers were not being scrutinized.
OFAC’s, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, definition given by Treasury.Gov “is a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department charged with planning and execution of economic and trade sanctions in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives.”
Small town banks did not work extensively to confirm the identity of current or future customers. After 9/11, a bank employee is now responsible for performing what is called a Customer Information Profile check or “CIP”. This includes now running OFAC on new customers, customers receiving cash advances from an unrelated credit or debit card, or customers cashing checks that exceed $1500. Inclusive of OFAC, the non-customer must also have proper photo identification and must have his or her physical social security card or another government issued form of identification.
“Identities were scrutinized more so than ever before,” Gwendolyn said.
Being in the small town of Jonesboro, Gwendolyn said there was not a huge impact on her society here.
“I think probably the biggest impact was on the banking industry. You know, since we don’t have a… a airport you know” Gwendolyn said.
She has been working in banking industry for more than twenty years and she has not experienced the banking industry as heavily regulated as it is now.
Gwendolyn continued saying “It seems to continue to become stricter and stricter. Now people are losing their jobs if they aren’t running OFAC and… really sticking to the CIP guidelines. 9/11 had a true impact on us here.”