Money Laundering Crisis

Often on this blog I talk about our ‘increasingly interconnected global economy’. Products are shipped around the world and wire money transactions are constantly taking place. The money transfers are vital for businesses that rely on international customers. This is the case for many business owners in Mexico who rely on American customers. Whether it is a restaurant owners or cattle sellers, many Mexicans rely on transactions with Americans daily, and the most effective method to transfer money legally is by having accounts in American banks.

Recently while I was driving I heard story on NPR that Chase Bank has been has been attempting to comply with the US anti-money-laundering regulations by closing the accounts of several small-business owners on the Mexican side of the border.  By sharing the stories of a restaurant owner and cattle importer who have been impacted by this new policy I immediately sympathized. Here were legitimate businesses that hadn’t committed any crime, yet they were still being punished. Furthermore the cattle importer, Juan Carlos Ochoa, made the valid point that if he couldn’t keep a bank account at Chase, he would be forced to deal with messy paper money transactions. These would be far me difficult to keep records on and could ultimately increase the concern of money laundering, counterproductive of the initial intent to reduce money laundering.

I was convinced. By the end of the 5 minute story, I not only sympathized with the business owners but felt upset about the injustice.

The following day as an AP Language and Composition student currently learning about rhetorical analysis, I felt the urge to break apart the argument and analyze how it had appealed to me as an audience member. I realized that I was initially intrigued by the story because it played on my ethos. The interview of Alicia Martin, the restaurant owner, made me want to continue to learn about the issue. Later, Juan Carlos Ochao appealed to my logos by making the clear point that paper money transactions leave more room for error than a wire transaction. Furthermore, credibility was added to the story because it analyzed both sides of the issue. The story not only supported the Mexican business owners suffering from the new policy but also examined the difficulty bank owners are facing as they try to reduce money laundering and not cracking down on the wrong businesses. Either they hurt many people including innocent business owners, or the banks themselves face steep fines.

Overall, I appreciate NPR’s practiced and educated way of making a complex argument.


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