January 26th, 2013

Opening a bank account with gold

Hi all, maybe someone who knows about banking can help out with this one.

I have character who can travel "magically" (irrelevant how) between two "universes". In one verse, he is a lesser prince (the youngest son of a King) in a medieval, Games of Thrones/Tolkien-like society. The other verse is our modern world (this decade) where he has fallen in love with a girl. He wants to move in with her but still has access to the other universe. It is supposed to be in the US, but they could relocate somewhere else in the world (my character might want to at some point, he dislikes cities). Documents will be forged for him to justify his existence in our world. When he travels between universes, anything he is wearing or carrying comes with him, so I thought he could bring some gold or silver with his from his kingdom to use as money in our modern world.

My question is: what would the banker say if you walk in the bank wanting to open an account with a gold bar worth several thousand dollars?
There are two things to consider here:
1. The Gold Bar
Very unusual to show up with a gold bar, I'd say.
a) How could he justify owning a gold bar? When would you encounter such things in the modern world? This could help me also in finding a "job" for him in our society. He has led a lordly lifestyle so far but is willing to adapt.
b) Would it be easier if he brings jewellery and he says they were family heirlooms? I think in this case the bank would give you a safe box rather than an account and from what I've googled it seems you need to have an account set up to have this service.
2. Limit
Apparently there is a limit (I've seen 10k, 8k and even 5k quoted) amount of money transferred that would raise a flag and would get you reported for tax/terrorist/money laundering. I have opened bank accounts in my life but I don't recall if they ask you initially where you got your money from. Would a large amount still raise a flag if you are opening the account? Can you handwave to the bank how you got your money?

Googled various term with "gold bar" but got information on how to buy one rather than how to use it after you've got it, "open bank account large sum", "jewelry safe box bank"
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