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Guide to Bank Affidavits

By Mike Zaccardi, CMT, CFA · June 15, 2022 · 7 minute read

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Guide to Bank Affidavits

A bank affidavit is a legal document that proves a person’s relationship with a financial institution. An affidavit can also help in matters of financial fraud and with the immigration process. It does this through the use of official signatories and witnesses to assure proper document completion. Typically, banks and embassies are places to find a bank affidavit document.

Bank affidavits can be a vital tool. Keeping your account secure from financial fraud is a growing concern, and the immigration process can be aided by proving an applicant’s financial health. These are common reasons to request a bank account affidavit.

Here, learn more about bank affidavits, including the answers to these questions:

•   What is a bank affidavit?

•   Why is a bank affidavit needed?

•   How can I write a bank affidavit?

•   Where can I get a bank affidavit?

What Is a Bank Affidavit?

A bank affidavit is a legal document that attests to someone’s relationship with a financial institution. A bank or credit union can verify certain aspects of a person’s financial activities with this document. A bank affidavit is commonly used for investigative cases of potentially fraudulent activity or in matters involving an immigration application.

Incidentally, you may also sometimes hear the phrase self-proving affidavit. This is somewhat different; it’s a document that can be created when making a will. It helps prove the validity of a will. While an important legal document, it’s not the same thing as a bank affidavit.

Banking customers might wonder what is a bank affidavit and how it is created. When requesting this legal document, you must appear at a bank and have the affidavit completed and signed by an authorized individual of the bank or credit union. A bank affidavit often requires at least one witness to assure the accuracy and completeness of all required information.

A bank affidavit is often used to protect customers from nefarious individuals seeking to swindle people out of their savings. This document can be used to assert that fraudulent transactions were conducted and are not the responsibility of the bank customer (aka the victims of the crime). Beyond fraud cases, immigration applications sometimes request proof of financial support, and a bank affidavit helps provide that documentation.

How Does a Bank Affidavit Work?

A bank affidavit works by providing official verification of a person’s or business’ financial account holdings and their relationship with a bank or credit union. This is similar to the process used with an affidavit of title in the home-buying process.

According to the Offices of the United States Attorneys, an affidavit is a written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it. Affidavits must be notarized or administered by an officer of the court with such authority.

A bank affidavit in particular works by attesting to certain financial details of a person or legal entity. Banking representatives are the signatories, while witnesses assure that the details are correct and that the document is completed properly. This process goes a long way in proving the financial standing of the account holder or immigration applicant. These documents can help move matters along through the proper channels, especially in cases of suspected fraud or in the immigration process.

Once completed, the bank affidavit should be securely stored, perhaps in a safe or bank account deposit box. You likely want to be sure that only individuals you trust and who are authorized to view your personal information have access to the document. Also bear in mind that when this sort of legal filing is handled by the court system and other government agencies, they are obligated to keep it confidential. Authorized officials must act in a manner to assure your personal information stays private.

Reasons Why Someone Needs a Bank Affidavit

A bank affidavit is necessary when instances of financial crime are suspected, as well as for immigration purposes. Here’s a closer look.

•   Financial crime: Fraudulent activity is a serious white-collar crime in today’s banking world, and financial institutions must take steps to ensure the safety of customer accounts. It’s worthwhile to bank with a financial institution that uses strict fraud protection and security control measures so that you have the best possible security for your accounts.

   When needing a bank affidavit, a customer requests a legal document from the financial institution that cites the fraudulent transactions. The affidavit often indicates that financial damages as a result of the malicious activity are not the responsibility of the banking customer in a statement of unauthorized debt. The bank affidavit can then be used in a court of law if any further legal action be taken. Moreover, the affidavit is helpful in a situation involving a business that’s being targeted for illegal financial activity.

•   Immigration issues: Immigration applicants seeking to legally prove financial support commonly request a bank affidavit, too. In these instances, a bank affidavit demonstrates that a person can financially support the immigrant. The affidavit is also used to outline the individual’s bank account information and holdings. (People with a poor credit history can also open a second chance checking account to begin improving their financial footing.)

   In the immigration process, a bank affidavit is used to prove that the applicant can financially support themself with monetary savings and with financial help from family and friends. Those who cannot demonstrate a solid financial footing might get turned down due to the possibility that they will wind up needing welfare programs.

How to Write an Affidavit

If you need to write an affidavit, here are the five steps to follow:

1.    Visit a bank or a credit union if you need the affidavit for financial matters. In cases of immigration, you may also travel to a country’s embassy to find blank forms to fill out.

2.    Complete the form to the best of your ability and request assistance from bank representatives or embassy officials for any information you are unsure about. It can be helpful to have the institution fill out the form to avoid mistakes.

3.    After the bank affidavit form is properly filled out and the details are verified for their accuracy, ensure that all necessary signatures are on it and that witnesses attest to the affidavit’s completion.

4.    Create a copy of the legal document and store it in a secure location. This provides a backup should the original get lost, stolen, or damaged.

5.    Immigration applicants can keep a bank affidavit as a receipt to help expedite their process.

Where Can I Get a Bank Affidavit?

You can visit a bank or credit union branch to request a bank affidavit. However, not all locations may have the necessary individuals available to provide the required signatures. It can be worthwhile to check in about this in advance. This legal document is usually available at a nation’s embassy, too.

You must complete the form and sign where indicated. It is sometimes preferable to have the banking or embassy officials fill out the form as much as possible to avoid incorrect details on the document.

The Takeaway

Bank affidavits can be important tools if you are trying to clear up fraudulent activity on your account or if you are working your way through immigration procedures. These forms will need to be carefully filled out, signed, and witnessed, but they play a vital role in certain circumstances. Your financial institution or embassy can partner with you to get this document completed.

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How do I write a bank affidavit?

Visit a bank or an embassy to request a form. You will need signatures from certain officials and likely will need witnesses to the document being completed. It might be easier to have the institution write the bank affidavit for you to prevent any inaccuracies or other errors.

Why do banks ask for an affidavit?

Banks might ask for an affidavit to prove certain details associated with their customers. A common reason a bank affidavit is necessary involves situations where a checking or savings account was used fraudulently. Also, a bank might want the assurance that an immigration applicant has a good financial standing.

Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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