Bank of America is now offering credit cards to people who have no social security number. Most of the people who benefit will be illegal immigrants, but those who are still grumpy about the fact that social security numbers were supposed to be used exclusively for pensions might want to give the cards a whirl. The cards have an initial credit limit of $500, and are issued only after customers have maintained an account with the bank for three months.
Inevitably, controversy followed the bank's announcement on Tuesday. The predictable anti-illegal immigration hollerer Lou Dobbs called the policy "outrageous." Bank of America says it has been careful not to run afoul of banking and anti-terrorism laws, which permit the use of other identification numbers for taxpayers.
From the L.A. Times: "The push has little, if anything, to do with grand political gestures. It's about profits. "If we don't disproportionately grow in the Hispanic [market] … we aren't going to grow" at all, [said] consumer and small-business banking chief Liam McGee."
More on the "nine-digit nightmare" here.