Bank’s Overcautious Approach Puts Man’s Life in Turmoil

A man with a slight mental impairment but fully capable of handling his affairs faced an unexpected ordeal when his bank, out of excessive caution, made it impossible for him to manage his own money. The 53-year-old man from central Bohemia spent three weeks without access to his account. The bank’s officials ignored him for over a year, choosing to communicate exclusively with his guardian, even though there was no reason for such an approach.

The bank officials failed to understand that the court had assigned him a guardian not to manage his savings but to act as an assistant or advisor whose assistance he could use. As a result, a non-traditional dispute ended up on the desk of the ombudsman Stanislav Křeček. The situation changed Only after his intervention, and the man was allowed to manage his accounts independently.

The man faced issues with his own money twice. The first time was when he wanted to close his savings and open a new account. The bank insisted that his guardian handle the process despite his insistence that he didn’t need her. The situation escalated when the man’s payment card expired. The bank issued a new one but mailed it to the guardian’s address, where she no longer lived.

Bank officials didn’t understand that the new civil code allows the court to assign a guardian to a person who can manage their own affairs. For example, the guardian plays the role of an assistant for someone who is slightly mentally impaired or who grew up in an orphanage and has nowhere to go for advice. This is the case for our client,” said Hana Charvátová from the Tloskov Home for People with Mental Disabilities on Benešovsko.

The ombudsman emphasized that a person with a designated guardian can fully handle not only their money but is capable of all legal acts if they are legally recognized as capable. “In these cases, it is necessary to view the guardian similarly as a proxy who acts on behalf of the client based on power of attorney,” explained Křeček.