Although the Bank of America claims its new policy of issuing credit cards to clients without Social Security numbers is not aimed at illegal aliens, its acceptance of Mexican consular ID cards as part of this initiative clearly belies that claim. Besides the Mexican ID the bank collects Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). The ITINs are authorized by the IRS only for collecting and paying taxes – not extending credit. So the B of A action clearly is contrary to government policy.

What will happen? The federal government will probably do nothing as long as it is pushing for legal status (amnesty) for the B of A clients. Congress may curb the practice with new legislation, but that is unlikely if there is again a deadlock on immigration legislation.

However, B of A shareholders should be nervous. Not only is the new policy earning the bank lots of bad publicity – except among the illegal alien population and their supporters – and causing patrons to shift their funds elsewhere, but the new practice by the bank exposes it to significant financial loss when and if its clients get picked up by the immigration authorities and deported. Will the alien say, “Give me a couple of days so I can pay my debt to my bank

The flirting of B of A with the illegal resident population coupled with the new practice led by Wells Fargo and several other banks to issue mortgages to illegal aliens runs the risk of another financial sector meltdown like the savings and loan collapse a couple of decades ago. But, will the federal government –read the US taxpayer – be willing to bail them out from their misguided pursuit of marginal clients who are subject to deportation at a moment’s notice?