Why “your” bank account isn’t yours

The difference between “depositor” and “unsecured creditor”, and the legal implications therein, is explained at Zerohedge:

The law has been in existence for hundreds of years and was established in England by the House of Lords in the case Foley v Hill in 1848.

When a customer deposits money with his banker, the relationship that arises is one of creditor and debtor, with the banker liable to repay the money deposited when demanded by the customer. Once money has been paid to the banker, it belongs to the banker and he is free to use the money for his own purpose.

I will now quote the relevant portion of the judgment of #3b4d81;”>the House of Lords handed down by Lord Cottenham, the Lord Chancellor. He stated thus:

“Money when paid into a bank, ceases altogether to be the money of the principal… it is then the money of the banker, who is bound to return an equivalent by paying a similar sum to that deposited with him when he is asked for it.

The money paid into the banker’s, is money known by the principal to be placed there for the purpose of being under the control of the banker; it is then the banker’s money; he is known to deal with it as his own; he makes what profit of it he can, which profit he retains himself,…

The money placed in the custody of the banker is, to all intent and purposes, the money of the banker, to do with it as he pleases; he is guilty of no breach of trust in employing it; he is not answerable TO THE PRINCIPAL IF HE PUTS IT INTO JEOPARDY, IF HE ENGAGES IN A HAZARDOUS SPECULATION; he is not bound to keep it or deal with it as the property of the principal, but he is of course answerable for the amount, because he has contracted, having received that money, to repay to the principal, when demanded, a sum equivalent to that paid into his hands.” (quoted in UK Law Essays,  #3b4d81;”>Relationship Between A Banker And Customer,That Of A Creditor/Debtor, emphasis added,)”

Holding that the relationship between a banker and his customer was one of debtor and creditor and not one of trusteeship, #3b4d81;”>Lord Brougham said:

“This trade of a banker is to receive money, and use it as if it were his own, he becoming debtor to the person who has lent or deposited with him the money to use as his own, and for which money he is accountable as a debtor. I cannot at all confound the situation of a banker with that of a trustee, and conclude that the banker is a debtor with a fiduciary character.”

In plain simple English – bankers cannot be prosecuted for breach of trust, because it owes no fiduciary duty to the depositor / customer, as he is deemed to be using his own money to speculate etc. There is absolutely no criminal liability.

Now, English law is not U.S. law, but being that this decision derives from the Common Law, it should be understood, given recent US court decisions, the same is true in the USA.