Banking: The New Challenges of Managing the 7th Tradition


The new electronic age has brought with it electronic banking and with that, groups are facing new challenges. The biggest challenge to date: being able to open an account in a group’s name.

Although banking laws vary from country to country, the challenges seem to be common.

What are these challenges?

First of all, the group has to prove its identity and source of income. How does an anonymous group prove its identity? Red flag!!! Secondly, the money from the seventh tradition is usually and primarily cash based. Red flag!! So now we have a group who cannot prove its identity and on top of that, has no proof of the source of its income. With these two red flags alone, the bank usually refuses to open up an account for the group.

Many groups, for exactly these reasons, have opted to follow in the footsteps of GSO and other CER Intergroups by trying to establish a nonprofit charity status. This can present further challenges because just as banking laws vary from country to country, the processes of establishing a charity organization do also. A charity organization must have a board of directors and a set of bylaws, or regulations, on which they operate. In some countries, the charity organization must be registered with the local courts. This can be a lengthy process but, once accomplished, very beneficial to the group. Once a group establishes this charity organization, it becomes a legal entity, which is a group that has legal rights and obligations, and can therefore prove its identity. The group’s money will no longer be in someone’s private account, and it provides better transparency for all members.

By no means am I an expert in banking laws or familiar with all the ins and outs of establishing a nonprofit charity. But my suggestion to groups or intergroups who would like to establish a nonprofit charity, is to first talk to other groups or intergroups in their perspective countries who have already gone through and are familiar with the process. Another route would be to meet with financial advisors, paralegals or attorneys who are familiar with this.

Like I said earlier, it’s a lengthy process, and there will be challenges. In the end, the group will most certainly benefit. From the very real responsibility of money no longer being in someone’s personal account (or under their mattress!), to service rotation, money management and tax transparency, this method of going forward with our 7th tradition collection will most certainly benefit all parties involved. Not to mention the peace of mind for the members who can now know that their group’s finances are protected and safe. It will open up new opportunities and challenges for the group.

If there are any groups or intergroups who are familiar with this process and/or have actually gone through it, please feel free to share this information with me or the ArenA editor. New articles are always welcomed and your experience, strength and hope may very well be the inspiration that another group needs and is looking for!

Levey P.,
CER Treasurer