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Policy Change: User Run "Banks" Disallowed

It has come to our attention that bank services are a frequent cause of problems for the community, often used as a means to scam users and to attempt to conceal illegally gained gold and items. Additionally, even banks with legitimate goals often have extensive difficulties maintaining the funds necessary to keep their contract with their clients, leading to users being unable to make withdrawals of gold they themselves invested, causing extensive moderation issues and having a negative effect on the user base.

Although we realize that this is not the case with all such banks and understand that many are run legitimately, after much consideration we have decided that it is in the best interests of the community that these services no longer be permitted due to the high risk of abuse associated with them and the resulting difficulties stemming from that abuse.

Accordingly, as of the posting of this announcement:

  • It is no longer permitted to make new bank services. Should you see someone make a new bank service, please report it using the forum report system so that it can be brought to the attention of a moderator. Please do not report banks made prior to this announcement with the forum report system, though!

  • All currently existing banks must close their doors to new users and immediately begin to issue refunds to those users who have invested in them. It is extremely important that you read the second post of this thread as it contains specific information as to how these refunds should take place.

As we realize this may be a complicated matter and wish to make the transition as smooth as possible, please read the second post for detailed information as to how current banks and their users should proceed with closing.

What is considered a bank service?

Bank services typically consist of, but are not limited to, services that take gold or items from users and promise a return on their deposit (called interest), offer loan services to users, or offer pawn shop services. If you are uncertain as to whether your service is considered a bank, please contact a moderator of this forum immediately to inquire.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding in this matter as we work to keep Gaia a fun and safe place!
Information for Bank Owners and Investors

In order to make this transition as smooth as possible, we have outlined a procedure below that all bank owners and bank users must follow. Please read through this and contact a services forum moderator if you have any questions.

For Bank Owners:

  • Refunds given should be for the amount originally deposited in the bank. While we understand that many investors have been promised interest on their deposits this makes it more difficult for refunds to be given, and as such all interest obligations on the part of banks are waived.

  • We ask that refunds be given in as close to the original form of the deposit as possible. Therefore if the deposit was in gold, the refund should be in gold. Any items invested or pawned should be returned, and if the original item is not available the current approximate marketplace value of the item in gold should be returned instead.

  • Bank owners should contact any users to whom they have given loans and request that those loans be repaid as promptly as possible. Any interest on those loans is also waived.

  • Although it is expected that banks would have on hand the means to refund all their users should they request it, we realize that many banks have large numbers of users and have invested in higher priced items that may be difficult to liquidate. In order to accommodate this there will be a grace period of two months for refunds to be issued.

  • If you do not think you will be able to resolve your obligations in this two month period, please contact a moderator immediately. You must still work to issue refunds to show good faith, and contacting us in the last month, week, or day of the grace period is not acceptable.

  • If after all possible refunds are issued there are funds leftover, they must remain on the bank account and cannot be spent or moved. This will allow anyone who is unavailable and therefore has not yet claimed a refund do in the future.

For Bank Users:

  • During this time we would ask that any users who have invested in these banks contact bank owners to request a refund and then be patient while the bank works on it. Please do not contact any moderators regarding refunds until you have both contacted the bank owner directly and the two months have passed.

  • If the two months has passed and the bank owner has not issued you a refund after being contacted, please contact either a moderator for the Services Forum or an Omnimoderator regarding the situation. Please include in the PM a link to the bank in question and the amount you invested in the bank. If there are any posts or PMs to demonstrate your involvement in the bank, such as contact with the bank owner or an initial investment post, including those would be most helpful.

As always, please contact either a moderator for the Services forum or an Omnimoderator if you have any questions or concerns regarding this situation.

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