HSBC has been accused of unfairly targeting Syrians living in the UK after it was revealed the bank has written to a number of customers telling them it will close their accounts.
Manchester-based human rights group Rapar and the Syrian Rethink Rebuild Society, a not for profit organisation operating from the same city, said they have been working together to document cases in which Syrian nationals have been unfairly targeted by HSBC due to their nationality.
On its website Rapar said: “The Syrian community of Manchester has been subject to various accounts of profiling based on nationality, including police visits, airport stops, and the revoking of British nationality from dual nationals who travel to Syria. As a more recent development, financial institutions, most notably HSBC bank, have also been targeting their Syrian customers.”
It said the two groups, itself and Rehink Rebuild Society, have “uncovered a pattern of abuse on behalf of HSBC in which the bank has turned down customers, inhibited or closed accounts, or refused mortgages for customers because their identity is Syrian.”
One HSBC customer, Majid Maghout, a 26-year-old Syrian on a student visa, is quoted in the Independent as saying he was not contacted by HSBC but that when he tried to withdraw money his debit card was swallowed by the ATM.
“I contacted HSBC and they simply told me my account would be closed and I should have received a letter from them,” he told the Independent. “HSBC told me it had nothing to do with me as customer – the issue was that I was a Syrian citizen.
“I’m a student. I have no money and I’m here thanks to a scholarship. I live on £400 a month and I’ve never transferred money to Syria. This is a case of discrimination. They could have checked my balance and my records, but they simply decided to close my account.”
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