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HSBC Apologizes for Closing RCCG Accounts

HSBC’s right to open and close customers account does not permit the “discrimination of any person or entity based on its color, origin or activity,” Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US, Prof Ade Adefuye has said expressing displeasure, but the US bank clarified its position with an apology on the closure of the accounts of a Nigerian church in New York, Empowered Newswire reports yesterday.

In a statement made available by the bank’s Vice President Neil Brazil, the bank said it is ready to provide banking services to Nigerians and all members of the community wherever it has a branch.

According to a follow-up statement from the bank, HSBC explained that it is “pleased to provide banking products and services to all members of the communities we serve, including the Kenyan and Nigerian communities.” 

Asked about the details of what transpired at the Bank’s local branch in Flatbush, Brooklyn where the accounts of a RCCG parish was closed earlier in the year, Brazil said “I cannot comment on the substance of a conversation where I was not present.” He further noted that he is “unable to discuss specific cases with you for confidentiality reasons.”

However he offered an apology and a clarification, saying “but I am pleased to clarify the bank’s position. We apologize for any misunderstanding which may have arisen and appreciate the opportunity set the record straight. HSBC is committed to complying with all applicable anti-discrimination laws, including those related to national origin.”

Asked whether the bank will reinstate the church accounts, if the church so chooses to return, the HSBC Spokesperson said “As you might expect, I am not able to discuss specific cases with you for privacy reasons. ” Officials of the RCCG however said they will not need a new account with the bank anymore.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Adefuye, in reacting to the development said the actions of the bank should be based “strictly on provisions of the law which promotes equal treatment for all.  It is a matter of concern that a group of people would be denied services for which they are paying simply because of their origin; in this case because they are Nigerians.”

A statement released yesterday in Washington DC by the Nigerian Embassy, said the “Embassy of Nigeria is disturbed” by the action of the bank noting that the implication “goes beyond a business relationship with a customer that has gone awry.  In this allegation are elements that malign the image and integrity of Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as a people.”

According to the Embassy statement: “HSBC reserves the right to deny services to Nigerians, albeit at the risk of violating the laws of equal treatment, so does Nigeria also have the right to advise its citizens and friends to boycott transactions with HSBC because of a discriminatory policy against Nigerians.”

Ambassador Adefuye added that “it is my conviction that this is not a kind of relationship any organization would wish to maintain with a country or its people in a globalized world.”
The statement then asked for HSBC’s reaction “including possible measures to redress the negative portrayal of Nigeria, which is implied by the said decision of the Bank.  As a peace promoting country and respected member of the international community, Nigeria would not rush to taking a decision but hear from HSBC, after which it would decide on a next course of action.”

Short URL: http://newnigerianpolitics.com/?p=10854

Posted by on Jul 17 2011. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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