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HSBC asks Syrians to shut accounts except for premium members?

Will this only affect Syrians in the UAE?

To get all the facts straight, Kipp has contacted the head of communications for Middle East and North Africa to understand what was going on.

February 7, 2013 11:28 by



After seeping through some unconfirmed reports this morning, Kipp has received a statement from HSBC implying that some Syrians in the UAE will no longer be able to bank with them. Initial rumours indicated that some Syrians had received letters from the British bank informing them that they would have to – following a 30-day notice – liquidate their accounts and close them permanently.

Word of this notice initially leaked out on a local radio report and since then, Twitter has been abuzz with indignant reactions. To get all the facts straight, Kipp contacted the head of communications for Middle East and North Africa to understand what was going on. We have received the following statement:

“HSBC has a commitment to adopt the highest compliance standards across the Group. As a result, we must apply enhanced oversight on any customer with connections to sanctioned countries. Where we are unable to maintain sufficiently detailed information about such a customer through a relationship managed account, we are having to discontinue that relationship. 

We recognise that this will cause customers some inconvenience. We have given customers more than 30 days notice and we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure a smooth transition for affected customers to a new bank of their choice.”

Two Syrians based in Dubai said – while urging Kipp to keep them anonymous - that upon contacting the British bank this morning, they were told by representatives that a certain deadline has already been set; the 20th of March.

According to a report by Reuters, the bank will be closing all accounts belonging to Syrians in the MENA region, except for those earning a minimum salary of AED 15,000 or have at least AED 100,000 in their account at all times, thus classifying them as premier-class customers.

“It’s really weird…I called HSBC Bank today and they told me I’d have to close my account because I am Syrian,” he said. “And the disgusting thing is that they said it’s not personally about my nationality, but international regulations among countries and the economic ban. Good Morning Human Rights!”

Kipp has yet to gain access to the physical letters that have been received but if the above statement is an indication of anything, it is that international pressure is behind this move.

The pressing question that remains to be answered is whether other banks in the country plan to follow suit.



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4 Comments

  1. Aboud on February 9, 2013 11:56 pm

    This is unfair and against the human rights!
    What has the nationality to do with Banking?
    Why they don’t close Afaghani accounts? Iranina Accounts? They both under sanction and as so called terrorist sources as per them

    This is not the right way to settle the global peace.

     
  2. Haitham on February 10, 2013 2:28 pm

    Just to re-clarify, if its an “international pressure behind this move” how come they are classifying Syrians as premium and non premium…and isn’t it usually those who are sanctioned are the filthy rich who stole the riches of the country and did illegal actions to become super rich i.e. the Premium Syrians of HSBC!!. Of course I’m not generalizing here and saying all HSBC premium Syrians are thieves but it would have made more sense and more humane for HSBC to say “I”m following the rules and thus all Syrians are not welcomed” not Keep the rich and throw out the less fortunate”!!

     
  3. Mohamed Ahmed on February 13, 2013 5:58 pm

    Hi All,

    This is discrimination and HBSC has proven the discrimination twice. First the head of communication said that we don’t want customers with suspected connections to sanctioned countries, Then please note the following:

    1-Who will have more connection and more power to support sanctioned countries, premium accounts or normal ones. Why stopped normal accounts and kept people with premium accounts 100000AED and more. This really dirty so even if their statement is correct they should have shut the big accounts first. But of course they will get affected badly so terminate small accounts to hide big accounts dirty transactions.

    2-Second, How can you discrimination against entire nationality and not to apply this for people who been proved guilty only.
    Nothing more to say but Premium account not be touched and they will never do so. Any if they really care about connections to sanctioned countries challenge them to shut down all Syrian accounts and not poor people only??

     
  4. Mohamed Ahmed on February 13, 2013 5:58 pm

    Hi All,
    This is discrimination and HBSC has proven the discrimination twice. First the head of communication said that we don’t want customers with suspected connections to sanctioned countries, Then please note the following:

    1-Who will have more connection and more power to support sanctioned countries, premium accounts or normal ones. Why stopped normal accounts and kept people with premium accounts 100000AED and more. This really dirty so even if their statement is correct they should have shut the big accounts first. But of course they will get affected badly so terminate small accounts to hide big accounts dirty transactions.

    2-Second, How can you discrimination against entire nationality and not to apply this for people who been proved guilty only.

    Nothing more to say but Premium account not be touched and they will never do so. Any if they really care about connections to sanctioned countries challenge them to shut down all Syrian accounts and not poor people only?

     

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