Iranian-Canadian Customers Find TD Bank Closes Accounts
Several Iranian-Canadian customers of TD Bank received the unpleasant surprise of having bank officials suddenly close their account without warning and without giving them what they considered to be a satisfactory explanation.
TD Bank officials would only tell those customers whose accounts were suddenly closed that current banking regulations prohibit the Bank from offering any type of financial services to individuals or companies connected to or benefiting Iran.
“A recent review has identified you as a person TD is restricted from providing financial services to, from, or for the benefit of under these new regulations,” TD wrote in one letter to an affected customer, Soudeh Ghasemi of Toronto. “As a result, we are informing you that TD will no longer continue to support your current accounts and/or services.”
The Special Economic Measures Regulation was put into effect last fall and mandates that all banking institutions, including TD Bank, must comply with economic sanctions being taken against Iran.
TD Bank told the BBC it did not target people based on ethnicity or nationality, but it was required to comply with Canadian law on sanctions.
“This episode shocked us,” said Pooya Sadeghi, a real estate agent whose father-in-law’s account was closed.
He has created a Facebook page entitled “Condemn TD Bank in their Treatment of clients with Iranian Background” to draw attention to the issue.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that a major bank in Canada would treat us like we are second-class citizens and undeserving of answers.”
Those whose accounts were closed are protesting that they have no financial dealings with Iran.
On Wednesday TD Bank Group agreed to meet with the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) to discuss the closures of the bank accounts, according to the vice-president of the ICC who received an email from the bank late Wednesday night.
“We are cautiously optimistic about this. We think it’s a good gesture by TD to reach out to us. We hope that it will be a constructive meeting and that we can express our concerns to them,” said Shahrooz Wednesday night.