Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Canada: Toronto Dominion Bank closes accounts of some Iranian-Canadians

  A number of  Iranian-Canadians are distressed that the Toronto Dominion bank closed their accounts with little notice or explanation. The bank began sending letters to some of its clients last May indicating that because of  changes to the Special Economic Measures (Iran) the bank would no longer offer them banking services.
   In one letter the bank wrote: "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," Recipient of the letter Soudeh Ghassemi of Toronto said she was shocked when she received the letter. She says she does not send any money to Iran at all. Her father also received a similar letter with respect to his mortgage and his line of credit. Her father did receive some money for a down payment on a house before the sanctions came into place.
    The Iranian Canadian Congress held a meeting in Toronto to discuss the issue. Sixty to seventy people attended. Kaveh Shahrooz vice-chair of the group said he heard many distressing stories. He noted:. "A lot of people [said] 'We've been loyal customers of TD for a number of years and we are in compliance with all the laws as far as we know. And yet unfortunately, with virtually no notice, TD has decided to close our accounts,'" "It's … given no explanation as to why this has happened and made some cryptic reference to the sanctions. But anytime they've sought some further explanation, they've been stonewalled and treated very, very badly." Shahrooz thinks that the bank may have been somewhat overly zealous in applying the new regulations concerning sanctions on Iran. There are no reports yet of other banks following the lead of  Toronto Dominion. For more see this article.

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