Giles Fraser in the Guardian: It is the “world’s local bank” – or so it tells us. With advertising dominating the departure lounges of international airports, HSBC styles itself as global in reach and personal in service. But recent letters to a number of Muslim organisations and individuals informing them, without any intelligible reason, that the bank no longer wants their business, raises questions about both claims.
On 22 July, the Finsbury Park mosque, in north London – of Abu Hamza fame – got a letter out of the blue telling it that the bank was going to close its account because it was no longer within its “risk appetite”, whatever that is supposed to mean. It is “absolutely not based on race or religion” the bank insists, though no reason other than the Orwellian “risk appetite” comment is given for the move and no contact was made by the bank before the letter dropped through the mosque’s letterbox.
Even weirder is a similar letter from HSBC that was sent to Anas Al Tikriti, who runs an Islamic thinktank. This time no explanation whatsoever was given. His wife and two sons – one aged 16, one aged 12 – got a letter too.