Spain’s second largest bank, BBVA was forced to apologize to hundreds of Chinese customers who accused it of racism on freezing their bank accounts without warning.
Chinese BBVA customers held a protest Friday (15/2) outside the offices of the Madrid bank waving Chinese and Spanish flags and demanding that their bills be released.
The bank apologized on Saturday (February 16, 2019), but declined to deliberately discriminate against its Chinese customers claiming that the accounts “froze” in accordance with Spanish anti-money laundering regulations.
“We deeply regret the inconvenience caused by our decision to block the bank accounts of some of our clients in recent days,” said BBVA spokesman Álvaro Calleja in a statement.
“We are sensitive to these conditions and we have developed the measures needed to mitigate these impacts,” he continued.
“For BBVA and for all those working in the bank, customers are at the heart of our business and we absolutely and categorically reject any form of unjustified discrimination,” he added.
The law on money laundering in Spain sets out a set of requirements for Spanish banks, including “customer monitoring and control,” José Luis Martínez Campuzano, spokesperson for the Spanish banking association (AEB), said in a statement,
“Customers are required to provide banks with all the information required by law and banks are working to speed up the procedures for restoring regularity in a quick and effective way,” he said.