HSBC Bank Closes Accounts of Redeemed Church In New York
HSBC Bank has closed several bank accounts of one of the biggest parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in New York .
Some members of the parish, allege that the bank's recent refusal to continue their banking relationship with the church (International Chapel Brooklyn of The Redeemed Christian Church of God) was on the grounds that they are Nigerians and that "they will not 'deal' with Nigerians,"
But the bank countered saying " we reserve the right to close certain accounts under our deposit account rules..."
According to a member who spoke with US based Empowered Newswire on the condition of anonymity, "around late January and early February this year, "we opened up accounts with HSBC and in less than 4 months of doing business with HSBC, we received a call from a representative from the local branch letting us know of this information. We have informed the chairman of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in North America of this."
A source from the US Redemption Camp in Dallas, the Headquarters of the RCCG in North America, also confirmed the incident, further disclosing that the church is actually considering setting up a bank in the US based on its rising size and increasing influence in the Nigerian and African community here.
When contacted by Empowered Newswire, officials of the HSBC Bank USA Corporate Headquarters confirmed the story.
The Bank's Vice President in charge of Public Affairs, Neil Brazil simply issued a statement saying the Bank is "pleased to provide banking products and services to all members of the communities we serve."
According to him, "as is common in the banking industry, we do reserve the right to close certain accounts under our Deposit Account rules and make this clear at time of account opening." HSBC has a promotional tag line that says it is the world's local bank.
Investigations revealed that the HSBC local branch involved is located in Flatbush avenue, Brooklyn , New York, where the RCCG parish, International Chapel, Brooklyn, ICB, is also located.
Further narrating the incident, an RCCG ICB member said "after less than 2 months of maintaining 4 church commercial bank accounts with HSBC, a Bank official called and requested that we close our accounts within 24 hours."
She continued: "To preface this request, he asked several general questions such as does the Redeemed Christian Church of God have multiple branches to which one of our pastors answered yes. He then asked where those branches were located and was told we have a presence in all continents of the world."
At this point, the HSBC official-whose name was also disclosed- then explained that the reason "we need to close our accounts is that HSBC does not conduct business with organization/persons affiliated with Nigeria/Nigerians."
The church member added however that although the Bank had asked that the accounts be closed in 24 hours, after some negotiations, that involved legal representation, "we were allowed to complete/finalize the account closures within 2 weeks."
Both Pastor James Fadele, the Chairman of the RCCG in North America and Pastor Kunle Omotoso, the Senior Pastor in the parish confirmed the story. The RCCG parish involved, ICB, is one of the biggest in New York, and one of the oldest in North America, where the church has been operating now for 15 years.
Meanwhile leaders of the RCCG in the US are said to be "seriously considering promoting a Bank" of their own in the US in line with similar practice by similar organizations here in the US.
However, other leading US banks including Bank of America, Chase, Citibank continue to hold banking accounts for US-based Nigerian groups and individuals of all hues without discrimination.