This week it seems HMRC can do absolutely nothing right

Business banking news review: week ending 31 July 2014

Each week there are winners and losers when it comes to public opinion in the financial services sector – and this week HSBC has lost in a major way.

The major High Street personal and business bank account provider has pleased absolutely no one with its actions recently, and Brits have absolutely had it. First up, the bank has just made the announcement that it will be shuttering nearly 20 additional branches by 15 September, leaving shedloads of people without access to their money. Sure, you can take advantage of HSBC’s online banking, but what if you’re someone who doesn’t know your arse from a hole in the ground when it comes to computers? Apparently HSBC doesn’t give a whit about that.

The branch closures are bad, but things are even worse when it comes to HSBC policies. I hope you’re sitting down, because this is going to shock you: the bank recently dumped a raft of its customers, and among them are several Muslim groups such as Finsbury Park Mosque. Is this Islamophobia rearing its ugly head? Well not according to HSBC – it’s just part of the bank’s ‘strategic assessments’ of all its customers in the wake of a 2012 fine levied against HSBC by the US Senate for the bank’s unwitting role in possible crime and terrorism related money laundering schemes.

So yes, no matter how you slice it it does sound a bit like Islamophobia doesn’t it? ‘Oh, we’ve been given a £1 billion slap on the wrist for inadvertently aiding terrorists, we’d better dump all our Muslim customers. They’re all terrorists, right?’ It’s bloody ignorant, prejudiced, and just downright ugly. Now I won’t say that Finsbury Park Mosque doesn’t have a history of some radical rabble-rousing back in the 1990s but that was two full decades ago. Sure, HSBC claims to have anti-discriminatory measures in place but you’re telling me that the bank just happens to dump any of its customers that happen to be Muslim charities? Listen, someone needs to tell them that they’re really not fooling anyone.

But hey at least it’s not just Muslims they’re targeting. With those new branch closures, it’s obvious that HSBC wants nothing to do with as many of its customers as possible, at least on a face-to-face basis. Bloody bastards.

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