CAIR Welcomes Minneapolis Civil Right Director's Probe of Muslim TCF Bank Account Closures

CAIR-MN-logo(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 2/27/14) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today welcomed a Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) Director's charge on behalf of Muslim clients whose accounts were closed by TCF Bank without explanation.

The closing of bank accounts belonging to Minnesota Muslims of Somali, Middle Eastern and South Asian origin have been reported to CAIR-MN in the past few months. In one case, an American citizen born and raised in Minneapolis, had his bank account closed, along with his sister's account. The client used the account for his dental practice and opened the account when he was 15 years old. He did not have any international transactions on his account.

In 2013, TCF closed about a dozen accounts belonging to Irani students studying at the University of Minnesota.

SEE: TCF Bank's closing of Iranian students' accounts is questioned (Star Tribune)

"None of these individuals have been charged with any crimes or engaged in any transaction that violates United States law," said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Saly Abd Alla. "The only thing these individuals have in common, aside from TCF abruptly and without explanation closing their bank accounts, is that they have Muslim names."

She said that the account closures are not based on transactions, as most of the accounts closed had no extraordinary activity. TCF Bank did not provide a reason for the closure of the accounts, nor were the clients allowed to contest the closures.

In a letter to TCF Bank, CAIR-MN wrote:

"As a civil rights organization we are deeply disturbed by these allegations of discrimination and religious profiling of loyal TCF Bank customers. We want to ensure that TCF Bank is not engaged in discrimination and is not targeting people who are Muslim or come from predominantly Muslim countries."

CAIR-MN is considering filing a joint federal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice and other legal options.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Saly Abd Alla, 612-206-3360, [email protected]; CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, [email protected]; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, [email protected]