A slew of Iranians who live in Canada argue they are being treated unfairly by Toronto-Dominion Bank.
In the past few weeks, people of Iranian descent – regardless of whether they are Canadian citizens or just residents of Canada – have had their personal banking accounts and mortgages with TD cut off with very little explanation. In some cases, they simply received a letter that said the bank can “no longer continue to support your current accounts and/or services, or offer you any new accounts and/or services.”
TD has since told a number of media outlets that the bank is simply complying with the federal Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations that prohibit the provision of any financial or financial-related service to or for the benefit of a person who is in Iran, or is a national of Iran who does not ordinarily reside in Canada.
Yet these measures are meant to crack down on people affiliated with the Iranian regime or its nuclear program, and many of the Iranians living here who have been affected say TD is going too far.
CBC Radio’s The Current has reported on the issue, and TD released a statement to the show that said its “decisions to end customer relationships are not undertaken lightly.”
“We took additional steps to reach out by phone and by registered mail to those who might be impacted by the regulations in question in order to verify the information,” the bank added. “In cases where we didn’t hear from a customer to confirm their information, we were required to meet the regulations and so we ended the relationship.”
Still, it appears that people who have no association to the Iranian regime are affected. The Ottawa Citizen spoke with Pooya Sadeghi, whose wife, mother-in-law and father-in-law had their debit card, credit card, mortgage and line of credit cut off. His wife is a Canadian citizen, and her parents have savings back in Iran. Mr. Sadeghi was so outraged that he started a Facebook group called “Condemn TD Bank in their treatment of clients with Iranian background” that has created a community of Iranians who are fed up.
Media reports said TD isn’t the only bank that is closing accounts, as CIBC has also cracked down a bit. But the community’s outrage is aimed at TD for actions it thinks have been overly aggressive.