Posts Tagged ‘JPMorgan Chase & Co.’

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J.P. Morgan to Saudi banksters: buh-bye!

March 4, 2014

Fed up with a lack of transparency and flimsy know-your-customer policies, J.P. Morgan has severed ties with the Saudi-based Al Rajhi bank.  The sharia bank, whose founder was named in the Golden Chain list of Al Qaeda benefactors, has provided financial services for East Africa embassy bomber Mamduh Mahmud Salim, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and dangerous Wahhabi organizations like Indonesian Kompak and the Al-Haramain foundation.

Thanks to Sal for sending this over from Bloomberg:

JPMorgan Said Cut Tie to Saudi Bank Amid Focus on Control

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) dropped Al-Rajhi Bank, the world’s largest Shariah-compliant lender, as a correspondent banking client amid a push to improve risk controls, said two people with direct knowledge of the move.

The relationship with Saudi Arabia’s biggest publicly traded bank ended Dec. 31 because JPMorgan couldn’t get enough information on where payments in dollar-clearing services for Al-Rajhi had originated, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because the decision wasn’t public.

JPMorgan said it cut off the service to about 500 foreign lenders last year as regulators press the world’s biggest banks to verify that transactions are used for legitimate business. The crackdown seeks to halt funds tied to money laundering, terrorism and countries covered by economic sanctions. Correspondent accounts allow lenders to take deposits or make payments on behalf of foreign institutions.

“JPMorgan has to be extra careful to make sure they’re adhering to standards and not even approaching anything questionable,” said David Kass, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

The two banks haven’t been cited by U.S. regulators for involvement in illegal money transfers. Tasha Pelio, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, declined to comment on clients of the company, which is based in New York and ranks as the nation’s largest lender by assets. A spokesman for Al-Rajhi (RJHI) didn’t respond to inquiries, and there was no response to messages sent to the firm’s Riyadh headquarters.

Biggest Holders

Al-Rajhi, founded in 1957 by billionaire Sulaiman Al Rajhi, had 9,000 employees and about 500 branches in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Malaysia and Kuwait, according to a January 2012 media kit. Members of the Al Rajhi family, one of Saudi Arabia’s richest, are the biggest shareholders of the company, which had $74.6 billion of assets on Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shariah-compliant financial firms provide products adhering to Islam’s ban on interest.

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ordered JPMorgan to improve anti-money-laundering efforts last year, finding that its controls tied to the Bank Secrecy Act were inadequate. The firm failed to find out enough about banking customers and identify suspicious activity, according to the January 2013 consent order. The Bank Secrecy Act requires firms to report all large cash deposits to help prevent crimes such as drug-trafficking and terrorist financing…

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Chase assesses risk, closes suspected accounts

June 21, 2013

Banks have a responsibility under federal law to deny account services to customers who are at risk for funding terrorism, money laundering, or evading economic sanctions.  Banks can’t allow customers to send money to countries that lack safeguards against such activities either.

Accordingly, JPMorgan Chase has closed an unspecified number of accounts that are at risk for abuse or criminal behavior by customers who are, according to the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslims or Arabs.

The Arab-American Civil Rights League also alleges 50 “improper” account closures by banks such as Flagstar, Charter One, and Comerica.

Opponents of such bank closures would be better served by proposing changes to federal law rather than threatening lawsuits against banks that are simply carrying out their duties under the existing rules.

From the Detroit News:

Muslim, Arab-American groups say banks closing accounts without explanation

  • Mark Hicks, June 13, 2013

Two groups are seeking answers to what they say is a growing practice of Muslim and Arab-American groups having their bank accounts closed without cause or explanation.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations–Michigan is asking the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to investigate the complaints and the Arab-American Civil Rights League in Dearborn is pursuing a lawsuit against major banks.

“We see a type of pattern taking place in the Muslim/Arab community,” Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR–MI, said Wednesday. “Bank accounts are being closed with no real justification … so it appears on the surface that there could be some sort of bias involved.”

One of the latest reported incidents, according to CAIR–MI, involved Alif Arabic, a business described as teaching Arabic to American citizens online. Officials there were notified May 30 by JPMorgan Chase their bank account would be terminated within 10 days. JPMorgan Chase officials did not detail why, according to the letter.

When an Alif Arabic employee asked the bank for clarification, they were told an analytical tool “alerted them that Alif’s account could pose a possible risk,” the letter read.

Walid said such a move could suggest discrimination based on religion and ethnicity. “We need answers and the bank is not giving answers,” he said.

Emily Smith, a JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman, said privacy reasons prevent the company from discussing details of its customer relationships. However, “on occasion, Chase determines it can no longer maintain a customer’s account but those decisions are not based on the customer’s religion, ethnicity or any other similar basis.”

Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said: “We have just become aware of the letter and have not had a chance to review. We will look into these allegations.”

Meanwhile, the Arab-American Civil Rights League plans to file a lawsuit after nearly 50 incidents of individual and business accounts being closed.

The group earlier this year asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and launched a hotline for complaints after some area residents were notified by Huntington National Bank and other institutions their accounts were terminated without explanation.

That affected professionals and others who believed they acted lawfully, said Nabih Ayad, the league’s board chairman.

“It’s just a shame this continues to happen. It’s not fair to the community,” he said. “These sort of circumstances, they’re basically telling Arab Americans: ‘You’re not at the same level or beneath the average American”…

H/t to Creeping Sharia for sending this over.