Bank of America Resolves Bias Complaints with Outreach to Arabs and Muslims

April 12, 2006

Source: The Boston Globe

Wire Service: AP

On April 12, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "Bank of America Corp. has agreed to resolve allegations by Arab and Muslim groups that the former Fleet Bank discriminated against 15 customers with Arabic names by closing their accounts in 2002 and 2003 over suspicions of terrorism or money laundering. Although a state investigation found no evidence of discrimination, Bank of America agreed to take steps including paying the state $50,000 to create a brochure and video on consumer finance geared toward Arab-American and Muslim communities. Attorney General Tom Reilly, who announced the agreement Wednesday, also said the bank will name a senior vice president as a liaison to local Arab-Americans and Muslims. The bank, which acquired Boston-based Fleet in 2004 for $48 billion, also assured that it will only close customer accounts as a result of terrorism or money laundering concerns after carefully reviewing information supplied to the bank. Reilly's office also will organize a training program for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank to increase awareness among its Massachusetts employees about Arab-American culture and the Muslim religion. A Bank of America spokesman said the Fleet accounts were not closed because of discrimination, but because of patterns of account activity that triggered money laundering suspicions."