I was just on the phone with one of Lloyd Bank International advisors answering questions on whether I am “eligible” to open a dollar account there. After answering questions related to my address, place of residence, reasons for open the account etc, I was asked on my nationality. I answered that I have both Syrian and American citizenships. The advisor then put me on hold for few minutes, and returned with further question on my Syrian citizenship. Are you planning to got to Syria soon? When was the last time you’ve been in Syria? Do you have property in Syria? Family members live there?
I answered that I myself cannot go back to Syria for security reasons (my name is listed on the boarder by Assad regime), and I mentioned that my family are still there and hence they have an apartment a car. That’s when I am told I am ineligible to open an account at Lloyd Bank International.
At first I was very astonished when she said that. I wanted to understand how is that a reason for illegibility. She went on stating the reason but not the explanation:
“We cannot open bank accounts for Syrians who have family members in Syria and who have property there, this might change in the future, but unfortunately we cannot process with your request at this time.”
I got furious, and still furious, not because I couldn’t open an account- I have developed resilience the past five years that will enable to deal with that. I was furious because Syrians are punished in this world on all levels.
I told her that these procedures pose as further pain for people who fled the war for their safety. For those who want to continue with their lives but are punished for their government’s criminal actions.
The logic is outrageous. It is expected of any citizen in any country in this world to be a resident and have a property in that country. But according to Lloyd International Bank, Syrians are not expected to visit Syria, are not expected to have family members in Syria (and won’t welcome refugees either), and are not expected to have properties there.
The advisor even told me “you know as you just said, because there is war and you yourself cannot go back for security reasons, I am sure you’ll understand why we can’t proceed with your request.” That’s when I told her that I am not sure how detention, barrel bombs, chemical weapons, cluster bombs among other weapons used by the government against its own people on a daily basis, will affect Lloyd bank in the UK.
People ask me what they can do to help Syrians, and the answer is simply: identify what are the threats facing Syrians today (Assad, IS and warlords), identify policies and procedures that punish them for feeing war and wanting to have a life (not welcoming them in safe counties, residency/job applications in the region; Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan) and also policies like these from private institutions that treat citizens who fled death sentences, as a threat.