Hundreds of Chinese citizens took to streets of Madrid on Friday, waving Spanish and Chinese flags in protest against BBVA, accusing the bank of blocking their accounts. Spain’s second-largest bank apologized to the Chinese customers who are demanding their accounts to be unlocked.
The protestors said they have been told their bank accounts have been blocked in compliance of money laundering regulations but insisted they had done nothing wrong. The bank apologized on Saturday but denied deliberate discrimination against Chinese customers,
“We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused by our decision to block certain customers' bank accounts over the last few days,” said BBVA spokesman Álvaro Calleja in a statement who further added, “We are sensitive to these circumstances and we have rolled out the measures required to mitigate these impacts.”
“For BBVA and for everyone that works at the bank, customers are at the heart of our activity, and we absolutely and unequivocally reject any form of unjustified discrimination.”
The Chinese citizens marched to a BBVA office in Madrid with some carrying signs that read, “Stop banking racism,” and “Racist BBVA.” “They closed my account the first time in August, and again two months later,” told Ting Ting, a restaurant manager in Madrid to AFP.
Last year, Spain beefed up its money laundering regulations and according to the spokesman for the Spanish banking association AEB, Jose Luis Martinez Campuzano, the law requires clients to give a series of personal details and background information to the bank regardless of their nationality.
However, Dawein Ding, the vice-president of a Chinese radio station in Madrid who also works for the Chinese Association in Spain (ACHE), said banks like BBVA are making the process more complicated for Chinese citizens than for Spanish nationals.
“For a Spaniard to open a bank account they just have to show their identification card, whereas Chinese citizens have to deliver much more paperwork such as evidence of their work life like payslips and contracts,” Ding said.
Long Bitcoin, Short the Bankers
This further provides another opportunity for Bitcoin adoption as Anthony Pompliano, the founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital took to Twitter to share,
“The Spanish bank BBVA has frozen the bank accounts of hundreds of Chinese without warning. The legacy financial institutions are doing more to help the adoption of Bitcoin than they realize. Long Bitcoin, Short the Bankers!
In a separate event, recently Wells Fargo went offline for about a day and affected the online and mobile services while the ATMs went out of operation, causing a nationwide outage.
Moreover, Mastercard and Visa, the two of the biggest US payment companies are preparing to raise the fees levied on US merchants for processing transactions from this April onwards. Meanwhile, the Bitcoin average transaction fee has been going downwards since June 2018, currently registering around $0.20, as per Bitinfocharts.