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Arab group sues US bank over closed accounts

July 12, 2013

DETROIT (AP) — A U.S. bank improperly closed business and personal accounts of hundreds of people of Middle Eastern descent, an Arab-American civil rights organization said as it announced a lawsuit.

The Arab-American Civil Rights League filed the lawsuit Thursday against Huntington Bank in U.S. District Court in Detroit, according to attorney Nabih Ayad.

The organization said it has received complaints from hundreds of people in the Detroit area and elsewhere who say their accounts were closed for no apparent reason. Huntington informed Arab-American account holders by letter that the accounts were being closed but gave no other explanations, the league said.

Huntington Bank is reviewing the matter but declined to comment on pending legal issues, said spokeswoman Maureen Brown.

“However, Huntington appreciates the opportunity to do business within the Arab-American community, in greater Detroit and all our other markets,” Brown said Thursday in a statement.

Huntington isn’t the only bank that’s been accused of closing accounts of Arab Americans.

In June, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter asked the U.S. Treasury Department to investigate JPMorgan Chase & Co. for closing bank accounts of U.S. Arabs and Muslims.

A JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman told The Associated Press at the time that she was unaware of the complaints but would look into them.

Treasury Office of the Currency spokesman Bryan Hubbard said his department also would look into the allegations.

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