Saturday, September 27, 2008

Laurentian Bank Loan Blacklist Targets Aboriginal Reserves

From CBC:

People who live on aboriginal reserves are automatically refused loans from Laurentian Bank to buy a recreational vehicle due to a company policy, Radio-Canada has learned.

An investigation by CBC's French-language service found that staff have been told to refuse such loans to people living at 3,000 postal codes that are, without exception, located on First Nation reserves across Canada.

An internal e-mail told employees what to do if they encounter a case from one of those postal codes.

"Refuse the file for any reason, and in addition mention that we don't serve that area or postal code anymore," the e-mail said in French. It added that the employee should never mention that the file is being refused because it's on a reserve, nor should the employee use the words "Indian reserve," "Indian" or "Native."

As part of the investigation by the Radio-Canada program Enquête, Michael Descontie, an Algonquin from the Kitigan Zibi reserve near Maniwaki, Que., sought a loan from to buy an all-terrain vehicle. As he had an excellent credit record, his application was initially accepted.

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