A bank teller at Bank Sparkasse, one of the largest banks in Germany, refused to open an account for an Israeli living in Berlin, telling him that Israeli passport holders are under embargo.
As a result of TOT request for comment, the bank’s management after an inquiry that lasted two weeks responded by saying it was an error done by the teller, adding: “All we can do is apologize.”
The Israeli, Yakir Avraham, went to the bank’s branch in the Alexanderplatz area of Berlin, and when he gave the teller his Israeli passport in order to open the bank account, the teller took the passport and went into another room to check it.
She returned a few minutes later and said “I’m very sorry, but we cannot open up a bank account for you here. We aren’t allowed to open accounts for citizens of countries under embargo.”
“I was in shock at first. How did it get to the point that they treat us like lepers? I took my passport and left the bank,” Avraham told Ynet.
Immediately after the incident on February 24, Ynet turned to the bank management asking if there was a specific bank policy concerning Israel, and what they meant by “a country under embargo.” The bank clarified that there is no official policy, and it was simply a mistake made by the teller.
“It’s clear that this isn’t our business policy. This is an unfortunate mistake made by a young colleague who is still in training, and who didn’t know how to deal with the situation properly. She deeply apologizes for the mistake.
We hope that Mr. Avraham accepts our explanation and apology,” the bank said in a statement.