Woman says bank account closed over ethnicity

by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:


ATLANTA - A metro Atlanta woman is upset after, she said, her bank closed her account because of her ethnicity.

"I was in disbelief," Carmen Bermudez told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri.

She said a manager at the Kennesaw branch of MetroBank told her they were closing her account June 28.

"I was handed that check, and I was told, 'We do not do business with Cubans here,'" she said.

Bermudez said she opened the account late last year and leased office space in Marietta with the plan of opening a business. At one point, she looked into getting a federal license to open a shop catering to Cubans.

"They could send packages to their relatives, telegrams, money if they needed to," she said.

She never went through with the idea because of the lengthy application process. She said she suspects that is the reason MetroBank closed her account.

"I could have explained to her and showed her every paperwork to her satisfaction, but she had made up her mind that we don't do business with Cubans here," Bermudez said.

A MetroBank executive said in a statement regarding the incident, "We are aware of some concerns recently raised. The same laws and various other regulations previously cited, preclude any discussion of a customer matter except with the customer themselves."

Bermudez said she received no response to a letter she sent to MetroBank officials alleging discriminatory treatment.

"I escaped Cuba, escaped so that I would not have to put up with treatment such as that," Bermudez added.

She said she would like the bank to apologize to her and the entire Cuban community.