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Arab-sponsored NY Bank Must Give Non-discrimination Pledge State Official Says

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An Arab-sponsored bank that plans to open in New York shortly will be required to give a pledge of non-discrimination before it receives a charter from the State Banking Department, according to Ernest Kohn, the Department’s acting superintendent. He made his pledge in a letter to the American Jewish Congress, which had asked that a condition of a charter for the new bank be assurance against discrimination.

In a letter to the AJCongress and at a meeting with its representatives, Kohn stated, “the firm conviction of this Department is that discriminatory practices or policies not only would be inconsistent with the anti-discrimination laws currently in effect… but are incompatible with the public service function of banking institutions in this state.”

Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, AJCongress president, wrote Kohn following reports that four American banks were applying to the State Banking Commission for permission to establish a new financial institution to be known as the “United Bank, Arab and French, New York.” More than 20 Arab banks and several from Europe reportedly would be associated with the American banks in founding the new institution and an estimated 40 percent of the bank’s initial $25 million capital will come from Arab sources, according to news reports. However, no formal application has been received yet, according to Kohn.

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