Sparbank Vest Loan Case

Concerning Z.B.A.H, a Tunisian citizen residing in Denmark (represented by counsel) vs Denmark for violation of articles 2 and 6 of CERD.

On 17 May 1996 the author visited the shop “Scandinavian Car Styling” to purchase an alarm set for his car. When he inquired about procedures for obtaining a loan he was informed that  “Scandinavian Car Styling” cooperated with Sparbank Vest, a local bank. However, the general policy of the bank was to not approve loans to non-Danish citizens. Thus Sparbank Vest informed the author that it would approve the loan only if he could produce a Danish passport.

The DRC reported the incident concerning the author to the police department in Skive on behalf of the author, alleging that the bank had violated the prohibition of differential treatment on the basis of race. The police informed the DRC that the investigation had been discontinued given the lack of evidence that an unlawful act had been committed.

The DRC thus lodged a complaint with the State Prosecutor in Viborg, challenging the decision of the police department to consider the citizenship criterion legitimate. The author had a clear permanent connection to Denmark in view of the fact that he was married to a Danish citizen and had a regular job. The fact that the bank still insisted on documentation with regard to Danish citizenship constituted a discriminatory act. The State Prosecutor informed the DRC that he did not see any reason to overrule the police decision. Thus a complaint was sent to CERD.

In the Committee’s opinion, the steps taken by the police and the State Prosecutor were insufficient to determine whether or not an act of racial discrimination had taken place. Thus The Committee recommends that the State party provide the applicant with reparation or satisfaction commensurate with any damage he has suffered.

24. March 2020

CERD 10/1997
  • Decision: 6. April 1999
  • Comm: Race