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Man claims he was racially profiled by RBC Royal Bank in Pincourt after trying to pay bills with funds from a joint bank account.

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December 13th, 2021


William McMillan who is black went to the RBC Royal Bank at Le Fauboug de L’ile in Pincourt, a town just west of Montreal to help his mother pay some bills through their joint bank account on December 9th, 2021, where he says he experienced unjustified treatment by the branch manager Mila Desrosiers; all of which he states was based on the color of his skin.
On December 7th, 2021, William assisted his mother in the sale of her house at a notary where the necessary paperwork was completed properly, including a Power of Attorney and Deed of Sale. The notary sometime during the same day, completed a wire transfer to the joint bank account held by William and his mother at RBC. 
Mr. McMillan proceeded to the bank on the 9th, to pay some of his mother’s bills which ranged from multiple smaller bills, such as Videotron and natural gas company Energir and a much larger car loan payment of $34,000.00. It was at this time that the teller told Mr. McMillan that she needed her branch manager to come over and validate the larger transaction. Let’s keep in mind that there were no problems with paying the other bills.  
The branch manager began explaining to William that she was unable to approve or complete the transaction and that the legal department had taken over. Mr. McMillan went on to explain that he had Power of Attorney and that it was a joint bank account and that he was primary and his mother secondary. While he was at the bank, he went on the phone with his wife Svetlana Chernienko who is also black and a mental health advocate and the recipient of a Community Service Excellence Award presented to her by Liberal MP, Peter Schiefke of Vaudreuil-Soulanges in October of this year. He began to recount to her his frustration, still unaware of why the bank was refusing to process the transaction. He thought it was best for his mother to be present to perhaps clarify things for the branch manager. His mother arrived at the bank a few minutes later. 
At no time during the interaction did the branch manager pull the two aside for privacy, nor did she suggest they continue the conversation behind closed doors but continued to talk loudly so everyone in the bank could hear. They were told that at even branch manager level, she no longer had control and that it was in the hands of their legal department and so they left the branch. William and his wife came back the following day December 10th, 2021, to see if things had changed where he could access the funds to continue his initial transactions. All the funds in the joint account were still held pending the outcome from the legal department. Ms. Chernienko began filming as the couple felt the situation was racially motivated and she wanted to have proof of what was happening. The branch manager came over and told her that there was a bank policy which did not allow for filming inside the bank, so she stopped. They were again told the same thing by the branch manager; that there was nothing she could do. The couple then mentioned that they will probably get their attorney involved with the situation because it made absolutely no sense why Mr. McMillan was not allowed to perform the larger transaction and that all funds had now been frozen. The situation escalated when the branch manager said that “you guys” always want to call your lawyers when you’re not happy. Ms. Chernienko began to tell the branch manager that she was racially profiling the couple and discriminating against them because of their race. 
They left and the next day Ms. Chernienko started to receive social media notifications from an unknown account detailing the entire confrontation at the bank describing the situation that had occurred the previous day. Ms. Chernienko is a social media influencer with over 135,000 followers. 
The couple reached out to David Mckay, President & CEO without response. 
 
Joel DeBellefeuille                                                                           For media inquiries please contact:                         
Founder, Red Coalition Inc.                                                          Sybill Haven
514-434-2640                                                                                  E. Sybill@havencommunication.com
E. joel@redcoalition.ca                                                                

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