Conservative Canadian media outlet Rebel News says the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) refused a mortgage application from the organization because of its positions.
“I’m embarrassed. I was turned down for a mortgage last week by the Royal Bank,” Rebel News founder Ezra Levant said in a Dec. 29 online video.
“I’m almost 50 years old. I’ve been a Royal Bank customer for 22 years. What’s wrong with me? Except I wasn’t rejected because I’m a failure.”
Levant says he was looking to secure a commercial mortgage of over $2 million from a local RBC branch to purchase an office building in Calgary.
“The local mortgage team approved it, saying it was a very strong application—we have good cash flow, no debt, and I gave the bank a personal guarantee,” Levant told The Epoch Times. “In fact, the local branch offered us the mortgage plus a line of credit. But then we were told the Toronto head office vetoed the deal.”
The video shows an email with certain parts redacted where details of a mortgage are being discussed, and Levant is “potentially” offered a larger loan and a line of credit. The domain of the sender is shown to be from @rbc.com, and the sender’s signature shows the sender’s department to be the Commercial Financial Services of RBC.
The video also contains a recording of what Levant identifies as his interaction with an unidentified RBC employee who was handling his file locally.
“So if you had your way, this thing would be a green light. But you’re just waiting on the political guys?” Levant asked the unidentified person.
“If I had my way, yeah, definitely,” the person responded.
“It’s just about the nature of the business altogether,” he said. “I’ll be blunt with you, the bank has been trying to pry away from certain clients where they’re kind of out there in the media and very strong, opinionated, you know, which is your business in a way. So we’re just clearing some internal hurdles to make sure that the bank is okay to kind of onboard you as a client internally.”
The video appears to capture separate conversations, one where the unidentified person explains why the head office needs to review the application and another where he apologizes for the outcome.
“Unfortunately, my hands are tied as well. I tried defending it. We went back and forth. But that was their decision,” the person said.
“I believe this is China-style ‘social credit,’ where your ability to participate in public life—such as having a bank account—is now being used as an authoritarian tool to punish people with dissenting political opinions,” says Levant.
“If they can ban Rebel News from getting a mortgage, they can ban anyone—perhaps even home mortgages.”
The Epoch Times reached out to RBC multiple times for comment but didn’t hear back.
Rebel News is now pivoting to a crowdfunding campaign to purchase the building, where donations of increasing amounts could get one’s name on a brick, a plaque, or a cornerstone of the building.
Rebel News was recently involved in another controversy when one of its reporters was roughed up by the RCMP’s Prime Minister Protection Detail in Toronto in mid-December. The outlet says it’s suing the officers involved, the RCMP, and the federal government.