From The “Rules Are Rules” Files: China’s “No Arms, No Loans” Policy

Don't be afraid of Wu, you banks! He's completely armless!.

Don’t be afraid of Wu, you banks! He’s completely armless!.

Just when you are tempted to think the United States leads humanity in outrageous bureaucratic rigidity and the refusal to make sensible exceptions when common sense and decency demand it, a story like this one comes across the wires to restore one’s faith that cruelty and stupidity are universal.* That’s something to be thankful for…isn’t it?

Maybe not.

Wu Jianping, a 25-year-old teacher from Zhengzhou in the Henan province of China, told the news media there that banks have denied his application for a mortgage loan because he had inadequate identification.  Banks in China require fingerprints for loans, and Wu has no fingers. In fact, he has no arms, having lost both of them when he was electrocuted in an accident at the age of five.

Jianping says he typically writes his signature by holding a pen in his mouth, but banks rejected his loan applications on the grounds that his written signature can be easily imitated, presumably by anyone holding a pen in his mouth, and they don’t accept toeprints.

“Fingerprinting is a common practice because signatures can be imitated, but there is no way to copy a fingerprint,” one bank employee was quoted as saying. Ah. And just how does someone impersonate a loan applicant with no arms? How many 25 year-old teachers without arms are there in China, anyway? Are people always coming up to Wu Jianping in the streets of Beijing, where he works, and telling him, “I’m sorry! I mistook you for someone else” ?

The banks are receiving widespread criticism online and in social media, with many writing that demanding fingerprints from an armless man is unreasonable. Gee, ya think? Let’s have a panel discussion about it. Now some of the banks are apparently relenting. That’s generous of them.

I bet George Bailey would have given Wu a loan…

[Ethics Alarms will now open up the thread to all the terrible jokes anyone wants to submit, as my Thanksgiving gift to the readership. I might as well, since I know you will make them anyway. I reserve the one in the caption, one of my all-time favorites, and also “Well, they can’t accuse him of asking for a hand-out!”, because I wanted to write it first, and it’s my blog, so there. But there are a lot more. A lot.]

*One of the very first posts on Ethics Alarms highlighted a similar episode in an American bank. [Thanks to Tex for reminding me!]


Pointer: Fark



Filed under Around the World, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, The Internet

18 responses to “From The “Rules Are Rules” Files: China’s “No Arms, No Loans” Policy

  1. “Fingerprinting is a common practice because signatures can be imitated, but there is no way to copy a fingerprint,”

    Let’s start by asking if these people have never watched a modern spy film, where fake fingerprints are easily made… or just done a search on the internet to for instructions on how to do it (actually, it is China, and those search results might not come up without access to google…)

    • Chase Davidson

      Not to mention that the concept of fingerprints being unique is actually a myth. It’s one thing when you won’t bend the rules on something that is useful, it’s something else entirely when you won’t bend the rules on security theater.

  2. Sam

    Didn’t the banksters know he could toe the mark?

  3. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Well, he can’t be accused of having his thumb on the scales…

  4. You know you did have an article on this scenario here in the States a few years ago.

  5. dragin_dragon

    “Shoeless Wu”, they call him.

  6. Boy, the jokes are coming in slow..I’m going to have to start pre-empting. You know, when they told him about this, Wu did a facepa…Oh. Right…

  7. So, is there a reason they wouldn’t accept toeprints? It’s not like it would disrupt anything. It just means anyone pretending to be him would have to match his toeprints (in addition to lacking arms). Isn’t there some sort of comment field where they could make a note that his prints are from his feet because he has no arms?

    It looks like they’re apparently fixing the rules so no one else runs into this sort of situation, but it’s still kind of jarring to see it happen.

    If this had happened in the U.S., the bankers would be seeing a disability discrimination lawsuit within a few weeks, and it would be 100% justified and certain to win (unless they settled). That might just pay for the house outright.

  8. Isaac

    As long as he has shoes and a shirt, he should have got service.

  9. pennagain

    It’s political. In China, some citizens do not have the right to bear arms.

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