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?
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!]