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Swedish Bank Gets the Ageism Message

After a newspaper report revealed that some Swedish banks had age limits for older adults seeking certain types of loans, a public outcry led at least one bank to change its policy.

At Ikano Bank people over age 70 were ineligible for unsecured loans. Bank officials said they didn’t want to discriminate, but that it all came down to risk. “However much we may wish it were different, we know that the risk that we are going to die or become seriously ill increases sharply with age,” Ikano representative Marina Nilsson Eiman wrote on the bank’s website in defense of the policy.

But after a week of criticism the bank relented, saying that age alone would no longer yield a rejection.

And it’s a good thing they did, says Sally Hurme at AARP Financial Services. The old policy “smacks of ageism,” she says.

Michelle Diament is a freelance writer based in Memphis, Tenn.

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