A bank in Canada has apologised after it removed an Asian woman from one of its bank notes in favour of a Caucasian, a move that prompted accusations of racism, a media report said.

The initial design for the new Canadian $100 note featured a picture of an Asian woman, but was scrapped after focus groups expressed concern that Asians should not be the only ethnic group represented, the Daily Mail reported.

When the bill was released into circulation, the Asian woman had been removed and replaced with a woman who looked to be Caucasian, prompting complaints from Chinese groups and media commentators.

In a rare formal apology, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said the bank had never intended bank notes to feature people who represented only one ethnic group.

“I apologise to those who were offended. The bank’s handling of this issue did not meet the standards Canadians justifiably expect of us. We will be reviewing our design process in light of these events. Our bank notes belong to all Canadians,” he said.- IANS