Black News

Banking While Black Is Real No Matter How Successful You Are

By:  Giovanni Zaburoni

Some people in society don’t like to hear about discrimination. In fact, they prefer to believe that it doesn’t exist and the micro-aggressions that Black people encounter on a daily basis are being exaggerated but one Black woman who recently moved to Seattle, Washington has added another thing to a growing list of situations that can lead to discrimination: ‘Banking while Black.’

According to the Daily Mail, Trish Doolin, an architect, recently got a job as the captain of architecture at a company called Nelson Inc.  With many jobs, as a new employee, your first paycheck is given to you as a paper check, until the company can set up your direct deposit.  Doolin took her paper check to Key Bank and tried to deposit it in her account.  After she made the deposit, the situation took an ugly turn.  Doolin says she received a call from the bank hours after she left asking her to come back.  That’s when a bank representative starting questioning her.

One of the first things Doolin noticed was the bank representative already had her company’s website pulled up on his computer when she came in, according to Buzzfeed.  Doolin says “He asked my profession, and then asked why the company’s headquarters were in Philadelphia.  Then he asked if HR could verify that I was an employee there.  When I realized that I was defending who I was, trying to prove to someone I didn’t know who I was, I knew I was being discriminated against.  It was just completely demeaning.”

The bank representative called her job to verify her employment but didn’t get a response.  Doolin says the banker never asked for her identification while she was there and when he couldn’t get in touch with her company’s human resource department, he told her the check she deposited would be on hold for nine days until the funds were verified to protect the bank.  Doolin left the bank and went home.  She received another call from another bank employee later the same day.  Doolin expressed her concerns about being discriminated against.  The banker responded by saying, “I can assure he is far from racist.  I can assure he is far from racist.”

The banker realized Doolin’s account was just one day away from being able to accept checks without verification, so she released the money.  Whether or not this bank follows this protocol with all their clients or not, Doolin felt this happened to her because of the color of her skin.  “I live in a world where, no matter what’s in my brain or purse, no matter how I wear my hair, no matter how fabulous I look when I walk out the door, I’m still black.  People still clutch their purses when I walk past.”  

The bank released this statement following the incident:

“As a company, KeyBank values diversity within our organization, our communities and our clients. We do not tolerate discrimination. Client confidentiality means we cannot speak to any specific client’s situation. We can however, describe our Funds Availability Policy regarding client deposits and holds that may be placed on client deposits. Generally speaking and in compliance with applicable law, we advise clients who are new to KeyBank that we may place holds for a short period of time on their deposits during the first 30 days after they open their account with us. ”

Doolin plans on switching banks due to this experience.  

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