Protestors demonstrated in front of a TD Bank branch in Southington, CT on Monday after a Black woman said she was the victim of racial discrimination from a teller at the bank.
Gwen Samuel, a 16-year TD Bank customer, said she was shocked by a teller’s response when she requested to withdraw money from her business account at the bank.
According to Samuel, the teller refused to allow her to withdraw her money and she was forced to use the ATM and withdraw the remaining money from another branch.
Samuel, CEO and founder of the educational advocacy group Connecticut Parents Union, told Fox61 that she went to the bank to withdraw over $1,000 to pay a vendor. She said the teller refused to approve the withdraw, and told her she did not feel comfortable giving her the money.
“She hands me my license and she says, ‘I don’t feel comfortable giving you the money,’” Samuel told the station. “So, I got confused, so I said, ‘You don’t feel comfortable giving me the money,’” she said. “She said, ‘Well you just deposited the check yesterday.’”
Samuel said she tried to explain to the teller that she had already verified that the check had cleared, and the funds were available but the teller still refused the withdraw.
“And she said, ‘Oh yeah, it cleared. The money is available. I just don’t feel comfortable giving it to you,’” Samuel said, adding that the teller never explained why she felt that way.
“I was so hurt and I didn’t want to start crying,” she told WFSB TV.
There was no policy in place that prevented Samuel from withdrawing the money from her account so she went outside and withdrew the maximum amount allowable from the bank’s ATM machine. Samuel said she then went to another TD Bank branch and had no problem withdrawing the rest of the money.
“I just had to make sure I am not overreacting because we’re such a racial tense time right now, so I just wanted to give the benefit of the doubt but that doubt went away when I got the money from the ATM and Bristol,” Samuel told NBC Connecticut.
Samuel she wants the bank to make sure their policies are clear so that in the future everyone is treated fairly.
“Even though it happened to me, I don’t want anyone else to have the terrible experience,” Samuel told WFSB. “I just want them to do better. I could pull my money. I could prove that point, but I could also prove that point by trying to work with them.”
She said she isn’t calling for a boycott of TD Bank, but has filed a complaint with the Federal Reserve and the banking committee of the state General Assembly.
Since the incident and protest TD Bank has issued the following statement:
At TD Bank, we proudly serve diverse communities and customers and do not discriminate in the services we provide or the products we offer. The security of our customers’ accounts is a top priority and we regret that the specific reasons why the transaction could not be completed may not have been explained to Ms. Samuel at our Queen Street store in Southington. Due to privacy concerns, we cannot discuss the account activity of particular customers, although we can confirm that the customer’s transaction was completed at another TD store in the vicinity. We regret that Ms. Samuel did not have a positive experience, which is what we strive to provide, and that she did not receive a satisfactory explanation regarding her transaction. We are contacting her to review her transaction and to understand and address her concerns.