Gwen Samuel, who is Black, said a teller at a branch in Southington, Connecticut, refused to complete a withdrawal for her a few weeks ago, and she was forced withdraw the money at another branch.
A Black woman has accused her bank of racist practices after her request to withdraw money from her account was denied. Businessowner Gwen Samuel, who has been a customer of TD Bank for 16 years, said a teller at the bank’s Southington, Connecticut location told her she didn’t “feel comfortable” giving Samuel her own money.
“I go inside, I had my TD bank card and my license,” Samuel recounted the incident to Fox 61. “They were cordial. I’m not even gonna say they were rude.”
“And I see her over there and I was like, ‘Oh, she looks like she’s going through my account.’ Ok,” she continued. “Maybe that’s just the policy.”
Samuel was requesting to withdraw just over $1,000 so she could pay a vendor for her business, the Connecticut Parents Union educational advocacy group. However, after several minutes of waiting, the teller returned and denied her request.
“She hands me my license and she says, ‘I don’t feel comfortable giving you the money,’” Samuel said. “I got confused. So I said, ‘You don’t feel comfortable giving me the money?’ She said, ‘Well you just deposited the check yesterday.’”
Samuel explained to the teller that the check cleared already, which she verified online.
“She said, ‘Oh yeah, it cleared. The money is available. I just don’t feel comfortable giving it to you,’” Samuel continued.
Feeling embarrassed, Samuel left the bank to withdraw the maximum amount from the ATM machine outside.
“I was so hurt, and I didn’t want to start crying,” she said to Fox, calling it a “dehumanizing, devaluing” experience.
Samuel then went to a different TD branch and was able to withdraw her money without a problem.
“If they don’t improve, then we’ll just have to escalate and move our money,” she said of the bank.
Protesters assembled outside the Southington location on Monday (March 15) after hearing about Samuel’s experience. In response, the bank issued the following statement to Fox:
“At TD Bank, we proudly serve diverse communities and customers and do not discriminate in the services we provide or the products we offer. We had a constructive conversation with Ms. Samuel to address her concerns and we apologized for her experience at the Queen Street store, which did not meet her expectations or ours.”
“We listened, learned and assured her that we will do a better job in the future at the store, where we will be working with the staff to ensure consistent procedures and clearer communication when customers visit our store for bank transactions,” the statement continued. “We value her relationship with TD and hope to continue to serve her in the future.”
Samuel has reportedly informed state and federal lawmakers about her experience at the bank.
How you gonna tell someone their money is available. But you don’t feel comfortable giving it to them.