37-year-old Trish Doolin, an architect, recently relocated to Seattle to take a job with Nelson, Inc.
With it being her first week of work, her company hadn’t set up the direct deposit — so she took her paycheck to the local branch of Key Bank.
Unfortunately, Trish was humiliated by a bank clerk who refused to believe that the check she was depositing was real. She received a call from the bank manager to come in and answer questions.
When you're 1 of a handful of Black female architects EVER and you try to cash your payroll check @keybank. pic.twitter.com/U1pndNGvFv
— bald headed Sug (@whoissugar) October 5, 2016
“He asked my profession, and then asked why the company’s headquarters were in Philadelphia,” Doolin said of the banker who questioned her. “Then he asked if HR could verify that I was an employee there.”
The banker then phoned Nelson’s HR to verify her identity. The entire time, Doolin was told that this was “for the bank’s safety.”
Doolin was then told the bank would place a hold on her paycheck for nine days because her account had not been open for 30 days and the bank needed to verify the funds.
“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,” Doolin said. “It was just completely demeaning.”
At the end of the day, Doolin returned home from work and phoned the bank again to speak to someone else regarding her experience. She spoke to a woman who did everything but defend the actions of the previous banker.
“I can assure he is far from racist,” the woman told Doolin. “He would have done that to any other customer.”
The woman then released Doolin’s funds into her account when she saw that it had been open for 29 days. Although Doolin did eventually get her money and was not physically harmed by the experience, it doesn’t change the pain it felt to be viewed as a threat.
“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,” Doolin said. “People still clutch their purses when I walk past.”
As a result of the story, KeyBank released an official statement defending their actions and denying any racism or discrimination.
“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 said she plans to switch banks this weekend and has not yet informed her job of her experience.