A Black Connecticut woman said a TD Bank branch, where she’s banked for 16 years, discriminated against her as she attempted to withdraw cash from her account.
Gwen Samuel, the founder and acting president of the Connecticut Parents Union, was appalled when she entered a TD Bank branch in Southington and was told that she didn’t make the teller comfortable enough for her to release $1,000 into Samuel’s possession.
In a demonstration on Monday outside of the bank, the union president shared her account of the interaction and was critical of its service, according to local news station Fox61
"I go inside, I had my TD bank card and my license," Samuel said. "They were cordial. I’m not even gonna say they were rude."
That’s when things took a turn. Samuel then waited for several minutes and when the teller finally came back, the teller's update left her appalled.
"She hands me my license and she says, 'I don’t feel comfortable giving you the money,'" Samuel recalled.
"So, I got confused so I said, 'you don’t feel comfortable giving me the money,'" she added. "She said 'well you just deposited the check yesterday.'"
Before she left her home, Samuel said she checked her account online and verified that the funds were available.
"And she said 'oh yeah it cleared. The money is available. I just don’t feel comfortable giving it to you,'" Samuel said.
With the teller refusing her service, the woman resorted to using an ATM to access funds within the account.
By using the ATM, Samuel “took out the money, the max, no problem," she said.
Then, she said she went to a separate branch and was able to take out the remaining money she needed to pay a union vendor without any issue.
“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.
On Wednesday, TD Bank issued a statement to Fox61 where it said it discussed the matter with Samuel and apologized for the the incident.
"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,” the bank’s statement began. “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. We value her relationship with TD and hope to continue to serve her in the future."
Samuel, who revealed that she has informed state and federal lawmakers about her experience, has threatened to end her relationship with the bank if things don’t improve.
"If they don’t improve, then we’ll just have to escalate and move our money," she said.