Another week, another all-too common micro aggression aimed a Black person in this country. This time, it’s a Black woman and it happened at a bank. Trish Doolin’s Facebook story gained quite a bit of traction on Facebook when her friend shared a screenshot of Doolin’s Facebook status.
In the status, Doolin recounted a rather troubling encounter at a KeyBank branch in Washington state.
BuzzFeed reached out to Doolin afterward and she explained in greater depth what happened.
Doolin had moved to Washington a few weeks ago to accept a new job at a design firm called Nelson, Inc. Nearly a month after relocating, she stopped by KeyBank to deposit her paycheck because her direct deposit service hadn’t taken affect yet.
The 37-year-old told BuzzFeed, “I went in, deposited my check and went about my day.”
But a few minutes later, a banker called her to tell her that there had been a problem with her check and asked if she could return to the bank.
Doolin was taken into a cubicle. When she sat down, she noticed that the bank teller had already pulled up her company’s website on his computer.
“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.”
He called the company and kept reassuring her that he was doing all of this for the bank’s safety. At this point, he had yet to ask for Doolin’s Identification.
When the company didn’t answer the phone, the banker told Doolin that because her account had not been open for 30 days, they would need to played a hold on her paycheck for nine days until they were able 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. It was just completely demeaning.”
At around 4:30, she got another call from the bank and a woman told her to, essentially, put the whole incident behind her.
“I can assure he is far from racist. He would have done that to any other customer.”
The woman eventually released Doolin’s funds after she realized the account had been open for 29 days, one day shy of the 30 day minimum.
“She made sure to tell met hat she was sorry that I was ‘having a bad day.’ At the end of the conversation she told me, ‘Go have a drink or something.’”
Doolin said that circumstances like this one can not be chalked up to a bad day or appeased with alcohol.
Later, BuzzFeed reached out to KeyBank, who issued this statement.
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.
She continued, “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.”
Doolin said that she plans to switch banks this weekend. She said she has yet to tell her employer about the incident because she just doesn’t know how.
“When you’re Black, you can’t go marching around saying, ‘I’ve been discriminated against. It’s that silent pain. You can still hurt, but just don’t do it too loudly.”
She said a mouthful there.
Later, Doolin took to Facebook once again to say that she received an apology, by phone, from the KeyBank executive office.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as I was writing this, I was singing Solange’s “F.U.B.U.” in my head. “Oh, to be us.”
As someone who used to work in a bank as a teller, there were plenty of times when we had to put a hold on someone’s check. It’s a common thing. It was something we would tell people before they walked out of the door. More often than not, people didn’t trip. It might have been an inconvenience but there was nothing they could do about it. If the check was legit, as it almost always was, then they knew the money would be there eventually. These same types of holds have happened to my sister and I in similar circumstances. (Though a 9 day hold is extreme.)
But the problem with KeyBank’s actions is that they didn’t inform Doolin of the hold until after she deposited the check and left the bank. It was the teller’s responsibility to recognize the amount of the check and inform her, before she left, that there would be a hold placed on it. Secondly, if the bank was going to take some time to investigate the validity of the check, they certainly didn’t need Doolin to do so. The fact that they called her back into the branch to discuss her employment shows that the manager was more interested in criminalizing Doolin and playing vigilante than he was about protecting the bank’s safety. He didn’t need Doolin to perform an investigation into the check’s authenticity. This was about trying to use the bank branch as a court room. And it is completely inappropriate. If the check were indeed fraudulent, it would be the bank’s responsibility to turn it over to authorities, not to try to serve justice in the midst of deposit slips and lollipops.