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TD Bank / racist treatment

United States, New York, New York Review updated:
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Contact information:
TD Bank
New York
In response to the wake of a rise in bank robberies in New York it seems as if the bank employees in the TD Bank located at 43rd street and 3rd avenue in New York, NY have begun treating black male customers with suspicion, contempt and outright rudeness.

Here's an excerpt from my blog:

An unfortunate aspect of the recession has been a sharp rise in bank robberies in New York, so some bank employees seem to have developed an outwardly hostile attitude towards male African-American customers.

An encounter with just such an employee at a TD Bank in mid-town Manhattan recently led me to close my account with the bank that treated me as a potential bank robber rather than as the loyal customer that I am.

I’m not a security expert, so I can't really instruct TD Bank on how to keep their branches from being robbed.

But I AM an African-American male, so I CAN tell them what it feels like to be profiled in the branch I've used for the past 4 years.

Almost four weeks ago on Friday February 27th inside the TD Bank branch located on 43rd street and 3rd Avenue (the branch I've used for over 4 years) I was reminded of how far this nation has to go in terms of unequal treatment in public and private facilities based on skin color.

It was a Commerce Bank when I first set up my direct deposit from work there, but in recent months it was acquired by TD Bank. Aside from a few overdraft fees for the occasional bounced check, I'm a pretty average customer.

As a 6’7” African-American male, I can only suppose that (to some who don't know me) I cut an imposing figure. I was a professional football player so I am used to being gawked-at, observed, watched and followed by curious people or suspicious store employees (or bank managers) when I go into stores to shop.

It doesn't happen in the majority of instances when I shop but it does happen.

On Friday February 27th, I took a break from work in the afternoon to walk down to the bank and withdraw $1, 200 in cash to pay my rent and Con Ed to the woman I sublet my apartment from.

The teller politely asked for my ID, which I provided. She then asked me if I could wait and took my passport, walked into the back and then returned without it and asked me politely to step aside so she could serve another customer.

I waited for four minutes before a young woman of Indian or East Asian descent, casually strolled from the back, walked behind the counter and sort of just stood there glaring at me without expression with my passport in her hand.

She didn't say anything. Didn't smile or apologize for the delay, or give me a reason why my passport was taken out of site or what they were doing with it in the bank.

Though I was irate and offended, I didn't say anything particularly since one of their uniformed "greeters" casually walked over to where I was waiting and just sort of "took up station" two feet from me.

But I know I was treated differently because I was black.

I decided to do a little checking online and found that a rash of bank robberies in the New York area has led to reviews and overhauls of security measures in various banks.

A casual online search reveals a litany of complaints about TD Bank's sketchy practices. Everything from unjustified overdraft fees, to rude employees.

For example Reuters UK reported that Texas billionaire and scam artist Allen Stanford used to TD Bank to conduct his own ponzi scheme according to court records.

There are other complaints too, but I'm not here to discuss other people's experiences with an uncaring, Canadian-owned financial institution.

I'm writing in the hopes that other people who may have been treated with hostility, lack of courtesy and unprofessional behavior by a bank employee say something about it.

No bank or store employee has the right to treat black people as if they are criminals, especially a bank that has resisted efforts to install security options recommended by the NYPD that could keep tellers and money behind a safe wall so that paranoid, racist bank managers don't have to prowl the bank skulking after black customers.

The Sunday March 15th New York Times reported on efforts by the NYPD to work with banks to voluntarily enact recommendations and "best practices" to try and keep both bank employees and customers safe from the criminals responsible for a string of recent bank robberies in Manhattan.

Among the recommendations are for banks to use security partitions that protect tellers and also employ "greeters", employees who stand at the entrance and greet visitors and customers as a visual deterrent to potential thieves.

TD Bank, according to the article in the Times, has resisted NYPD requests to install security partitions and instead relies on greeters in the lobby and other undisclosed "best practices" which seem to include profiling, and or hostile suspicious managers standing around glaring at black customers who are waiting for service.

Funny, they worry about installing security partitions because it will make customers uncomfortable – but to protect their security, TD Bank allows their employees to treat and regard black customers as if they are in the bank to rob it.

Has this happened to you? Maybe someone you know?

Take action, close your account, write them a letter, call them and share your experiences online with other consumers so they know not to give their business to a company that treats honest loyal customers with contempt and disdain because their skin is darker.


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N  22nd of Apr, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Sorry that this happened to you. I am white and these things unfortunately happen everywhere. There are tons of crys against racism, but this is legit.
A  4th of May, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
No surprise there, considering the caliber of employees they hire.
D  23rd of May, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree -1 Votes
No way, so first you state, that you are used to people treating you with suspicious gazes because of your imposing figure as you are, "a 6’7” African-American male" but you don't acutally know why they did what they did because you didn't ask. Your answer is there, they were robbed by people who fit your description and are holding a unfair bias against you. Funny how that worked out? 50 years ago some white people did a lot of black people wrong and black people today who were not even alive 50 years ago hold it against them. So why do you think someone who got robbed 5 or 15 days ago by a "African-American male" wouldn't be scared. And what did the race of the manager have to do with anything? That's your bias coming through. If it was a black person behind the counter they are a sellout, if its white its racist, if its Asian its foreign and they don't know our ways. Its always something to blame. And sorry, bouncing a few checks is not normal for average customers. And at the risk of you coming and finding me and beating me up for expressing my opinion in contrast to yours, instead of talking with the bank and how they made you feel, you went running to another bank, which in time you will leave to for whatever reason pisses you off, after your honeymoon period with them is over too.
A  28th of Sep, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
same thing has happened to me!!--I was raised in a bi-cultural family, and my name does not necessarily reflect the color of my skin--I complained to corporate and to the bank branches division manger, and have received no response back, even after showing ID I was asked "are you sure this is your account"--I once even had a $300 check that I deposited from a client "marked" because the bank teller was suspicious of me; when I called customer service they said it was "odd" since my check was NOT for a large amount--I'm working on opening another bank account and pulling everything I have from them, I used to recommend Commerce/TD Bank to everyone but since these MULTIPLE racist incidents I tell people NOT to even consider them; I feel like ever since Commerce got bought out by the Canadians it's just been going DOWNHILL (no offense to Canada or Canadians)...
A  1st of Oct, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

I understand that there are some out there who do not believe that racism still exists. The problem is, most of them are white and have never seen, payed attention to, or experienced racism first-hand. As an African American woman whose fiance is a 6'1" dark-skinned male of stocky build, I observe it all the time.

OK, he could have asked why they did what they did, but the truth is, when you are experiencing that kind of small-minded ignorance, you know it, and the pain and anger doesn't necessarily make you feel as though you should ask any questions, you'll just get the generic "standard procedure" answer, even when you see with your own eyes that it isn't happening to anyone else around you. Just because they had been robbed by AN African American male, if it wasn't that PARTICULAR male, why should he be treated with disdain? And no, had it been a white man that robbed them, I wouldn't be afraid of every white man I saw...

And by the way, 50 years ago was not a long time. The people who perpetuated this problem are still alive and well, it wasn't 100 years ago that we as a people were given BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. The same rights your family was taking for granted, we were fighting and dying for. Please, just be more open to the fact that he MAY be right; and just as you don't like for Black people to jump to the conclusion that it DOES still happen, don't be so quick to believe that it doesn't.

Lastly, yes. Average customers DO bounce checks... Hell, MILLIONAIRES bounce checks, I've seen it happen. The average person, especially now, has lees money than ever and MOST people can't even balance their checkbooks, white OR black, look it up... Things happen, but bouncing a check is certainly not the same thing as robbing a bank.
D  9th of Aug, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I work for TD bank and I can say that you were not treated this way because you were black. It's standard procedure that withdrawals and checks over $1000 need approval by a supervisor/managment because it is over the tellers limit. They should have explained that to you before asking you to step aside or even before the teller walked away from the teller line. I can assure this was not an act of racism. It is the same procedure that is followed for all races.
N  31st of Aug, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
its a procedure, i been going to same TD bank for 8 yrs and known the teller for 6+ yrs and they still ask for an ID whenever i withdraw over $1000+

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