This Black History Month has been particularly rife with the scent of racism, whether its Virginia’s governor admitting to donning blackface, or a black TD Bank customer not being able to withdraw money from his own account.
NBC 4 Washington recently reported on the case of Matin Dunlap, who was unable to withdraw $1,000 from his own TD Bank account in January because the teller at a Bethesda, Maryland TD Bank branch said that despite him providing photo identification, proof of address and date of birth, the “story doesn’t add up.” Dunlap took his phone out and started recording a video of the encounter, which he shared with local media.
“So, they ask me where I’m coming from, they ask me what I’m doing here,” Dunlap is heard saying in the cellphone video. “We’re in an affluent neighborhood, and you’re asking how someone from Baltimore comes here.”
However, a TD Bank executive insisted that the teller was simply following bank protocol when attempting to verify Dunlap’s identity.
“Unfortunately, a TD store employee was unable to verify Mr. Dunlap’s identity because there were inconsistencies in the verification information that the customer provided,” TD Bank assistant vice president Matthew T. Doherty told NBC 4. “We regret that he did not have a positive experience, which is what we strive to provide. We have made several attempts to speak with Mr. Dunlap to understand and address his concerns. We take this matter seriously and are continuing to review it.”
Dunlap’s experience is just the latest example of distrust between African Americans and banks. As the American Civil Liberties Union found in a 2015 report, banks deliberately preyed on black homeowners during the height of the subprime mortgage crisis:
“Race must have been a factor somewhere in the decision-making, because it otherwise doesn’t make a lot of sense,” [ACLU spokesperson Rachel] Goodman said… [B]lack families in the study, which surveyed 3,000 households (741 of them black), had been subjected to “redlining” – denying or charging more for necessary services – loans to people in historically black neighborhoods, which made the residents of those neighborhoods particularly susceptible to predation by fly-by-night mortgage outfits pushing sub-prime loans so they could turn them around on the then-booming secondary market.
It’s not clear whether or not Dunlap will be taking legal action against TD Bank. His attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, told NBC 4 he would be contacting the bank next week.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.