Monday, 7 August 2017

The Lloyds Bank not so 'merry' go round

If you have read my blog you will know the issues that Lucy has been having with Lloyds Bank. It has been happening for well over a year and a half now and is getting totally ridiculous. Despite assurances that the situation has been addressed it just keeps happening.

The latest incident which happened back in April was where a bank teller changed her pin without her authorisation just because they believed it was not Lucy's account and that she knew the pin number for the card that in their eyes was not in her name. The teller accused her of using someone elses card, did not request any proof of identity and without telling Lucy arranged for a new pin to be sent out. As you can imagine this was blinking inconvenient and all Lucy did was change the pin back to what it was.

She complained to Lloyds and they offered for someone to ring her back. Weeks went by with no response and after Lucy had rung back several times eventually someone did ring and leave a message but when she returned the call there was no answer. 3 months later she was still waiting......

Now I truly understand that the bank are making sure Lucy's account is secure and when she uses the bank she is not always presenting 'en femme' however she has been assured on numerous times that there are notes on her account advising of her circumstances. If there are notes they are either not displaying in a way the teller can see, are not obvious or are being blatantly ignored. If there is any doubt to Lucy's identity all it takes is a request for proof of id which she carries with her at all times. What is unacceptable is every time this happens she is never asked for this and is always aggressively challenged and accused of using someone elses card. From a company that is Stonewalls number 1 employer for 2017 and a main sponsor of Sparkle, this is even more unacceptable. They need to have provisions for customers in the process of transitioning or as Lucy says 'work in progress'.

At the Sparkle ball Lloyds had paid for several tables and as you can imagine I was keen to find those tables so I could discuss the situation with them (we had a discussion with some representatives at last years Sparkle) however Lucy did not want me to. We later found out that there were some very senior Lloyds staff in attendance and they were pointed out to us. After the meal Lucy approached one of them and had a chat with her and she apologised for the issues Lucy had been experiencing and she also called over another colleague who was also a senior member of staff, Richard. They were very interested in Lucy's experience and freely admitted that although they are making changes from the top down, it is taking longer than they would like to filter down to the branches and local training programmes. They wanted to use Lucy's experience as a case study but also address the issue so it does not happen again. They were at great pains to explain that it should not matter how you present, it should be about getting the service you deserve. No customer should be judged by the way they dress and be accused of using someone elses details whether they fit the binary stereotype or not. Richard took Lucy's number and promised to ring her Monday afternoon.

As promised Richard rang Lucy on Monday and she went through the issues she had been experiencing especially about the recent branch situation. He again apologised and said that this was not how they want their trans customers (or any customer) treated. He took all the details down and asked Lucy what outcome was she looking for. She said she just wanted to be treated respectfully when using the bank and it would be great if they undertook training to educate the staff. Lucy cannot be the only person suffering this sort of treatment. Richard promised that he would make sure the situation was addressed. He said for Lucy to contact him if she had any further problems.

A few days later she received a bouquet of flowers from the branch manager of the branch in question and the next day she received a letter again apologising but also stating that branch training had been undertaken to ensure this situation did not arise again. The branch manager also rung her and re-iterated what was in the letter. Interestingly he mentioned that the specific bank teller had been spoken to and in her defence she said that Lucy had said she was using her wife's card and pin which clearly was not true! Lucy would have no reason to say this! No excuses!

We happened to be in the area 2 weeks ago so together we popped into the branch again. This time Lucy was fully dressed and she presented her card to pay money in. It was a different female teller however we are sure that the training must have been successful as she didn't challenge anything and in fact was very, very friendly and chatty and did not question anything. This was probably the friendliest reception I have ever encountered at any branch let alone Lucy!

Any way, after this we thought the matter was all sorted until a couple of weeks ago when Lucy went into our local branch (different to the one before) to deposit some money. The male teller was one that she had seen on many occasions when paying money in and he has not said anything before but on this occasion he aggressively challenged Lucy and told her off for using someone elses card. She told him several times to check the notes on the account and when he eventually did he continued the transaction but there was no acknowledgement of his error or apology and his attitude didn't change either. So Lucy rang Richard and advised him of what had happened. Again he took all the details and said to leave it with him and he would contact the branch.

As yet we have not heard anything further however last week Lucy purchased a vehicle and went to the same branch to withdraw cash from her account. She wasn't fully dressed and was her usual casual 'work in progress'. It was a different teller however she she did not challenge anything. The only thing she did do in addition to getting her to enter her pin in to withdraw the cash was to sign a withdrawal slip and checked her signature. Again she was friendly and the situation went without a hitch.

So it is looking like Lloyds are sticking by their pledge to train staff to understand the whole trans situation. It is a shame that this training has only happened because of Lucy's experiences and only in the branches she mentioned. They need to learn that for many trans people specifically that during transition (and possibly after) that the outward presentation may not match their perception of who they are based on the name on the account. I doubt that this is an easy fix and will take sometime to ensure that all their staff are suitably trained but it is definitely steps in the right direction.