Bank ordered to pay compensation after mistaking trans woman for ‘fraud’
The Financial Ombudsman Service has ordered a bank to pay compensation, after a trans woman was blocked from her account because she has a deep voice.
Caroline Wayman, the chief ombudsman, warned the banks to make reasonable adjustments in line with the Equality Act.
She told the Telegraph: “All too often, the practical steps we suggest could have been put in place much sooner – avoiding unnecessary delays, frustration and inconvenience for the consumer.”
In one case, a trans woman had called her bank to deal with an issue – only for a staff member to flag concerns about the pitch of her voice.
Despite already having records of the woman’s gender transition three years prior, the bank concluded that a man had been trying to use a card registered in a woman’s name, and blocked her account.
The ombudsman told the bank to pay £500 compensation to the woman as compensation for the incident.
Several other concerns were also raised – such as a deaf customer being told she had no option but to phone a telephone helpline to deal with an issue.
Last year, RBS revealed it could stop asking customers for their mother’s maiden name – because a lot of people have two dads.
The bank’s Head of Inclusion Marjorie Strachan also called for a “more inclusive gender-neutral approach” to eliminate “unconscious bias”.
She said: “We recognise it can be extremely upsetting if a customer who is undergoing gender re-assignment walks into a branch and doesn’t have an easy option in explaining their needs.”