back to article Bank of America demands thumbprint from armless bloke

A Florida man is a bit hacked off with the Bank of America after it refused to cash a cheque made out to his missus unless he provided a thumbprint - a slight impediment to the transaction, because he has no arms. Steve Valdez, 54, explained to the Today show yesterday that he went to his wife's branch, but "teller and branch …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BOA SOP

    Idiots... The whole lot could screw up a one car parade.

  2. Charles Smith
    Coat

    He is lucky not to be in the UK

    With NuLabour's National Id Card Scheme he'd be a "Non-person".

  3. Dave Harris Bronze badge

    Maybe I'm missing something*

    but why is he trying cash a cheque, sorry, check, made out to his wife, and how did his own bank accept said check?

    *insert your own taste-free gag

  4. John Hughes
    Unhappy

    See, this is why you need an ID card

    Oh, hang on a minute...

  5. LuMan
    FAIL

    Commerce.

    So he can open his own account and pay the check (sic) in. So, basically, the bank get another customer. Brilliant. Nothing to do with policies or prejudisms against people with no arms, as such. Just another (and somewhat insensitive) way of getting more custom.

    The Bank Of America is showing its true colors (sic) there - predominantly green.

    I suggest Mrs Valdez move her bank account to somewhere more accommodating.

  6. skeptical i
    Thumb Down

    corporate tick-list mentality

    It seems that more and more local/ branch/ regional managers are becoming nothing more than glorified cashiers, since they are not being allowed to exercise any local judgement. I'll charitably assume that the bank manager her-/him- self would personally not have had a problem with the two forms of ID, but had to follow Procedure lest s/he get a shitload from higher up the food chain. Also, remember that BofA (and chain banks in general, I'll wager) takes great glee in charging fees every time one turns around, presumably to prop up an otherwise sagging bottom line as customers flee to credit unions, local banks, and other institutions that treat customers like people and not like inventory.

  7. Graham Marsden
    FAIL

    Umm...

    ... unless you're a *very* dedicated criminal, not having arms is pretty much of an identifier, isn't it...?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Special needs or special wants?

    He would rather play on others' sympathies toward his handicap to cash a check, which isn't in his name, than face a two-day hold at his own bank? The policy at Bank Of America may seem a bit on the ridiculous side concerning the requirement of a thumb-print, but it seems Valdez needs to realize that the world does not revolve around him.

  9. Tel
    Coat

    Dear me...

    I'm sure it was just an armless misunderstanding...

    (Sorry!)

  10. Dave Bell

    All our associates are belong to us.

    People make mistakes.

    But calling the "Associates" makes them sound like people the bank doesn't have much control over.

    I'm an "associate" of an American web site. I buy stuff from them, occasionally.

    Want to trust me with your money?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Bank of America - not MY America, thank you

    Typical Bank of America crap. They are without a doubt the most evil, foulest bank in the known universe. BofA isn't about banking or customer service, never has been - it is all about mergers and acquisitions - customers are a nuisance to them. Should you need a US bank, talk to any one of several hundred smaller regional banks where you are a person, not just a number.

  12. gollux
    Grenade

    Bank of A...

    Insert humorous A word. Yep, they're this stupid. Why I used to bank there.

    My savings account slowly kept getting lower and lower interest, so I pulled it out to go with the competition. As I was getting the draft check, the teller asked my why I was leaving. I replied that the service was kind of lax and the interest was poor. She told me that they could up the interest rate, and that I'd only had to ask for a better account. My reply was that it was a little too late as I'd already opened the other account. I checked with other customers and found that BOA basically creates new account levels every six months and demotes the previous savings account offering, so you have to ask at six month intervals for the new account offering, or you don't get the current rates being offered by the other banks.

    My mom is still with them, and over the years, they've bolloxed up some rather simple, but very important things like getting SSI numbers correct, names on the accounts correct, things that could be rather devastating and needing a lot of proof to reverse any account fiascos.

    Just remember, "They're too big to fail" so I guess the incompetence is justified.

  13. Wun Hung Lo
    Coat

    Evil bank

    I'm sure the poor bloke was quite 'armless.

    Stop pushing, I'm going...

  14. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face
    Thumb Down

    see below

    I'm glad we have an icon for this kind of story...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Policy

    Only bank bosses can get a handout without a leg to stand on.

  16. Dick Emery
    WTF?

    In b4

    'armless jokes.

  17. Andus McCoatover
    Welcome

    Similar...

    ..thing happened to me when I tried to cash Travellers Cheques at Bank of America, McArthur Blvd, Irving, TX.

    "Two forms of ID, please"

    ID - Sure, here's my passport (OK for entry into US) and my Finnish driving licence.

    "Nope, your driving licence is foreign, we can't accept it" Er, so is my passport...(Sound of deaf ears flapping in the breeze)

    OK, so why would I wanna cash Euro travellers cheques if I was a 'merkan?

    Flapping sound again.

    OK, how about my work identity tag? "Yep, that's fine" (Freshly printed in Finland, recently the ink dried by that same muppet's ears flapping...)

    Godalfuc*kingmighty.

    I for one welcome my new cretinous overlords.

  18. A_Crane
    Coat

    re. The last paragraph

    Pretty handy...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    BofA's Finger Print Collection

    Bank of America's policy to collect biometric data is questionable at best. A few years back it was either left or right index finger, now it seems to be a thumb print. I understand their motive to cut down on fraudulent check cashing, but in my opinion it is not appropriate for them to get to a customer's finger print for free (it is valuable information that should cost them quite something), and they probably don't know how to handle this sensitive data with the required care (at least a few years back their personal was not able to provide information about what happens with their finger print collection and who has when access to it, etc.).

  20. Scott 26
    Coat

    Hopefully, I'm not repeating 1000s of other posts

    "Don't mind 'im - he's 'armless"

  21. Murray Pearson 1

    Well, it's even, actually.....

    He's short two arms; the teller and manager are short two brains.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (Untitled)

    Ah, as the recession bites, the blame culture flourishes, and the number of jobsworths increase trying to cover themselves.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Oh come on!

    Surely there's no 'arm in it?

    I'll get my coat, its the one without the sleeves that wasn't on the hanger ta.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    This raises so many quesitons...

    How did he enter the bank with no hands?

    How did he hand over a cheque?

    How does he produce photo ID?

    Hell, how do you even get married?

    AND WHAT KIND OF A WIFE SENDS A MAN WITH NO ARMS OFF TO RUN ERRANDS? THAT'S PRETTY COLD.

  25. Kotonoha
    Go

    Wow

    Wow, a whine that was even remotely justified for once... I think.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "a bit hacked off"

    That's just mocking the afflicted.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Shame on u BoA

    BoA statement reads a bit like "We don't give a s*it about the armless geyser but we do give a very strong s*it about Americans with Disabilities Act"

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    The wonders of the corporate world

    A classic piece of "cover your ass".

    We all have to play the CYA game, and the larger the corp. you work for the more it has to be played.

    I'd bet that there is some rule on BoA's books along the lines that any cheques cashed that turn out to be fraudulent have to have the costs paid by the teller who cashed the cheque. The teller is probably the most poorly paid employee who would be involved in the transaction too. If the teller sticks to the letter of the rules then they don't have anything to worry about, so that is what happened.

    And of course, if you are disenchanted with your job - which I would be if I worked in a bank where the fat cats are getting huge bonuses whilst the rest of the economy appears to be going down the pan - then you will stick to the rules and hide behind an equivalent of "computer says no", without a care in the world as to the reputation of the business. And the reputation is worth a lot. One helluva lot. But it is an abstract concept and difficult to quantify, so the bean counters who don't understand that there are people in the world smarter than them just ignore reputation because there isn't a number for it to go into their beloved spreadsheets. And it's spreadsheets that drive corporate decision making.

    Hell, I've been in a job where I got burnt out. When it happened that I had to enforce rules or policies or procedures that sucked, when the user complained I would simply refer them straight to the policy writer. Yeah, management types don't like that - they want the people in the trenches to take the flack. And this mentality is widespread - this is why so many companies have call centres that focus on apologising and keeping customers sweet with BS rather than actually helping the customer get a better deal than the competition are offering.

  29. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    An outrage but...

    I'm wondering how he presented two forms of ID with no arms. He may have used his feet but I'm going with a prehensile tongue.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Verification?

    How would the bank have verified his identity even if he had given his thumbprint. Do they do some kind of check with the FBI (or somesuck body). If he hadn't an account there he might not have ever visited so it would be unlikely that the bank had his prints already to check against.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    As a banker...

    I've completely read the wrong part of the story here...

    A man, took a cheque made out to HIS WIFE, to a bank where he had no account and asked to get it cashed.

    Is it just me or is that the most ridiculous part of this story??

    Move to America gents, steal your missus's money

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    May I be the (probably) 52nd to say

    that they should have cashed his cheque (check),

    After all, he looked armless enough...

    Was that bad taste? Was it? It was? Soz.

  33. Goat Jam
    Joke

    A Mighty Big Thumb

    He should have just given them a stump print.

  34. b166er

    A bit hacked off indeed ;p

    and rightly so.

  35. Charles Manning
    Thumb Up

    All I can say is

    nuff said

  36. JC 2
    Coat

    Me too!

    I'd have given them the finger too.

    (I'll get my coat)

  37. Bad Beaver
    FAIL

    WTF?

    Why oh why under the good burnin' ball o'fusion would one have to produce a freakin' thumbprint to cash a check? What is *wrong* with these 'Mericans? And where is the creativity? If such inane insanity is demanded by company policy (fuck it), have him press whatever he has onto the paper. Like a toe, toes have prints. Or just the blunt stump of his birth-defected arms. If there was a gang of grifters out cashing in by the help of cripples, the bank would have been told so. This way, he can very likely sue due to discrimination, and I hope he does.

    Anyway, here in good old continental Facististan I simply produce my nationally issued ID-CARD which is designed to keep the machinery of control via of labour and money in good working order.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cha-Ching!

    He should respond in the only way banks, corporations understand.

    Sue their arse off!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I smell..

    ... a multi million dollar lawsuit...

  40. Jay Castle
    Thumb Up

    Marvellous!

    He's 'a bit hacked off', is he? The 'from birth' nature of his disability notwithstanding, that is the BEST line this article could have started with!!!

    Good work!!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't?

    This is the same Bank of America who blamed a dead woman for the banking crisis whilst trying to collect from her, right? http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/266767

  42. Christopher Rogers
    Coat

    too soon?

    You would think the bank would give him a hand....

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Well..

    To be fair, with 2 forms of ID, he was almost certainly armless...

    Coat.

  44. Jon Teda
    Unhappy

    why couldn't the give him a hand?

    This underscores that disabled people might need a leg up in this world.

    :(

  45. dunncha
    Joke

    Reminds me of a friend I had

    He had no legs. The harassment he received was terrible.

    He was once throw off the Bus for standing on the seats.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    BoA didn't have a leg to stand on.

    They're prepared to let him open an account and pay the cheque in using the two photo-IDs but he couldn't cash the cheque with the same IDs? I suppose they could have argued that he would have to wait for the cheque to clear before he could withdraw the funds, but since electronic fund transfer allows the bank to take the funds from the payee immediately after reading into the bank's system (that's how long it takes to show when you check your balance at an ATM, after all), he shouldn't have had to wait too long... should he?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Rules on cashing spouse's checks (/cheques)

    So this is all new to me - can I cash cheques made out to any Mrs A Coward then? Or any Mrs Coward? Or is one of the forms of id a marriage certificate?

  48. Peregrine
    Thumb Up

    The banks in the US

    sure seem to want an arm and a leg. You'd think they'd have just given him a hand with it.

    Thumbs up because... well...

  49. Iain 25
    WTF?

    Language, Timothy

    "We have ensured those policies have been underscored with all our associates across the bank."

    When did American corporations stop speaking English? What's wrong with saying "We've reminded all staff not be idiots".

  50. Eden
    Joke

    Oh dear...

    Maybe it's their new ploy to get new customers?

    not working to well.

    Thumbs up to the guy for walking away, lets give him a hand!

  51. Jonathan Hogg
    WTF?

    eh?

    Why was he cashing his wife's cheques? Arms or no arms, how is this allowed in the first place?

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Joke alert!

    It wasn't as though he was a terrorist, or otherwise dangerous - in fact he was pretty 'armless.

    Yes, I know - very bad!

  53. Stephen Lacy
    FAIL

    So..

    So the bank broke the law, how are they being punished?

  54. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: May I be the (probably) 52nd to say

    Just to let you know I am allowing through each and every 'armless' post in order to celebrate the wonderful diversity and creativity of our community. Some days I'm just so proud to be a part of it.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What's happened

    to the usual Reg readership ' he knew the rules so he paid the price' mentality or does that only apply to beer drinking Malaysian women? He couldn't use a toe-print?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Toe print?

    I don't see why the man needed to provide a thumb print, if he has no hands then he would not be on the database, assuming he has not had arms and hands since birth, so they still wouldn't know who he was for sure? If they had been removed for a surgical reason, would they expected him to have brought the hands from the freezer?

    Couldn't the man have provided a toe print instead?

    I've got a Deaf mate who had to go to the bank, but they insisted on talking to my mate, me telling him what they were saying and me telling them what he said, but that wasn't good enough, they wanted to use a qualified interpreter ... which they didn't have and didn't know how to arrange. They then wouldn't accept his signture on the replacement card slip, because he didn't have his card to check his signture! Red tape gone MAD!

  57. This post has been deleted by its author

  58. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Toe print

    You'd have thought the bozos in the bank could have taken some other biometric data. Toe print, tongue print or such like. Most of those things are unique and secure enough for a stupid bank.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It works like this...

    I'm going to assume that his wife had endorsed the check, thus legitimizing the act of another cashing it. Eh?

    Where's the light bulb icon?

  60. Metal Marv
    Joke

    Re: May I be the (probably) 52nd to say

    would it be fair to say that you are going out on a limb then?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    People asking about how he can cash his wife's cheque

    The wife endorsed it to him silly.

    Jeez, some of you are even claiming to be bankers and you didn't know it was possible.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why even still use cheques?

    They are still used, just about, in the UK but generally only on sufference.

    Which would account for a large number of people posting not knowing the finer points of cheque use, such as endorsing them. Most of them will never have actually used one! I vaguely remember having to send them off when i was a kid for mail orders, but that was more than 20 years ago.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Iron Oxide

    "I'm wondering how he presented two forms of ID with no arms. He may have used his feet but I'm going with a prehensile tongue."

    There, that's the answer to your questions. All of them. Including the last one. Training, probably, to keep it strong.

    Hur, hur...

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would have cashed the cheque

    I would have cashed the cheque, I can't see any 'arm in it. The guy is obviously 'armless.

  65. James Micallef Silver badge
    FAIL

    isn't the story focusing on the wrong issue here?

    ermmm.... why was he allowed to cash a cheque made out in his wife's name in the first place? It shouldn't be possible even with 10 thumbs and 20 IDs. And also, what kind of wife sends her armless husband to cash her cheque?

  66. Paul Hates Handles
    Coat

    @rusty ol' iron oxide

    "AND WHAT KIND OF A WIFE SENDS A MAN WITH NO ARMS OFF TO RUN ERRANDS? THAT'S PRETTY COLD."

    Running is what a man with no arms does best! :D

  67. Badinoff
    Megaphone

    All Hands On Deck

    Who else thinks Bank of America deserves a hearty flogging for this episode?

    Are you with me?

    Let's have a show of hands!

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    I'd like to pay tribute to the Bank of America...

    and their employee's unswerving adherence to a well-established security protocol.

    Very laudable... :p

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just for checks...

    You also have to give BofA a fingerprint (besides ID and signature) if you want to withdraw some cash from your credit card...

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Bank of America took all my money!

    Hi, a day after Hurricane Wilma in Florida, Bank of America took all my money! I fell into near business bankruptcy. They took my entire balence in my checking account the day after Hurricane Wilma. I told them I had a lawyer and my credit card was in selltement procedures. They finally gave it back after a week. Since them I settled my credit card and closed my Bank of America right after they gave my money back. Shheeeeees!

  71. gollux
    WTF?

    CorpSpeak

    @Iain 25

    Yes, they speak like that. Read some Dilbert sometime, especially the older ones when Scot was fresh out of AT&T. I thought he was making it up until we changed our telecom services over to AT&T. The gang of reps came to sell us on the new services, and the guy I was to talk said before we went to an office to discuss his offerings that he was "Going to dialog with me the renumerative values of their website services division and how they would proactively grow our business" or some such nonsense.

  72. gollux
    Headmaster

    TheReg correction...

    In news stories elsewhere, the check was "from his wife":

    "Steve Valdez didn't have an account at a Bank of America location in downtown Tampa, where he tried to cash a check from his wife last week. However, Valdez has prosthetic arms and is unable to provide a thumbprint. He says he presented two forms of identification but was still denied."

    "Valdez said he was cashing a check from his wife, who has an account at Bank of America. But the teller told Valdez she needed a thumbprint in order to cash it — it was company policy."

    "The check was from his wife, so he took it to her bank Thursday, thinking that would make it simple. Not this time. "

    And for those who question how he got the id to the teller:

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/thumbprint-rule-at-tampa-bank-of-america-stymies-armless-man-trying-to/1033012

  73. Damien Thorn
    Paris Hilton

    Jobsworth idiots

    <rant>

    I would like to say it can only happen in America and laugh at the jobsworth friends across the pond, however these days the schools are throwing out mindless cretins who are worse than jobsworths, they should have SS emblazoned on there uniforms.

    What type of tryrannical buffon would try to enforce such a rule in the first place when the person has no arms, ignore the disability, if they have no thumbs or fingers only a complete excuse my badly spelt french would attempt to demand a print.

    Anyhow one day the bank manager and employee will need something one day. Karma gets everyone in the end - sometimes literally :-)

    </rant>

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    B of A is frighteningly anti-consumer

    I have a friend who got paid by his employer with a Bank of America check (posted against a B of A small business account). He took it to a Bank of America branch to cash it, along with his proper identification. They refused; they indicated that they were unable to cash checks drawn against accounts within their bank unless the person to whom the check was written had an account.

    I couldn't believe it. As he was unable to get a bank account at the time, he went with me to my bank and we both showed ID and signed the check and got it cashed out of my bank account. I'm not certain how my bank managed to extract the money from B of A.

  75. Fatman
    FAIL

    B of A

    This incident only serves to reinforce the often believed notion that B of A actually means Bank (full) of f---ing A$$holes!!!! If you were to look at the photo and part of this story at (http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/thumbprint-rule-at-tampa-bank-of-america-stymies-armless-man-trying-to/1033012) you will notice the man has two prosthetic limbs. Secondly, the check was drawn on his wife's BofA account.

    Since a past girlfriend used to be a bank teller, I have an understanding of WHY a thumb print is required. It is done as a form of fraud protection. It makes identifying the person who cashed the check quite clear. It is hard to argue that YOU did not cash the check, when YOUR thumb print is on it. Remember, ID cards can be faked, not so easy with fingerprints.

  76. Equitas
    Thumb Down

    The obvious one

    So why didn't he press the prosthetic thumb or thumbs on to the pad?

  77. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Corporations

    @skeptical i, Iain 25, gollux

    Yep, this is quite true, some (probably a lot) of large businesses here in the US now have a checklist, and nobody is permitted to deviate from it, even when it would make sense to. Some large companies give the local managers autonomy, others don't. They are loads of fun, talking to managers will simply then be a waste of time, they are basically there to make sure the subordinates follow the checklist, not to be able to make a sensible decision.

    It really affects customer service too -- when I worked at the local cable company, customer service was quite good -- I had some autonomy, and my manager more autonomy, I could even give (small) account credits -- if a $50-100/month customer wants a $2 credit for some problem, why not? Well, there's a split on this with the cellular companies here in the US -- if you read howardforums, some companies, you have a problem and the rep does what they have to do to fix it, they are empowered to do it... Other companies, you go up from rep to manager to their manager and none of them can actually do anything. This is true of many industries here, that's just one example where it's easy to see the difference first-hand (since people don't deal with bank problems and such as much).

    A recent case, the guy moved to McMurdo station in Antarctica.. he just wants to put his cell service on hold for a few months.. the phone company says "No you must have a utility bill". He points out McMurdo doesn't have utility bills... a top-level manager couldn't do ANYTHING, he could fax multiple forms of proof he is at McMurdo, but that's not acceptable because it's not a utility bill. Wow.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    BofD

    Yes, Bank of Douchebaggery

  79. Stevie Silver badge

    Er...

    Why didn't he just put it in his own bank in the first place? I mean, he ended up doing that anyway. Oh wait, that's right, he had to wait for the check to clear.

    No, wait, now I'm confused again. He thought a bank he didn't have any relationship with would cash a check faster than one he did? B of A said if his wife came along she could cash the check, so why didn't he just ask her to do that if it was so all-fired important to have the cash in and there and then?

    Nope. There's more to this than a stupid bank, thouhg why a thumbprint would be a door-opener I can't think.

    And as for AC "B of A is frighteningly anti-consumer": Couldn't open a Bank Account???? Whyever not? Anyone can open a bank account. All you have to do is prove that you are who you say you are. Easy if you are a citizen, easy if you aren't and have a passport and a phone bill. I should know. I am a furriner and have had bank accounts in NY since day one.

    Of course, none of the banks knew the law, so they made it up as they went along. Citibank wouldn't let me open a current or "checking" account, Nat West wouldn't let me open a deposit account. Each used the same (wrong) reading of the law (which simply states that if you don't have a SSN you must have 20% of any interest earned over the year withheld by the bank in anticipation of you dodging taxes). For the time it took to get the SSN (18 months in them days) I simply wrote checks from NatWest and saved money in Citibank.

    Now if you were going to attack the amount of time the banks (especially Citibank) take to clear checks drawn and deposited in the same city, you've got my support.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    armless

    I think the bank should just put their hands up, get their fingers out and admit their poor customer service here. He should just give them the elbow and wave goodbye to their terrible service.

    On the other hand.....

    Im sure that he could go into another bank, sign up for a better account, shake hands with the manager and he would feel a great weight off his shoulders.

    It really sounds like he has them in the palm of his hand.

    - he should sue them for not being able to use cashpoints at the same time, unless he nose better and doesn't want to wrist it.

    On a serious note, if it was me the only form of biometric id these clowns would get from me would be the scanned photo of my arse cheeks i would happily provide for them if they had a photocopier, however this may get confused with the pictures of their employee of the month

  81. Jeffrey Nonken
    Coat

    Enough 'armless jokes...

    ...They don't have a leg to stand on.

  82. cordwainer 1

    correction, confusion, extra info

    Unfortunately the Reg account has caused some confusion (my nice-ish way of saying they got one very important fact quite wrong):

    The check was NOT made out to Mr. Valdez's wife. His wife made the check out to him, and asked him to get it cashed. He had previously cashed other checks at the writers' banks, and based on experience he anticipated no trouble. [Cue ominous music.]

    (The Valdez's wanted the cash that day, not after the 2 days the check would be held if he deposited it in his account. Watch the Today show interview for all the other little details on why they did what.)

    There should be no problem (Mr. Valdez must have thought) cashing a check from one of BofA's own local depositors, made out to her husband. But when he slipped the check to the teller, she noticed his prostheses...

    ["Aha!" you say. "Prostheses! So THAT'S how he...]

    ...and said, "Obviously you aren't going to be able to give us a thumbprint." He agreed politely with this inanity, and offered two valid forms of photo identification, accepted and satisfactory at every other bank he had dealt with, even those with similar fingerprint rules. He pointed that out to the teller, and to the manager she then fetched.

    Following a bit of kerfuffle, and some stunned disbelief on Mr. Valdez's part, the branch manager gave him two options: come back with the wife along, or open an account. (Translation: with thumbprint, we give you cash now--no thumbprint, we give you cash in a couple weeks, after we play with it. Yes, banks can hold new depositors' money that long or longer. Interestingly, it doesn't seem Mr. Valdez was told this.)

    Otherwise, nope, sorry, can't help you, rules are rules, no exceptions, no fingerprint, no check-cashing, other banks irrelevant, doesn't matter what ID you have, not our fault you're armless (I hope I made that last one up). Surprisingly, given her apparent reasoning skills, the manager did not suggest growing an arm.

    Not surprisingly, Mr. Valdez decided on a biologically-feasible third option, and raised the kerfuffle to a higher and more public pitch. In the Today interview, Mrs. Valdez mentions that the manager's attitude on the phone later was in general "flippant," and somewhat rude. (Definitely tune in for the "explanation" near the end of why check cashing requires a thumbprint and a new account doesn't - amazing.)

    BofA eventually called Mr. Valdez to apologize. A BofA spokeswoman said, "We should have offered alternative requirements if an individual is not able to give a thumbprint." And the Reg has quoted from the official statement, which echoes that sentiment in appropriately circuitous officialese. However, BofA's actions likely violated both state and federal disability and discrimination laws, mainly in refusal to provide reasonable requested accommodation for a disability. In other words, BofA will have to prove the thumbless Mr. Valdez's request for a non-thumbprint ID alternative was "unreasonable." What odds they try it on?

    Perhaps the autonomic cynics in the audience would now stop implying Mr. Valdez is a whiner (he has a perfectly nice baritone) or trying to play on peoples' sympathies in order to get special treatment. (Really, if jumping to conclusions were an Olympic event, some of you would be clanking.)

    My fear is the teller and manager have become two more of a growing number of brainless BofABots. Bottiness is the end result of an untreated infection with Corporate Stupidity Syndrome (CoSS), a well known but, sadly, incurable disease that robs its victims of common sense and rationality. In advanced cases, for example, victims of CoSS may swear an incident should never have taken place and that it does not reflect corporate policies---yet in the same breath claim just as earnestly that the employees responsible were simply following corporate policy. Such is the case here, and we can only hope a cure is found before the entire organization is affec....Oops, too late.

  83. gollux
    Happy

    Thanks

    @cordwainer 1

    BoABots, gonna have to remember that one next time someone complains to me about BoAService (TM).

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