Braille Monitor                                                                            August-September 1986

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Of Identification and Bank Accounts

We of the National Federation of the Blind (and not just national, state, and local leaders but all of us) must be constantly vigilant to see that discrimination and unreasonable practice are challenged at every turn. Sometimes it is not a matter of confrontation or compelling the offending party to comply. It may be simply bringing the situation to the attention of the right person or asking that a policy be rescinded.

Mary Main is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut. Since she takes her Federationism seriously, it is not surprising that she should write the following letter:

Stamford, Connecticut
March 31, 1986

David E. A. Carson
President
People's Bank
Bridgeport, Connecticut

Dear Mr. Carson:

Early this month one of our members went to your branch in the Stamford Mall to open an account. He was asked to produce a driver's license, military identification, or a passport. Being blind, he had neither driver's license nor military identification, nor did he have a passport. He did have his social security card and one of the major charge plates, but these were not considered sufficient and he was not allowed to open an account.

We brought this to the attention of your public relations officer in Stamford, and the matter was at once settled. He was also allowed to open an account without producing any identification, and everyone was as helpful and courteous as could be.

This is not a letter of complaint. I am writing to ask if it is your usual policy to ask for such identification before any would-be client can open an account. I can hardly believe that it is. A great many people besides the blind have no driver's license or military identification or passport, and although I have opened any number of accounts in my lifetime, I have never been asked for identification of any sort. I merely wish to make sure that any other of our members who wish to open an account in your bank will not meet with a similar rebuff.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Main, Secretary
Stamford Chapter
National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut