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Black businesswoman says she experienced racism in Southington bank

She went into the TD Bank on Queen St. in Southington, and couldn’t believe what she encountered when she tried to make a withdrawal from her business account.

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. — Editor's note: TD Bank released an updated statement to FOX61 later Wednesday. 

A black woman, who has been banking with TD Bank for 16 years, says she feels like she was the victim of racism recently at one of the TD Bank branches in Southington.

Gwen Samuel, the President and Founder of the Connecticut Parents Union, who is a black woman, said she went into the TD Bank on Queen St. in Southington, and couldn’t believe what she encountered when she tried to make a withdrawal from her business account.

"I go inside, I had my TD bank card and my license," Samuel said. "They were cordial. I’m not even gonna say they were rude."

But then she had to wait for several minutes.

"And I see her over there and I was like 'oh she looks like she’s going through my account.' OK. Maybe that’s just the policy," she said outside of the bank on Monday morning

The teller came back and shocked her.

"She hands me my license and she says, 'I don’t feel comfortable giving you the money.'"

Samuel said she was attempting to withdraw just over $1,000 to pay a vendor of CPU.

"So, I got confused so I said, 'you don’t feel comfortable giving me the money,'" she said. "She said 'well you just deposited the check yesterday.'"

But Samuel told the teller the check had already cleared and that she had verified this online.

"And she said 'oh yeah it cleared. The money is available. I just don’t feel comfortable giving it to you,'" a dumbfounded Samuel said. 

She felt humiliated, with a line of customers behind her. Then, she went outside to the bank's ATM.

"And took out the money, the max, no problem," she said.

Samuel said she then went to another nearby TD Bank branch and was able to withdraw the money she tried to in Southington. 

"If they don’t improve, then we’ll just have to escalate and move our money," a frustrated Samuel said.

In a statement to FOX61 TD Bank said: 

"At TD Bank, we proudly serve diverse communities and customers and do not discriminate in the services we provide or the products we offer. We had a constructive conversation with Ms. Samuel to address her concerns and we apologized for her experience at the Queen Street store, which did not meet her expectations or ours. We listened, learned and assured her that we will do a better job in the future at the store, where we will be working with the staff to ensure consistent procedures and clearer communication when customers visit our store for bank transactions. We value her relationship with TD and hope to continue to serve her in the future." 

Samuel said she has informed state and federal lawmakers about her experience. 

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