‘I don’t feel comfortable giving you money’: Black business owner denied withdrawal from bank account

A Black business owner says a bank teller refused to allow her to withdraw money from her own account due to racism.

Gwen Samuel, the president and founder of the Connecticut Parents Union, said she asked to withdraw just over $1,000 on Monday morning to pay a vendor from the TD Bank branch in Southington where she's done business for 16 years, reported WTIC-TV.

"I go inside, I had my TD Bank card and my license," Samuel told the TV station. "They were cordial, I'm not even going to say they were rude."

But then she was made to wait for several minutes before the teller came back and denied her request.

"She hands me my license and she says, 'I don't feel comfortable giving you the money,'" Samuel said. "So, I got confused, so I said, 'You don't feel comfortable giving me the money?' She said, 'Well you just deposited the check yesterday.'"

Samuel told the teller her deposit had already cleared, which she had already verified online, and the teller didn't disagree.

"She said, 'Oh yeah, it cleared, the money is available -- I just don't feel comfortable giving it to you,'" Samuel recalled.

Samuel felt humiliated in front of the other customers behind her in line, so she went outside to the ATM and successfully withdrew its maximum and then went to another TD Bank branch, where she was able to take out the money she needed without any trouble.

She's considering taking her account to another bank, and she's notified state and federal lawmakers about the incident, and a TD Bank spokesperson expressed regret for the treatment Samuel experienced.

"The security of our customers' accounts is a top priority and we regret that the specific reasons why the transaction could not be completed may not have been explained to Ms. Samuel at our Queen Street store in Southington," the spokesperson said. "Due to privacy concerns, we cannot discuss the account activity of particular customers, although we can confirm that the customer's transaction was completed at another TD store in the vicinity. We regret that Ms. Samuel did not have a positive experience, which is what we strive to provide, and that she did not receive a satisfactory explanation regarding her transaction. We are contacting her to review her transaction and to understand and address her concerns."