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Banking While Black
Bank One has introduced new security measures in Chicago. Customers will be required to enter the bank one person at a time through a set of double locked doors and wait for a light to turn from red to green before passing through a metal detector. However, most Bank One customers will not need to be concerned with the new security measures since they were introduced at only a single location on the South Side of the city.

Community leaders in the neighborhood are appalled by the new Bank One practices. Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins has explained that "When Bank One only enacts such restrictive access and displays such offensive signage within this African American community, then this policy becomes demeaning, disrespectful, and discriminating."

The pastor of Saint Sabina Catholic Church described the Bank One security measures by stating, "It's pure racism, racial profiling, black while banking, it's stereotyping, it's sending every negative message you can send and doing it in the name of corporate." Father Pfleger became involved in the Bank One issue at the request of some members of his congregation.

Bank One has indicated the security measures were taken in response to high crime in the community. However, in a statement on their website, the Church points out that "no bank in the area has had bank robberies and ShoreBank just 2 blocks away has no problems nor would they consider implementing such insulting procedures. A Bank One branch in Hyde Park has been robbed twice recently, but Bank One installed no metal detectors or double door entry there!"

The Church statement goes on to say "Bank One's spokesperson told us we should be glad that Bank One opened a branch in the area. The implication is that African-American and Latino communities should be so glad to get their business that any conditions are worth it. Let us not forget that Bank One must satisfy the community reinvestment act and that they are also making money in the community."

Winston, like all dogs, is color blind. But he is not blind to the implications of the new Bank One security measures. Winston is sure that Bank One is only concerned about the safety of their customers and employees. Thus, Winston cannot understand why Bank One does not demonstrate equal safety concerns for their other customers and employees by installing similar security systems in predominantly white neighborhoods.

Now that the community has spoken up about Bank One's security practices, Winston thinks it time that Bank One's regulators weigh in on the issue.

  • Click for statement of Saint Sabina Catholic Church.
  • Click for ABC 7 Chicago news story.

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