Customers leave Halifax after being told to go elsewhere if they don’t like pronoun badges

1 July 2022, 08:53 | Updated: 1 July 2022, 09:05

Halifax has been slammed by customers for its pronoun badges.
Halifax has been slammed by customers for its pronoun badges. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Asher McShane

Customers have begun to close their accounts with Halifax after being told to go elsewhere if they disagree with staff having gender pronouns on their name badges.

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Multiple customers said they were going to close their accounts after the former building society lectured people on social media about inclusivity.

Some people shared pictures showing their cut up credit cards, and others have either sent complaints or announced they are boycotting the firm.

Halifax tweeted “pronouns matter” a few days ago along with a picture of a staff name badge reading “Gemma (she/her/hers).”

When the tweet was called out for “virtue signalling,” a Halifax social media manager AndyM responded by saying: “We strive for inclusion, equality, and quite simply in doing what’s right.

“If you disagree with our values, you’re welcome to close your account.”

Caroline Ffiske, a former Conservative councillor, said: 'It is incredibly rude for Halifax to say to customers if you don't like it go away. It's astonishing to have a bank behaving like a trans activist.'

The tweets have sparked a huge row with thousands of complaints online.

One customer said: “Credit card closed. Bank switch in progress. Not paying good money for have communist propaganda”

Another posted: “Me and my wife have just closed our accounts in this Bank.”

A third posted: “My wife and I have followed this advice, partly due to Halifax's current virtue signalling but mostly the eagerness of AndyM to lose customers.

“Mortgage is being moved, credit cards have been cancelled, deposit account closed. Had been with you since the 90s.”

However others defended the bank. One person posted: “I'm a Halifax bank customer and am pleased that they're allowing staff in branches to display their pronouns on their name badges, if they want to.

“I’m especially pleased that their response to criticism has been to tell people to close their accounts.”

One person tweeted the bank, asking: "How do I close my account?"

Halifax replied: “You can close your account by calling us on 0345 720 3040 or putting your request in writing to: Halifax Account Closure Team, PO Box 548, Leeds, LS1 1WU.”

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Halifax said the measure was brought in to prevent "accidental misgendering" and said it was "optional".

One person said there is "no need" for the move, adding they will be "blocking" the bank on Twitter.

Another asked: "Isn't "Gemma" so obviously a she/ her that it doesn't need stating?"

The move was slammed as "nonsense", with a third person adding: “Do they really matter though? I mean...when you have such things like climate change and war going on."

Despite some criticism, many people supported the bank's decision to add pronouns to staff badges and praised its "inclusivity".

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One person hit out at those criticising the bank's post, saying: "Absolutely incredible how irrational and offended transphobic people get over absolutely nothing."

While writer and speaker on banking, finance and economics, Cassandra Schadenfreude, wrote: "Indeed, politeness and courtesy matter. Casually misgendering someone is not polite or courteous. So pronouns *do* matter."

Explaining the decision to some people on twitter, Halifax said: “We want to create a safe and accepting environment that opens the conversation around gender identity.

“We care about our customers and colleagues individual preferences, for us it’s a very simple solution to accidental misgendering.”

The bank also said the option to add pronouns to staff badges was “completely optional.”

A Halifax spokesperson said: “We want to create a safe and accepting environment that opens the conversation around gender identity. We care about our customers’ and colleagues’ individual preferences so, for us, it’s a very simple solution to accidental misgendering.”

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