Bank of America demands thumbprint from armless bloke

Refuses to cash cheque in absence of hands


A Florida man is a bit hacked off with the Bank of America after it refused to cash a cheque made out to his missus unless he provided a thumbprint - a slight impediment to the transaction, because he has no arms.

Steve Valdez, 54, explained to the Today show yesterday that he went to his wife's branch, but "teller and branch manager refused to cash the cheque because he didn’t have an account there and he couldn’t give them a thumbprint to confirm his identity".

Despite Valdez presenting two forms of photo identification, the bank was having none of it. The teller explained that "if he wanted to cash the cheque, either his wife could come in to cash the cheque or he could open an account".

Marvellously, while Valdez couldn't cash the cheque using the two forms of ID, they were sufficient to open said new account, something he declined to do.

An exasperated Valdez - whose armlessness is due to a birth defect - explained: “I have cashed cheques with other banks with similar policies without a problem. The branch manager would come out, look at two forms of photo ID, initial the check and I’d go on my way.”

He thundered: “This is the first time that I have ever gone public with anything related to this. I’ve either accommodated myself or I’ve been accommodated throughout my whole life with things like this.

"But when it hits you in the face like this and you have no other alternative, you start thinking you’re not the only person in this country who cannot give a thumbprint. There’s a serious problem here, a violation of federal law.”

Valdez finally took the cheque and paid it into his account at his own bank, where "after a two-day hold, it went through with no problem".

The Bank of America responded by issuing a statement which read: “This is an isolated occurrence and does not represent the bank’s policies for accommodating customers or non-account holders with disabilities. We have ensured those policies have been underscored with all our associates across the bank.” ®


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