Following a staff member’s warning to leave if they don’t like the bank’s new pronoun policy, dozens of Halifax clients are canceling their accounts.
Earlier this week, the bank tweeted that employee will be able to express their pronouns on their name badges.
‘Pronouns matter’ and the hashtag ‘ItsAPeopleThing’ were used in a post that contained a picture of a female employee’s name badge with the pronouns’she/her/hers’ in brackets.
More than 150 social media users have now stated they are boycotting the old building society after hearing lectures on diversity.
Others are complaining about Halifax’s social media manager, who responded to customers who accused the bank of “virtue-signaling” by saying, “If you disagree with our beliefs, you’re welcome to delete your account.” Some people have ripped up their credit cards, while others are filing complaints.
‘Just canceled my Halifax account after 19 years with them,’ one customer said. They are free to use pronouns that are offensive to them.
Another person said, “My wife and I have heeded this advise, in part because Halifax is now virtue signaling, but primarily because AndyM is eager to lose clients.”
‘Mortgage is being moved, credit cards have been cancelled, deposit account closed. Had been with you since the 90s. Nice work.’
Speaking today, PR expert Martin Townsend said Halifax’s policy is a ‘Ratner moment’ and ‘astonishing’.
It was a reference to Gerald Ratner, who infamously caused the value of the jewellery firm he was chief executive of to plummet after branding its products ‘total c**p’ in a speech.
Halifax said the change in pronouns was made to prevent “inadvertent misgendering.”
By last night, about 10,000 individuals had taken to social media to protest. One woman said that the “crazy” policy had caused her to terminate her Halifax credit card account.
The 50-year-old London psychologist stated, “I don’t want to be having talks about gender when I go into my bank.” “Honestly, I’d prefer they were concentrating on decreasing interest rates.”
Another woman said she had moved her savings account to Nat West, adding: ‘I want to do my banking and not have a nonsensical, often deeply misogynistic religion pushed on me.
This customer said they had closed their account after 19 years with the bank. They said they can ‘stick their pronouns up their/his/her a***’
‘Telling customers they should go elsewhere if they don’t share their beliefs is an incredible statement for a business to make.’
PR expert Mr Townsend said: ‘It’s a Ratner moment I would say. It’s astonishing that they do something to make themselves look right on and virtue signalling – and they end up looking like the most old fashioned bullies, telling them: “If you don’t like it you’re welcome to leave”.
‘It’s extraordinary. Who treats their customers like that? I’ve never heard of a company inviting their customers to go.
‘It’s so typical of debate these days: “If you don’t like it, off you go”. How is that inclusive? There a big questions about Halifax today and who came up with it.’
Gareth Roberts, a former Doctor Who screenwriter and a Halifax customer since 1988, disclosed to the bank that he is gay. I’m horrified by your embrace of this misogynistic, anti-women claptrap and your response to clients who raise completely valid concerns.
Anders Jersby, a company director, cancelled his Halifax auto insurance contract and declared he would never do business with Halifax again because of “their acrobatics with pronouns.”
Halifax refused to disclose the number of customers who terminated their accounts this week, but there was ample proof that its combative response to those who voiced their disapproval was having the opposite effect.
On BBC Radio 4 yesterday financial commentator Matthew Lynn warned: ‘Companies don’t need to aggressively take positions on what are still quite divisive social issues. It probably didn’t come from the CEO – it comes from a bunch of millennial 20-somethings running the Twitter feed.
‘To tell customers that they should go and close down their accounts and go to a different bank because they have a slightly different view on this is way too aggressive.’
One man said a customer services assistant was ‘deliberately obstructive’ after he told her why he wanted to close his account.
He added that the assistant ‘doubled down and said they’re a business of inclusiveness and equality and then closed the chat but not my account’.
But another customer said: ‘To be fair, I’ve just closed my account and the staff were so apologetic. Clearly not all the Halifax staff agree with this extremist ideology.’
Several major organisations now encourage staff to state preferred gender pronouns either in emails or on badges, but Halifax is the first to suggest customers should leave if they disagree with it.
The bank has said the badge pronouns are optional for staff, but Tory MP Mark Jenkinson said the policy would put pressure on any not wishing to join in.
Halifax, which is owned by Lloyds Banking Group, did not respond to requests to comment.