Santander Bank freezes transgender woman's account because she sounded 'like a man'

Contraltos banking with Santander are advised to avoid the faculty of speech: they might freeze your account. This is what happened to Sophia Reis, a 46-year old trans woman from Nottingham who was told she could not access her money because she sounded like a man.

Ms Reis, who began transitioning in 2016, said she informed the bank of a name change in November.

But last Thursday, despite providing all the correct security information over the telephone, her debit card and accounts were frozen until she visited a branch and provided ID.

"I felt embarrassed. I felt humiliated because yet again I have to explain myself," she said.

Worse, a bank staffer made clear that this is a policy that won't change:

"I want for the bank, as an institution, to have something in place where people like myself get protected and don't have to go through this every time."

Ms Reis said a member of staff had now placed a note on her account but said the problem could happen again.

This is an interesting remark because it exposes that the problem has happened before at Santander and that the staffer feels obliged to warn the customer that it will happen again. It doesn't matter what apologies are made or changes promised, because culture eats strategy for breakfast. The only solution is to take your money somewhere else.

Photo: Sophia Reis