Shame on Halifax in a time of financial uncertainty to be so brazenly bigoted and condescending, says Mercy Muroki

It's your money. Don't let this bunch of bankers tell you what to think.

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What a time to be alive.

We’ve had two years of a global pandemic, inflation is at a 40-year high, Brits face the biggest drop in living standards in nearly 70 years, nearly six million people are claiming welfare benefits, nearly double the amount from two years ago, four in 10 people in the country don’t have enough savings to tide them over for a month if they lost their job.

In fact, 10 million people in this country have less than £100 in savings. Personal debt in the UK is at its highest ever… I could go on and on.

In short, people’s finances are the most precarious they’ve been for generations. For millions of people – their money, their financial security is more important than ever before.

More and more people are turning to banks, whether it’s to borrow money to get them by, for hardship assistance, and in many cases, to tell the bank they simply can no longer afford to pay they dues.

And what do we expect from banks then? Well, data shows that the top things we want from our banks is to keep our money safe and secure, to give us low rates and fees, high customer service, easy online access, and convenient branch locations.

What you do not expect, is to be lectured by your bank about gender pronouns and shown the door if you don’t agree.

But, since the world has gone irredeemably mad, that would just be asking too much.

A few days ago, the bank Halifax tweeted this: “Pronouns matter.” They said, “hashtag, it’s a people thing”…

At this point – this was an eye-roll offence. Yes, it’s sanctimonious, it’s quite embarrassing. But at this point, you could just pass it off as just the latest example in a long list of corporate virtue signalling of late.

So, one user made the point that there’s no ambiguity about the name ‘Gemma’, that it is obviously a female name. He called this Halifax stunt ‘pathetic virtue signalling, and asked Halifax why they were trying to alienate people?

Very fair comment.

At this point you would’ve thought that Halifax would kindly respond and say something like, I don’t know, "We respect all 27 million customers who entrust us with their money. Making all our customers feel welcome to bank with us is our top priority."

But, again – it’s 2022, stupid! How dare you expect common sense and sanity?

Halifax, instead, responded this: “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."

Ahh yes, nothing screams inclusion like, you know, literally excluding customers.

Well, Halifax got what they wished for. Some customers took up the offer to close their account.

A Twitter user, who says they’ve been with the bank since the 1990s said they’d followed the advice because of the banks virtue signalling and eagerness to lose customers – mortgage account – moved, credit card – cancelled, deposit account – closed.

The adage "go woke, go broke" springs to mind.

How disgraceful for a bank, in a time of so much financial uncertainty for tens of millions of people, to be so brazenly bigoted and condescending. Shame on Halifax.

Here’s my advice – if you find yourself on the receiving end of a company’s smug self-righteousness – vote with your feet, take your service elsewhere.

It's your money. Don't let this bunch of bankers tell YOU what to think.