Local Banks Show Pride


For Pride Month, multiple banks have been showing their support for their LGBT customers with advertising and ATM signage.

Wells Fargo started their campaign with the release of its new commercial featuring two women learning sign language. At the end of the ad, it’s revealed they are a couple learning to sign to their new adoptive daughter, who is deaf. When they meet her, they sign “Hello beautiful, we are going to be your new mommies.”

“Serving every customer is core to our vision and values,” the bank said in a statement. “Wells Fargo’s support for the LGBT community aligns with our broader commitment to diversity –to serve diverse customers, to hire, develop and retain diverse team members and to encourage team members to value and respect each other for their differences. Our advertising content reflects our company’s values, and represents the diversity of the communities we serve.”

Also, on ATMs across the country, LGBT imagery was on screens. Customers saw a gay couple cuddling up to each other, followed by a second screen reading, “Join us in celebrating LGBT Pride. Together is a beautiful thing.”

Wells Fargo was not the only bank to participate in Pride Month. Chase customers saw a screen reading “Just Be You” on 18,000 ATM screens and digital signage.

“JPMorgan Chase supports and celebrates the diversity of our customers and our employees,” said Maribel Ferrer, a media representative for the company. “This month, our employee group PRIDE will host more than 40 events across 26 cities and 10 countries and participate in community events across the globe.”

Both banks regularly rank on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate equality index, which judges companies by how LGBT friendly they are both to their customers and employees.

Merrill Lynch, which conducts wealth management under Bank of America, is another LGBT-friendly financial institution. It started offering same-sex domestic partners health and insurance benefit plans in 2013. In South Florida, it has been a partner in putting on the National LGBTQ Task Force Gala, Winter Party, the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the Pride Center’s “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” showcase.

As to be expected, reactions to the advertising was mixed. While some applauded the banks, others threatened to leave as customers. This included the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a Christian organization. They decided to move their business to BB&T, instead.

“The decision to move the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s banking business away from Wells Fargo is based on the bank using corporate advertising to promote lifestyles that are counter to what God’s Word teaches,” Franklin Graham said in a statement to SFGN. “This is not about a business being gay friendly, it’s about whether the business is using stockholder’s money to promote a lifestyle that is not biblical.”

Franklin is the president of the organization and the son of Billy Graham.

While BB&T may not have active advertising in support of LGBT customers, it does get involved in local events – it has been an active participant in Miami Beach Pride for years.

“Our mission is to help our clients achieve economic success and financial security regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. As a company and a culture, BB&T embraces diversity and inclusion for our associates and in all aspects of our business,” said Cynthia Williams, BB&T’s chief corporate communications officer. However, we do not take formal positions on non-banking or social issues.”

Originally published in South Florida Gay News.

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