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Transgender man claims Chase Bank discriminated against his gender

Posted: 6:21 PM, Jan 05, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-05 21:18:17-05

A transgender man is claiming discrimination after trying to open an account at Chase Bank and being turned away.

Daniel Sanchez said when the banker found out that he used to be a she, the banker suddenly refused to open the account. 

“My situation is very unique,” said Daniel, who legally transitioned from female to male in July of last year. 

He knew the transition could cause confusion so he called ahead to Chase Bank to explain his situation. He told the bank he recently changed his name. He also explained that he wanted to open an account under his new identity by depositing checks written to his old name.

“I didn't say anything about me being transgender, and they said it was fine,” he said.

But things suddenly changed when he went to the Chase branch on 19th and Northern avenues. He said he showed the banker his court papers to legally change his name and gender. He showed his valid Arizona driver’s license and valid social security card for Daniel Sanchez, as well as his former social security card as Daniela.

“The way he was talking to me wasn't friendly anymore. He didn't want to (open the account). He didn’t explain things, he just said, ‘Nope, we can't do it. You're done,”’ said Sanchez.

ABC15 reached out to Chase Bank, which issued a statement:

“This incident had nothing to do with discrimination,” said Maura Cordova, a vice president for media and community engagement with Chase Bank. 

Daniel is in the country legally under deferred action but is not a U.S. citizen. The bank said that it requires additional documentation, including a passport or "matricula" (document that can be obtained at the Mexican consulate in Phoenix) in such cases. 

“The banker instructed the customer on how to obtain the proper identification to open an account,” said Cordova.

However, Daniel doesn’t believe that’s the real problem. He said the bank only knew about his immigration status because of the documentation he provided to prove his gender/name change. He also said his Arizona driver’s license and social security card have been sufficient for other banks and credit cards he uses.

“Academy Bank, Bank of America debit card…credit card with Walmart,” he said, pulling the cards from his wallet.

He thinks the Chase case comes down to discrimination.

“It defeats the purpose. I thought this was the land of dreams, right?”

He said now he would like an apology from Chase and sensitivity training for the banker.

"Whether it's my race or my community, I defend it."