Officials want banking policy that impacts communities of color changed
Bridgeport officials tell News 12 Connecticut they want the banking industry to change a policy they believe is harmful to communities of color.
They say when people receive a temporary ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles, most banks do not treat that ID the same way they would a permanent plastic one.
Jose Maldenado, a Bridgeport senior citizen, said he is still a full-time dad to his 37-year-old son, who has very special needs.
The 70-year-old is bound to a wheelchair but is still quite capable of getting around by himself, even if it takes him a little longer.
"He loves his son," said family friend and Bridgeport City Council Member Jorge Cruz. Cruz said he wants to shine a light on a problem Maldenado ran into more than a week ago that he can't resolve on his own.
"This is a legitimate legal ID," Cruz said while showing the temporary ID card Maldenado just got for his son from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles.
Cruz said when Maldenado, who is conservator to his son, tried to use the paper document to withdraw money from his son's bank account, the bank refused to honor it. This left Maldenado unable to pay his son's bills.
"They give you this temporary ID -- a paper ID -- with a one-month duration until you receive the actual ID, and the bank said they would not accept this paper here because they can't scan it," Cruz explained.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal said while the problem may affect only a limited the number of people, those who are impacted by it tend to be extremely vulnerable, like Maldenado and his son with special needs. It can take up to three weeks, officials said, for the permanent ID to arrive in the mail.
"I'm going to look into whether exceptions are possible for conservators, people responsible for their disabled relatives, to have access to those funds necessary for their rent and survival," Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal said he will write a letter to federal bank regulators to try and get the problem fixed so people like Maldenado and his son aren't left even more vulnerable than they were to begin with.
"I couldn't believe that any bank would do that, especially to a loyal customer such as this gentleman here, Jose Maldenado," Cruz added.
Blumenthal said the issue relates to "fundamental rights of access protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act."