*Wells Fargo allows customers to personalize their credit and debit cards with images “that reflect what’s important to you.” But when Baltimore city schoolteacher Rachel Nash tried to “make a statement with an image,” they rejected her sleek custom design featuring a raised fist and the words: “Black Lives Matter.”
Washington Post notes that Nash is “fed up with white people who freely disparage black youth in front of her,” so she was hoping to display her pro-blackness on a debit card as a way to spark and extend the conversation to cashiers and others she interacts with while shopping.
“A lot of white people in Baltimore have really problematic views about race, and they feel like because I’m a white person I agree with them automatically,” 29-year-old Nash said. “This is one way I can demonstrate regularly that I am not complicit in whatever their views are.”
But two days after she submitted her image online, Wells Fargo rejected her design. Nash received an email from the bank informing her that her design did not meet the company’s guidelines. So she called customer service to find out why. She recalled the response:
“As soon as I said ‘Black Lives Matter,’ [the customer service agent] said, ‘Oh, that’s why it got rejected.’ She said Wells Fargo ‘didn’t want to be associated with any antisocial or offensive organizations.’ ”
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Nash was reminded that blackness, and any love of blackness, makes the establishment uncomfortable.
“She said that if ‘Black Lives Matter’ were on my card, it might offend people,” Nash said. She eventually reached a supervisor who repeated the original reasoning that it was “offensive and antisocial.”
“When I disagreed, she said, ‘Oh, it’s political,’ ” Nash said.
A Wells Fargo spokesman said on Friday that it rejected Nash’s image because company policy “prohibits political and trademarked or copyrighted images.”
Spokeman Kris Dahl said that customers who submit images such as the raised black power fist that Nash used must typically prove they created them.
“The purpose of our Card Design Studio service is to give customers the opportunity to personalize their cards, and its guidelines aim to preserve the political neutrality of our products,” the statement said. “Wells Fargo respects individuals’ right to their opinions and causes, and when Wells Fargo rejects or approves an image, that’s not a reflection of Wells Fargo’s rejection or endorsement of the customer’s political view or cause.”
What about a card with the words “Choose Life” for those who oppose abortion rights?
“Generally speaking, we would err on the side of caution as to what is considered political,” Dahl said in an interview.
The company has a litany of rules stating which types of designs are unacceptable. Nash shared her disappointment over the bank’s rejection of her Black Lives Matter band card design with her students during a discussion about financial literacy.
“These banks are very excited to sign my kids up for credit cards as soon as they get to college, but they are not supporting the people who live in my city,” Nash said. “It’s hard for students to hear that big businesses they expect to be inclusive are not. And a lot of them said they don’t feel like doing business with Wells Fargo.”
Nash is not giving up. She has submitted another design to Wells Fargo. This one says “Black People Are Important.” But that, too, will be rejected, Wells Fargo told The Post.
“Because of the political nature of the second image, it will also be declined,” Dahl said.