Officials want changes to banking policy that impacts communities of color

Bridgeport officials told News 12 Connecticut they want the banking industry to change a policy they believe is harmful to communities of color.

They say that when people receive a temporary ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles, most banks don’t treat that ID the same as a permanent plastic ID.

Bridgeport senior Jose Maldenado said he is still a full-time father to his 37-year-old son, who has very special needs.

The septuagenarian is tied to a wheelchair but is quite capable of getting around on his own, 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 wanted to bring to light a problem Maldenado had over a week ago that he can’t solve on his own.

“This is legitimate legal ID,” Cruz said, showing the temporary ID Maldenado just got for his son from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles.

Cruz said that when Maldenado, who is his son’s custodian, tried to use the paper document to withdraw money from his son’s bank account, the bank refused to honor him. This left Maldenado unable to pay his son’s bills.

“They give you this temporary ID – a paper ID – for a month until you get the real ID, and the bank said they don’t. wouldn’t accept this paper here because she can’t scan it,” Cruz explained.

Senator Richard Blumenthal said while the problem can only affect a limited number of people, those affected tend to be extremely vulnerable, like Maldenado and his son with special needs. According to officials, it can take up to three weeks for the permanent ID to arrive in the mail.

“I will consider whether exceptions are possible for conservators, those responsible for their disabled loved ones, to access funds necessary for their rent and survival,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said he would write a letter to federal banking regulators to try to resolve the issue so that people like Maldenado and his son aren’t even more vulnerable than they were when they started.

“I couldn’t believe a bank would do this, especially to a loyal customer like this gentleman here, Jose Maldenado,” Cruz added.

Blumenthal said the issue relates to “fundamental rights of access protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Michael J. Birnbaum