Halifax, part of the Lloyds Banking Group, has seen around half a million pounds worth of investments and savings withdrawn after some customers branded staff badges with preferred pronouns as “pathetic virtue signalling”.
Last Tuesday (28 June) the bank tweeted an image of a lapel badge bearing the name Gemma, followed by she/her/hers in brackets, with a caption reading “Pronouns matter. #It’s a people thing”.
When a customer replied, “There’s no ambiguity about the name ‘Gemma’ It’s a female person’s name. In other words, it’s pathetic virtue signalling and is seen as such by almost everyone who has responded to the initial tweet. Why are you trying to alienate people?” The bank responded with the comment, “We strive for inclusion, equality, and quite simply in doing what’s right. If you disagree with our values, you’re welcome to close your account.”
Several customers appear to have taken Halifax up on their offer, with one customer writing, “I’ve closed my account… sick to death of woke”, while another told Yorkshire Live, “These pronouns are stupid and based on a flawed ideology. It’s a political belief system. The wokery will have a negative effect on their profits and share price. What a terrible decision from management. Hope they are held to account for this at the next shareholders’ meeting.”
Another customer commented, “My wife and I have followed this advice, partly due to Halifax’s current virtue signalling but mostly the eagerness of [Halifax’s social media manager] AndyM to lose customers. Mortgage is being moved, credit cards have been cancelled, deposit account closed. Had been with you since the 90s.”
Many customers were baffled as to why the optional badge scheme was causing some people to become so angry, with one Twitter user writing, “Weird to see so many people in a frothing rage about a bit of harmless courtesy. Well done for doing this.” Another Twitter user wrote, “The people closing their Halifax accounts over pronouns are THE biggest snowflakes ever. I cannot stop laughing” with another adding “People are going through the hassle of changing banks just because they don’t like the staff having badges with some fucking words on them.”
A spokesperson for Halifax explained, “We want to create a safe and accepting environment that opens the conversation around gender identity. We care about our customers’ and colleagues’ individual preferences, for us it’s a very simple solution to accidental misgendering.”