Was the Grinch the manager of a bank branch? Possibly. This story out of out of Florida explains a decision by two bank branches has ruffled some feathers in the charity community.
Pasco County is not often written about, but this small Florida-based area made headlines this week as two bank branches requested the removal of Toys for Tots boxes in their lobbies. According to the west Pasco County coordinator, John Durkin, TD Bank and Wells Fargo requested the donation boxes be taken out of their lobby due to a no-solicitation policy.
Update: The MyBankTracker.com team was able to get hold of a Toys for Tots representative, who has provided a detailed summary of what happened.
Durkin, a Marine Corps colonel, was upset with the manner in which the banks asked to remove the boxes telling the Tampa Bay Online, “we unceremoniously were told to get the boxes out.”
Toys For Tots Speaks out on the Situation
Terese Kerrigan, the public relations manager for the West Pasco branch of Toys for Tots send us an email about the situation below:
“We appreciate the concern! To give you a bit of history, the local branches and employees of the former Mercantile and Wachovia Banks in West Pasco County, Florida supported the local community’s Toys for Tots program for many years by hosting toy drop boxes in their lobbies during the holidays. Mercantile Banks was purchased by TD bank and Wachovia was purchased by Wells Fargo, resulting in corporate-wide policy changes that included a no-solicitation policy affecting branches in West Pasco.
Here is a timeline of what happened in November:
During the middle of November a local TD Bank representative contacted the local Toys for Tots program via email and stated that regretfully, the new company’s policy did not allow the drop boxes to be in the lobby and that they would have to be removed.
During the end of November, a local Wells Fargo Bank representative called the local Toys for Tots program via phone and also somewhat regretfully stated that “Corporate people had visited the branch and told them that the Toys for Tots boxes were not allowed”.
During this same time period, the local program’s drop box manager was told separately that he could not leave a box in the lobby of one branch of each of the banks when he attempted to do so.
A representative of TD bank, Mr. Calvin Jackson, the Tampa Retail Market Manager, did call the local Toys for Tots Program to apologize for a “misunderstanding” and to ask for a meeting to agree to a way to meet the goals of both organizations. We appreciate the apology and certainly respect their choice to participate as a drop-box location or not.
MidFlorida Bank has offered to fill the void and host Toys for Tots drop boxes in the community.
TD Bank Shares Its Side of the Story
We reached out to TD and got the following response from a representative:
“…this article from TampaBay.com is actually incorrect. TD Bank has not made any decisions and the bank is meeting with Toys for Tots on Friday.” According to the same representative the meeting was scheduled before the news broke. The bank stated that they make it a goal to support and build a strong relationship with Toys for Tots, recently donating $1,000 worth of toys to the organization.
We also reached out to Wells Fargo but were unable to get a response.
Are the Banks at Fault?
This story has many different components in play; a charity being turned away near the holidays, bank branches following rules and contradicting stories.
Durkin mentions in his interview that he respects a businesses decision not to host collection boxes, but this respect stops for large banks — or so the article implies.
Personally, I can see where both sides are coming from, but come on it’s a charity for underprivileged children! It’s clear that this story has gained some traction due to the size and scope of these banks, as well as their reported insensitivity in asking to remove the boxes.