Halifax branded ‘shameful’ by most famous employee in pronoun row

A row over Halifax staff pronoun badges has escalated after the bank’s most famous employee called the company ‘shameful’ for telling customers they were welcome to leave if they did not agree to the move.

Howard Brown, 55, was working at a branch in Birmingham when he was chosen to appear in a series of television adverts for the company 22 years ago.

He spoke after Halifax said this week that customers were being asked to close their accounts if they didn’t like the pronoun badges.

“Howard Halifax” said the bank’s attitude towards its customers was “shocking, misguided and disappointing”.

The bank was ridiculed on social media after tweeting an image of one of the badges in a post that read: “Pronouns matter. #It’s a people thing. The photograph showed a badge with the name “Gemma” and the pronouns “She/her/her” written underneath.

In response, he said measures had been put in place to prevent “accidental gender errors”, adding: “If you disagree with our values, you can close your account”.

He then gave instructions on how to proceed, telling customers they could either call or request their accounts be closed in writing.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Brown, who left Halifax in 2012, said: ‘If this had happened when I was working there we would all have been shocked and disappointed.

“If I were a customer, I would be extremely upset. Customers are a precious commodity. You have to take care of them. When you work in a service industry, you are there to serve your customers.

“I think it’s shameful. It’s a service industry – you should leave the politics to the politicians. They’re wrong that one.

Halifax, owned by Lloyds Banking Group, said badges were optional for staff. A spokesperson said the bank wanted to “create a safe and accepting environment that opens up the conversation about gender identity.”

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