SunTrust’s Coming Out 

“It’s sensitivity training, so that everyone gets up to speed,” says Kathy Meunier, a senior vice president at SunTrust who serves on the bank’s diversity council. “We want to be more inclusive.”

Details of the program are still being worked out, Meunier says. The council has met only twice about the pilot program, and the bank’s marketing team has only just begun to explore how to advertise the concept, if at all.

The new program comes amid turbulent times for Virginia’s gay community. The state’s recently passed Marriage Affirmation Act (HB 751) has many gay couples worried about how the new law, which goes into effect July 1, affects joint checking and savings accounts, mortgages and other financial assets. In addition to banning gay marriage, the new law prohibits any “partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage. …”

Meunier says SunTrust’s decision to start sensitivity training at some branches has nothing to with the new law, however. It’s been in the works for some time. And the bank already has gay-friendly branches in the Washington area.

In Richmond, SunTrust would appear to be the first bank to launch such a program. Like SunTrust, Wachovia Corp. offers same-sex health insurance and other benefits to gay employees, but it also has a more broadly based training program. There is no training or marketing program specifically geared toward homosexuals, says Carrie Ruddy, a spokeswoman in Wachovia’s Charlotte, N.C., headquarters.

SunTrust isn’t sure which branches in Richmond will get the program first (possibly the Carytown and Allen Avenue branches). And what the program will entail is still being ironed out.

“We just want to make sure we do a good job of making people feel comfortable,” Meunier says. “If you are part of a gay couple and you have to come into to get a mortgage, how comfortable are you going to be talking about your relationship? We want to open up the lines of communication. We want to be an inclusive bank.” — Scott Bass

Letters to the editor may be sent to:


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

  • Re: Switch Voter: A Richmond Businessman Leads a Made-For-TV Brigade of Trumpocrats

    • Rickers must have been undermining Democrats since he was many of those Dems got…

    • on October 24, 2016
  • Re: Library of Virginia Layoffs Will Hinder Open Government, Preservation of Historical Record

    • This is what happens when you elect a doofus who's is a politician first, and…

    • on October 23, 2016
  • Re: Switch Voter: A Richmond Businessman Leads a Made-For-TV Brigade of Trumpocrats

    • Donald Trump is a very bad candidate. But all the others are so much worse.

    • on October 23, 2016
  • More »
  • Latest in Street Talk (Old)

    Copyright © 2016 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation