Classy gentleman, 90, refused service at bank over tweed hat

Anthony J delancaster-Swinbank-Slack may well be the best dressed man in Matamata, but ANZ are refusing to serve him.
TOM LEE/FAIRFAX NZ

Anthony J delancaster-Swinbank-Slack may well be the best dressed man in Matamata, but ANZ are refusing to serve him.

Anthony J delancaster-Swinbank-Slack looked a picture of class: a $100 cigar in his left hand, a tweed gentleman's cap on his head and an English Charles Barker jacket to match.

The same outfit delancaster-Swinbank-Slack was wearing two weeks ago when a bank teller refused to serve him.

It was a weekday, around 10am, when he entered the Matamata ANZ – his bank of 30 years.

"Even if we know who the customer is ... we ask them to remove their hat out of fairness to other customers," ANZ ...

"Even if we know who the customer is ... we ask them to remove their hat out of fairness to other customers," ANZ External Communications senior manager Stefan Herrick said.

"I went up to my favourite bank teller, Emma, to draw some cash and she said she couldn't serve me unless I took off my hat.

READ MORE: Your money or your hat at the bank

"If I serve you, it's as much as my job's worth, she told me."

A 60 pound cigar in his left hand, a tweed gentleman's cap on his head and an English Charles Barker jacket to match.
TOM LEE/FAIRFAX NZ

A 60 pound cigar in his left hand, a tweed gentleman's cap on his head and an English Charles Barker jacket to match.

He bought his hat from Christys' London – London's premier hat shop, according to delancaster-Swinbank-Slack.

"What a bloody stupid rule. It's nuts. A bank's a bank. You're going to take your money out and that's it – it's against human rights."

This isn't the first time the 90 year old has run into trouble for his wardrobe at an ANZ.

Allow the gentleman to be a gentleman, model and presenter Colin Mathura-Jeffree says of the tweed controversy.
PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX NZ

Allow the gentleman to be a gentleman, model and presenter Colin Mathura-Jeffree says of the tweed controversy.

Six years ago, delancaster-Swinbank-Slack encountered the same issue at Hamilton's Ward St branch.

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On that occasion, the teller told him she would not cash his cheque unless he removed his English-style tweed sports hat.

He later received an apology from the head of department, he said.

Despite this being the second occurrence, delancaster-Swinbank-Slack does not want to change banks. He only asks ANZ show some leniency.

"I've dressed this way all my life. I take my hat off for church and funerals, but never to go to the bank and I've banked in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein."

ANZ external communications senior manager Stefan Herrick said it is bank policy to ask people to remove hats and sunglasses.

ANZ Matamata, delancaster-Swinbank-Slack's bank of 30 years.
REXINE HAWES/FAIRFAX NZ

ANZ Matamata, delancaster-Swinbank-Slack's bank of 30 years.

This is a proven way to deter robberies and fraud, Herrick said.

"Even if we know who the customer is – and Mr delancaster-Swinbank-Slack is a well-known and loyal customer – we ask them to remove their hat out of fairness to other customers.

"We do realise it can be an inconvenience and seem overly cautious to those we know well, but it's a small thing we ask customers to do in the interests of safety of everyone, and we thank customers for their patience."

Herrick admits the rule isn't always enforced.

He said staff can get busy helping other customers and as a result one or two hats may get overlooked.

He suggests Mr delancaster-Swinbank-Slack give goMoney, ANZ's online banking app, a go.

"Thousands of people do their banking with goMoney every day … and they can wear their hats while doing so.

"He could also call our contact centre, who would be happy to help him with his banking over the phone."

Model and presenter Colin Mathura-Jeffree banks with ANZ and said he's disappointed to hear about Mr delancaster-Swinbank-Slack's experience.

"Someone is taking the rule to an unnecessary point ... I advise he remove his money and go to another bank."

Allow the gentleman to be a gentleman, Mathura-Jeffree said.

"I know for a fact when you dress up, you feel like a million dollars."

An accessory like delancaster-Swinbank-Slack's hat completes the whole look, he said.

"Everything is about the finish. You can't wear an amazing suit and have really bad shoes.

"He has his complete look ... head to toe."

Mathura-Jeffree said hair extensions, among other things, are a huge craze currently.

There is so much these days that can completely change the way a person looks, he said.

"If a man can walk in wearing a turban, I'm sure you can walk in as a recognised customer of 30 years wearing a hat."

However, etiquette writer Lee Suckling thinks the opposite.

"If this man really was the gentleman he claims to be, he should know that it's customary for gentlemen to remove their hats when indoors.

"This is a historical convention, true, but it's also required for modern day life - as we see with the armed forces (and the like) when they remove their hats indoors.

"A turban is a religious item of clothing; asking to remove that would be a violation of human rights. A tweed flat cap, however dapper, is not." 

Retail New Zealand Public Affairs general manager Greg Harford said hats of any description can be an issue.

"From a security point of view, hats can obscure a customer's face and banks do need to take steps to secure their premises."

Retailers work hard to reduce crime but theft in the retail environment is up, Harford said.

"We lose an estimated $1.2 billion a year from crime in the retail sector."

 - Stuff

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