U.S. Bank to review firing of 2 employees who broke rules to help customer

The Minneapolis-based bank was the subject of a scathing column in the New York Times.
Publish date:

The CEO of U.S. Bank has vowed to make changes after a controversy that saw two of his employees fired for helping a customer outside of approved channels.

The efforts of the workers and their subsequent firing at the hands of the Minneapolis-based bank was the subject of a scathing column by New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof at the weekend.

It relates to the story of Oregon's Marc Eugenio, who was waiting for a $1,080 paycheck he had deposited to clear so he could buy his kids Christmas presents, only to find the bank had put a hold on most of the amount.

He then ran out of gas on Christmas Eve, and, finding his bank balance still empty, he called a U.S. Bank call center for help. 

One of the workers, Emily James, learned that despite Eugenio being told the money would be released before Christmas, this wasn't the case. To help him out, she drove out to the gas station he was at and lent him $20.

This, U.S. Bank said, put herself and the bank at unnecessary risk and led to the firing of both James and her line manager. 

Kristof tweeted an update after the article went live on Saturday, saying that U.S. Bank CEO Andrew Cecere had called him to say, "I will fix this," and had also reached out to James.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

On Monday, the bank published a statement on its website from Cecere, saying that the firing in Oregon "does not reflect who we are as a company."

Cecere said the company will be looking to review its policies and make changes "that align with our values and our commitment to both customers and employees."

"It is important to acknowledge our mistakes and when we fall short of our own high expectations. I take full responsibility," Cecere said.

"This weekend, after personally speaking with the employees involved I have a better understanding of their motivations and don’t think we got this one quite right. I am committed to working with these employees and others on the team to understand how we can do better."

Next Up

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

MN launches campaign to get students tested for COVID every 2 weeks

The state launched a youth testing campaign on Wednesday as part of its effort to control the spread of COVID.

jacob frey

Preparations for Derek Chauvin trial underway in Minneapolis

People will see "fortification" efforts and National Guard soldiers.

Willmar Police Department

Road rage leads to brawl at Willmar intersection, police say

The participants appeared to know each other, police said.

hazelewood burgers

3 Minnesota restaurants make it on 50 best burgers in America list

A travel website praised the restaurants' burgers in a recently released list.

Fire, firefighters

Firefighter critical after gun discharges during blaze, hitting him

The 35-year-old Cornell firefighter is hospitalized in critical condition

evelyn adams

After 2 years, sheriff's office seeks new leads in unsolved deadly home invasion

"The sheriff’s office is close to knowing exactly what occurred that night but needs your help," the sheriff's office said.

joseph heroff

Man charged in chase that ended with police fatally shooting suspect

The suspect who was shot has also been identified.

Royce Lewis

Twins' Royce Lewis tears his ACL, will undergo surgery

A huge blow for the former No. 1 draft pick.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Police release cause of death for daughter of MN Supreme Court Justice and Allina CEO

Olivia Chutich died from a combination of excessive drinking and hypothermia.


Science Museum of Minnesota to reopen this weekend

The museum will be open on weekends with limited capacity and other safety precautions.

Keith Ellison

State officials push for shortened sentences for some elderly inmates

A bill introduced in the state Legislature would allow elderly inmates to apply for shortened sentences if they show evidence of rehabilitation.


US Bank

U.S. Bank closes 8 Minnesota branches permanently

The bank announced last month it would be accelerating its branch closures.

U.S. Bank to close hundreds of branches in the next 2 years

The Minnesota-based company is trimming its branches.

US Bank

Job cuts coming to U.S. Bank branches, offices

The Minneapolis-based bank is currently amidst a cull of its branches.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank to lay off 1 percent of its workforce

The company has corporate offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Bremer bank

St. Paul's Bremer Bank could be sold amid internal split

The trust that controls it can't agree on a strategy with the bank's board.


TCF Bank to become Huntington as part of $22 billion merger

The bank, which will soon be known as Huntington, was founded in Minneapolis in 1923.

Bell Bank gives Minnesota employees a bumper bonus

The bank is celebrating reaching a financial milestone.