Skip to main content

'We fell short': U.S. Bank CEO apologizes over treatment of Black customer at Columbia Heights branch

The incident surfaced this week thanks to a KSTP report.

Over a year after a Black man ended up in handcuffs while trying to cash his paycheck at a US Bank location, the head of the company is apologizing to the community.

This comes days after KSTP published its "Banking While Black" story, which brought to light police body cam video from an October 2020 incident at the bank's Columbia Heights branch. 

As KSTP reported, Joe Morrow was waylaid at the location after staff there suspected him of trying to cash a fraudulent check. The police were called, and officers handcuffed him — though, ultimately, the check was confirmed to be real. 

U.S. Bank "disputed Morrow's allegations of racial profiling but quietly agreed to a confidential settlement" with him two weeks after KSTP "started asking questions," the report notes.

However, the letter from U.S. Bank CEO Andy Cecere, issued Friday, marks a sharp change in tone from earlier statements. 

"I am deeply sorry for where we failed and accept full responsibility," Cecere writes:

Apology from U.S. Bank CEO Andy Cecere

Addressed to "our Minneapolis community," the letter goes on to highlight the company's "commitment to racial equity," with Cecere pointing out that all employees are required to complete "two levels" of unconscious bias training."

Nonetheless, Cecere adds, "we are revisiting and expanding our employee training and guidance on how to work with customers in a more empathetic manner, recognizing the need to be culturally sensitive."

The letter also notes U.S. Bank's past racial equity efforts, including "helping close the homeownership gap by hiring more Black loan officers and appraisers," and donating the 2800 Lake Street branch for community redevelopment following last year's George Floyd protests.

"We will continue to listen and learn from the community as we expand our efforts to advance the cause of equality for all," Cecere concludes.

U.S. Bank is headquartered in downtown Minneapolis, and operates more than 2,000 branches across 26 states, according to the company's fact sheet. 

Next Up

KwonFloodFOX9

FOX 9 promotes Hannah Flood to anchor, adds new reporter

Hannah Flood will co-anchor mornings while Se Kwon joins the team.

Carjacking pursuit in Little Canada

Watch: Suspects drive wrong-way on I-35E, before carjacking separate vehicles

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said the suspects are still at large.

RestaurantFireSTP

St. Paul restaurant damaged in Sunday night fire

The fire department said the fire is considered to be "accidental."

Lake Superior.

MPCA: Minnesota's emissions fell by 23% between 2005 and 2020

Clean energy investments have driven the decline.

Dave Durenberger

Former U.S. Senator for Minnesota Dave Durenberger dies at 88

Durenberger served two terms before his disgraceful exit in the mid-1990s.

Screen Shot 2023-01-31 at 10.17.33 AM

Two new breweries join Minneapolis, St. Paul downtowns

There are new spots in North Loop and Lowertown.

driver's license

'Driver's Licenses For All' bill passes Minnesota House, heads to Senate

It would allow Minnesotans to obtain it without needing proof of legal presence in the U.S.

LawlessCocktailRoomIGLawless

Lawless Distilling in south Minneapolis abruptly closes its doors

The company stated "the wear and tear of the pandemic has taken its toll."

Related

US Bank, U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank closes 8 Minnesota branches permanently

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

US Bank, U.S. Bank

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

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

US Bank, U.S. Bank

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

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

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

The Minnesota-based company is trimming its branches.

police tape, crime scene

Teenage girl and man dead after shootings in Minneapolis, Columbia Heights

The homicides happened less than an hour apart Monday night.

fire, flames

1 person dead, firefighter injured in Columbia Heights fire

The fire was reported around 5:15 p.m. Sunday.

Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 11.48.58 AM

Pedestrian fatally struck by motorist in Columbia Heights

The man was hit just before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.