A Melbourne resident was appalled to find a sign in her local bank branch that alerted customers it was closed due to a person using it as shelter.
The sign posted in the Footscray branch of Bank of Melbourne informed customers it needed to close a section of its premises due to ‘an inconsiderate person’.
“Due to an inconsiderate person using the foyer as a place to live and litter, we are having to close this part of the branch until further notice,” the sign read.
The resident called the bank “out of touch” in a post to their Facebook page.
“To think that the biggest victim in the scenario described in the sign is the bank demonstrates a fairly startling disconnect between your bank and the struggles of people who are experiencing disadvantage. You are out of touch,” they said.
Bank of Melbourne representative Nathan contacted the original poster to clarify the offence was not intended.
“Furthermore we apologise for any offence taken as this was certainly not our intention,” he said.
The representative said the sign would be removed and the issue taken up with the branch manager.
“We will be addressing this directly with the branch manager, and will have this removed as soon as possible,” he said.
The original poster replied to this apology with a request for the bank to explain how they would be holding those accountable.
“Taking down the sign won’t address the horrible attitudes behind it. What are you doing about those?” they asked.
The bank is yet to confirm if or how the person responsible will be disciplined.
The post has gained traction since it was first posted to Facebook on Sunday morning with over 3,000 reactions and almost as many comments.
Many of those who have commented are demanding the bank show transparency with how they resolve the situation.
One commenter, who identified themselves as a customer of the bank, said how the issue was resolved would directly affect whether they remain a customer.
"How you resolve this situation and more importantly, how you rectify your treatment of this homeless person WILL directly impact my decision to stay with you or not. I know banks aren't compassionate institutions, but this is too much," they said.
Listen to Aly's compassionate plea about homelessness. Post continues...
Another commenter defended the bank for its response with an appeal for users to consider how they would react if it personally affected them.
"How would all of you people appreciate someone sleeping and littering on your property, especially if it affected how you ran your business? Or is littering someone else's property, rendering the space unusable alright for someone who is homeless? Inconsiderate is a very nice way to put it if you ask me," they said.
A spokesperson for the Bank of Melbourne contacted Mamamia to share a statement that apologised for the wording used on the sign.
“Bank of Melbourne apologises for the wording on the sign that was displayed in the express zone during the closure,” they said.
“Bank of Melbourne recognises the serious plight of homelessness in Victoria. We have been working with community organisations to help the individuals using our premises.”
The spokesperson said the zone was closed to ensure the safety of the staff and general public as there have been previous reports of aggressive behaviour and intimidation.
“This zone is an unrestricted access area that’s open 24 hours, which means that it’s sometimes used as a place of shelter by some locals,” they said.
“The zone was closed to ensure the safety of our staff, customers, and members of the local community, some of whom had experienced aggressive behaviour and intimidation while trying to do their banking.”