A small-town bank in Oklahoma said the Federal Reserve wonâ€™t let it keep religious signs and symbols on display.
Federal Reserve examiners come every four years to make sure banks are complying with a long list of regulations. The examiners came to Perkins last week. And the team from Kansas City deemed a Bible verse of the day, crosses on the tellerâ€™s counter and buttons that say “Merry Christmas, God With Us.” were inappropriate. The Bible verse of the day on the bank’s Internet site also had to be taken down.
â€œI donâ€™t think there should be a problem with them displaying whatever religious symbols they want to display,â€ said Amy Weierman, a Perkins resident.
Specifically, the feds believed, the symbols violated the discouragement clause of Regulation B of the bank regulations. According to the clause, “…the use of words, symbols, models and other forms of communication … express, imply or suggest a discriminatory preference or policy of exclusion.”
The feds interpret that to mean, for example, a Jew or Muslim or atheist may be offended and believe they may be discriminated against at this bank. It is an appearance of discrimination.
But customers Eyewitness News 5 talked to said they arenâ€™t buying it.
â€œThis is just ridiculous,â€ said bank customer Jim Nyles. â€œThis whole thing is just ridiculous. We all have regulatory bodies that govern us. But this is too much.â€
â€œI think thatâ€™s absurd,â€ said Chelsi Holser, a bank customer. â€œI donâ€™t agree with it at all. They are taking Christ out of Christmas and life.â€
The bank is quietly fighting for a clearer interpretation of the clause. Officials have contacted their two U.S. legislators, Rep. Frank Lucas and Sen. Jim Inhofe, and the Oklahoma Bankers Association to help.