I’ve always regarded this name change thingy as not just a trans issue, but one that affects women in general too. If you’d like a bit more evidence of that, below is a guest post from partner, andrea, detailing her own experiences in name change.
I think it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that whatever bank employees think they are doing, it has bugger all to do with security – and far more to do with ticking bureaucratic boxes and covering the banks’ collective backs against allegations of money laundering.
When I got married back in the dim and distant mists of 1996 I decided not to take my husbands name but double barrel up and just stick it on after mine…and just to confuse issues I also decided not to bother hyphenating. I wrote a letter to my bank telling them A was my name and B is my name now. That changed my name.
When I got divorced less than a decade later I went into my local branch with a letter telling them my name is B and I’d like it to go back to A…. the same as it had been with that bank for eleven years before I got married.
Their response was to ask to see my divorce certificate.
At which point I told them to sod off, my marital status actually wasn’t any of my banks business and I went off and changed everything else in my life (apart from passport and driving liscence -I’ll get round to them sometime) and just kept y bank account running in my married name.
On a couple of occassions said bank even accepted cheques in my maiden name…. but hey ho I thought… that just means sooner or later they’ll just give in and let me change my name.
Trying to change
This week I gave in. I had a small tax rebate to pay in in my maiden name…. so I dug out my decree absolute to take into the bank. Lo and behold my d.a. has name B on it.
At the bank they told me to change my account I’d need a passport or driving liscence or divorce certificate…. ‘or something like that’.
I had a bit of a rant at the poor lady behind the desk becuase I don’t see how a divorce certificate with my maiden name on it proves anything other than the banks nosiness. Also that I could call myself anything I liked as long as I wasn’t trying to defraud anyone. Also that a deed poll (her other suggestion) wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Also…actually also lots of things…. including that if my partner who has managed to transition without a passport/driving licence/deed poll and come out of it with a working bank account (admittedly at a different bank)could do it…so could I and if they wouldn’t accept different proof of ID (or a letter…or just ask me some security questions – yanno the sort they ask before they hand all your money over to you) I’d be shutting down the account and moving to another bank. (probably the one Jane banks with).
Poor woman… she filled in the paperwork and said the manager would ring me.
I then paid in my cheque (remember – the one made out by the tax office in name A – the one still attached to a letter addressed to me from HM Revenue and Customs to my present address).
A banker calls
So the manager promptly rang me.
He was very pleasant, explained their process needed me to show a deed poll, passport, driving licence or divorce certificate and I told him his process was bullshit. He also told me becuase of their ‘know your customer’ inititive -at which point I told him that was bollocks too becuase if he knew his customers he’s know who I was and just change my bloody name on my sodding account- he would use his managerial discretion and he’d looked into whatother forms of ID would be acceptable.
Child benefit would be (i wrote and told them to change my name when i got divorced- and they had)… a letter from some sort of benefits agency… I asked if child tax credits would do. (He thought it would if it was an official letter).
‘You do know’ I asked ‘that Tax Credits are run by Revenue and Customs?’… and that seemed to impress him as official enough.
And I did point out they had already let me put a cheque in from that government body in my maiden name that very afternoon. But he assured me that was becuase they use their disgression to accept third party cheques.
Becuase of course accepting one letter from HMRC and rejecting a different one would just be silly wouldn’t it. (but I didn’t point this out to him)
He too asked me why I hadn’t just got a deed poll and how had I changed my name with HMRC.
I told him I could get a deed poll on the internet for a fiver and I’d rather trust his security questions… the ones they let me have money with…. than a piece of paper not worth the paper it written on. Oh…and HMCR changed my name when I wrote and asked them to.
Finally I asked him if he would still accept my divorce certificate… of course he said. What? I said – even though it has name B on it and no name A?
Hmmm… he said. I thought they usually have your maiden name on. And we’re not interested in your marital status… just who you are.
At which point the urge to scream ‘just ask me the fucking security questions you normally ask to give me money’ was so strong that I decided to compromise as opposed to scare him. I agreed to find some nice official letters, child benefit, Tax credits etc etc. and take them in.
Today I went back to the bank with a letter a letter from the Tax credits office and a letter from the NHS (who also just needed a letter to inform them of name change)… all to name A at my present address within the last 6 months.
They accepted the Tax Credit letter- but then they realised it wasn’t the same as child benefit (actually when i say ‘realised’ I mean I told them)…. they became quite doubtful when I told them that… becuase it really should be child benefit (who also changed my name by letter when I asked them). Okay I said… I give in and out of my handbag I brought my decree absolute. The one thing thay asked for all those years ago. One of the four main items they asked for yesterday. And I handed it over and let them photocopy it – complete with married name.
I’m now waiting to see if they actually go ahead and change my account.
If they don’t I’m changing bank.