Chase orders Southlake bank to remove Christmas tree
By Terry Evans| Star Telegram
SOUTHLAKE — Chase Bank told a businessman to remove the Christmas tree he donated to a local branch because it could offend people.
Antonio Morales, owner of Bellagio Day Spa in Southlake, had assembled and decorated a 9-foot-tall tree in the lobby of the Chase Bank branch at 1700 E. Southlake Boulevard as a favor to the branch manager, who is one of his clients.
The tree remained in the lobby from the Monday before Thanksgiving until Tuesday. Morales said his friend called him Wednesday to tell him the tree had to go. She later showed him an e-mail from JPMorgan Chase saying that the tree had to be removed because some people were offended by it.
The bank referred questions to corporate offices.
Greg Hassell, a JPMorgan Chase spokesman, said that the company’s policy isn’t anti-Christmas. “People wish their customers merry Christmas when it’s appropriate,” he said.
However, to ensure that everyone who visits Chase branches feels welcome and comfortable, the bank’s policy is to use only decorations supplied by the company.
“We appreciate the thoughtful gesture from Mr. Morales,” Hassell said. “Unfortunately, we’re unable to keep it [the tree] on display for the remainder of the holiday season.” JPMorgan Chase ensures that decorations are “something everyone is comfortable with, regardless of how they celebrate the season,” Hassell said.
But others see the tree as a symbol of the season.
A spokeswoman at Trinity Bank in Fort Worth said it has had a tree in its lobby since the Friday after Thanksgiving.