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Activists Boycott Auburn-Gresham Fifth-Third Bank Over Security Systems

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Fifth Third bank is being threatened with a boycott over the use of locking phone-booth-like metal detectors it's using in some branches.

Carlos Nelson, Executive Director of the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation stood outside Friday the Fifth-Third branch located on the 8100 block of South Ashland Avenue.

"I feel demoralized, its a horrible feeling going through this security system," he said.

State Senator Jacqueline Collins, joining activists including Father Michael Pfleger, said "this bank is concerned that my constituents are going to rob them when they're robbing my community of their dignity."

Father Pfleger said the metal detectors are disrespectful, discriminatory and stereotyping.

A customer steps into the device and removes metal items from pockets and purses. The door unlocks when the person gets a green light.

Remove them, Pfleger said, or put them in all branches or he'll call on Chicagoans to pull their money out of Fifth-Third branches at the end of December.

Andrew Hayes, with Corporate Communications for the bank, said the security systems are not just in black communities, but anywhere where robberies dictate the need. They were recently installed, he said, in Evanston, Oak Park and Wicker Park.

Its based on data, he said, not the neighborhood.

Hayes also said the bank is sympathetic to the arguments made by those who don't like standing in the locking devices and said the bank is looking at how it can improve the experience at branches that have them.

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