Her age exceeded what a Citi subsidiary’s computer system recognized
Even computers have unconscious biases.
One of the world’s oldest women went without state welfare payments for three months after the IT system of a Citigroup subsidiary in Mexico wouldn’t recognize her age, Reuters reports. Maria Félix, whose birth certificate pegs her as 116 years old, couldn’t get a debit card from a Citibanamex branch in Guadalajara, Mexico because the bank’s computers reportedly couldn’t process accounts for those above 110 years of age.
Félix previously received about $60 each month from the Jalisco state government without needing a bank account, but transparency rules requiring one were recently instituted, local authorities said. The supercentenarian—a term used for those who live beyond 110—says she made do on income from her candy retail business, which she runs outside her home.
— Luis Miranda (@LuisEMirandaN) October 18, 2016
More recently, the state government has intervened. A top state government official hand-delivered a check to her, while also apologizing for the inconvenience. Citibanamex told Reuters that it was adjusting its systems and working to accommodate Félix. The state government has said it will send her checks until the bank rectifies the problem.
Despite the media brouhaha, Félix, who lived through the Mexican Revolution and numerous other 20th century tribulations, wasn’t too bothered about the inconvenience. “I grew up like an animal on the street…sooner or later, God provides,” she told the news agency. “Here I am.”
For the record, the sprightly woman who declined use of a wheelchair—she uses a cane—attributes her longevity to God and a diet of greens and beans.
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