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Bank sparks fury after putting up steel rods to ban homeless people 

A major bank which prides itself on its customer service has come under fire for putting up 17 steel rods outside a branch to ban homeless people.

“Let’s start with the principles” is one of the slogans used by Bankia which is one of the biggest banking enter-prises in Spain.

But furious customers have slammed it for not practising what it preaches after a series of iron bollards appeared in front of cash machines.

A petition has now been started on change.org to get them taken away and calls on the bank to help the homeless instead by injecting some much-needed cash into finding solutions.

The bars at one of the main branches in Madrid have incensed Tiago De Oliveira De Oliveira who has already gathered nearly 70,000 signatures on the protest petition.

He has criticised the move as “inhuman” and says the steel rods have stopped a number of homeless people using the area as their shelter at night.

“They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, especially now that temperatures are extremely low at night,” he writes on the campaign site.

Tiago says it is not clear if similar bars have been put up at other branches or are planned but points out that there have been similar incidents in the UK, later rescinded because of protests.

He urges: “Sign this petition to tell Bankia that situations of social exclusion such as homelessness are not solved with bars but with solidarity!”

In 2010, Bankia received a 20 million euro bail-out from the Spanish Government to avoid its collapse.

Furious supporters of the campaign say the bars are “shameful”.

“The principles and values of humility and solidarity are lost,” said one.

And another commented: “I have been a customer of Bankia for years and I am ashamed.”

A spokesman for the bank said it was an isolated case and though it did “look bad”, the action had been taken to stop people sleeping outside the branch in the day time. He claimed this had stopped people using the bank machi-nes and was an inconvenience to customers.