Why are British Banks so C++P?


This stone wall was more communicative, thoughful and sympathetic than the three banks I dealt with last week!

Regular readers of my blog know that most of the time my erudite contribution are aimed at the highest intellectual level to amuse inspire and inform (or at least I hope that is what you think!) Occasionally, however, I blog to get something off my chest which has really annoyed me. THIS IS ONE OF THOSE TIMES!!!!!

I have troubles with all three banks that I have dealt with this week. Let me start with Monday.

Earlier in March I had arranged to make a transfer for a term account with the Post Office Bank. When I looked at the slip I noticed that the bank was transferring only 10% of what they were supposed to be transferring. They had left a nought off!! So off I went to the Post Office Branch who said that there may have been a mistake but it wasn’t necessarily theirs. That could be true but I remember well asking for the right amount and that the person behind the counter had never done such a transaction before. It is also true that I should have looked carefully but the little slip that the Post Office gave me was in such small type that I could only just read it at all.

There was nothing they could do in the Post Office I had to ring a call centre. There was nothing they could do in the call centre either. They apologised but their system would not allow any correction. So I accepted that and went into the Post Office once again to make the transfer for the remaining amount knowing that I would not get it for 30 days.

So off I went to my local bank. This is the Nat West a bank I have now been with for 46 years. No problem here I thought I have never owed them a penny and they are sure to give me a quick, short term overdraft facility. Problem one was that their systems had been down all weekend and the staff could only give partial information and were run off their feet. But the problem with getting an overdraft for them was, THAT I HAD NEVER OWED THEM A PENNY!!

There was no-one in the branch who can give an overdraft of even the modest level that I wanted. So they gave me a number to call. This put me through to a computer that asked for two numbers off me that I did not have. Twice more I went to the Nat West local branch and was given different numbers which I was assured would connect me to a person. On my fourth visit to the Bank I insisted that they find me the person. After them holding onto a line for about 10 minutes they were able to achieve this and the overdraft I wanted was through in 5 minutes with the minimum of fuss.

So the next problem was with the HSBC on Friday. The Liverpool Lib Dems have just changed treasurer and secretary and the bank mandate needed to be changed. Our new treasurer is Erica so absolutely trustworthy and competent. She had given all the stuff required to change the signatories and everything was agreed with the Bank about being able to reuse the account again. So on Monday she wrote me a cheque and two others. On Thursday she was rung in the morning by the former treasurer, Graham Hulme an ACA who also knows what he is doing, to say that the bank had been on to him to say that the bank was refusing the cheques because the signatures on the cheque were not right.

Immediately Erica shot into town and talked to the relevant clerk (as he described himself). HSBC had lost the new mandates and signatures etc and were relying on the old ones. Nothing could be done unless people came in to once again prove who they were and to sign new forms. So on Friday because I needed the cash that day 4 people had to go in to the bank and provide enough evidence to enable them to pay me and two outside individuals who must have thought that the Lib Dems were scoundrels for issuing a cheque that would not be honoured.

Which brings me back to the Post Office Bank. This morning I got a letter from them saying I could not have another withdrawal because I already had one going through! I rang Omagh again and despite a great deal of sympathy there was nothing that the staff member could do. So I have to go into the Post Office again on Monday to once again ask for money. They could not explain why the counter staff in the Post Office had been unable to tell me this when I went in to make the second transfer although all the count details were available to them.

So I have come to a number for conclusions.

  1. That banks are generally bad at customer service.
  2. That they really only like you if you borrow large amounts from them.
  3. That they are desperate to drive you into on-line banking.
  4. That the whole operation is delivered by algorithms rather than people with discretion who can apply common sense to issues.

Throughout the many hours I spent sorting out banks this week I was partly reassured by the way that individual staff members tried to help me. I have nothing but praise for people who have to deal with the c++p and ill thought systems and therefore deal with angry people like me on a day-to-day basis.

But I have nothing but contempt for the big cheeses with the fat heads who lead these banks. If I could put my money elsewhere I would but all the evidence that I have seen suggest that they are all equally as bad as each other.

I hope that this Blog hasn’t been too boring but I DO FEEL BETTER!!

Why not post your bank problems here. The therapy really is worthwhile!

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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1 Response to Why are British Banks so C++P?

  1. nigel hunter says:

    Too right . they are only interested in getting everything on line ,cos it costs them less and they don,t have to deal with pesky humans.

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