January 24th, 2009

Bankers are W***ers

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I’m not usually one given to making sensible plans so it was with something approaching bemusement that I found myself in the local branch of my bank this week.

I hadn’t gone there to have a look at all the money in the vault which has come out of my back pocket courtesy of Gordon Brown & his cronies in the last few months, although perhaps I should have done so, just to get my money’s worth.

No, I’m making plans for my impending changing financial circumstances; in a few weeks, I’ll be receiving more money than I’ve ever had in my life through my pension commutation. I thought it might be a good idea to have a chat with the old bank manager as to where to stick it, so to speak, at least until such time as I’ve sorted out my eventual plans.

So I made the appointment for me & Mrs Weeks & we duly arrived. We sat in the main lobby for our manager to come & get us. Every few seconds a man in a suit would come out of the door, walk across the lobby & disappear in another door. Each time I looked in expectation but they weren’t for us.

“There’s a lot of men in suits in this bank, aren’t there” said Mrs Weeks doing her ‘stating the bleeding obvious’ usual.

Eventually a man came out “Mr Weeks?” “Yes” I said, thankfully. “Can you just bare with me for a few minutes, I need to pop upstairs”, & with that he disappeared as swiftly as he’d arrived. ‘Bloody great!’ I thought as I saw another 10 minutes being knocked off my dinner time pint.

He came back about 7 or 8 minutes later & as he led us into the inner portals of the bank, he said he was being monitored by another member of staff & it was nothing for us to be concerned about.

Oh great, we’re being advised by some incompetent on his last warning before being sacked, I thought, ever the optomist.

So we sit down in an office clearly designed to hold a mop & two brooms & I outline my imminent financial change. I can almost see him rubbing his hands but not quite, he’s had several squillion of my hard-earned taxes already, why not go for a few tens of thousands more? He gives us his business card with a smile which says ‘internal bonus’.

He gets our accounts up on the screen and notices we have a specific account among the others. Apparently, this means that he can’t deal with us & we have to see someone who deals with those specific accounts. I tell him what he already sees in front of him, that the ‘special’ account only has twenty quid in it and doesn’t get used much, only ever has a maximum of a couple of hundred quid and is really unimportant to me, so can’t he just get on & talk about where or what my commutation will be paid into?

At this point, the senior member of staff, who has, until now, been silently typing stuff into a laptop, says that rules is rules and the banks policy is for one a specific department to deal with anyone who has one of their ‘special’ accounts regardless of whether they have much bigger ‘normal’ accounts. BUT, if we closed the ‘special’ account (as we don’t really use it) and transfer the £20 to another ‘normal’ account, then we can be dealt with today. By now we’d been there an hour & I could rapidly see my lunchtime pint turning into a lunchtime half. “Yes, do that”. I said.

So my manager says that in order to close that account, we’ll need to see an account specialist, but we can do that in a minute.

After a few more questions & answers, we decide to open a new account into which my commutation will be paid until I decide how I want to spend/invest it. Great. Nearly there.

Or not quite, when he finds out the size of the electronic transfer soon to be making his way he then tells us that he has to pass this on to one of the senior financial advisers because we will have more money than he is allowed to advise on. He then leaves the room to get his senior manager (we all have to stand & pile our chairs in the corner so he can open the door, move the chairs back, sit down, then stand up again & crush into the corner so him & his senior manager can get back in the room.

We get introduced to the senior financial adviser who gives us his business card, explains why he is a senior financial adviser, makes an appointment to see him a week next Tuesday & leaves, after we’ve stood up, moved the chairs & let him out.

Back to manager one, who tells us that we can now open a new account for the electronic transfer, change my ‘special’ account into a normal account & be on our way. Fantastic.

Except that he needs to leave the room to get an account specialist. (more moving of chairs, sitting down, standing up & moving of chairs so he & the account specialist can come back in, followed by moving back of chairs so we can sit down again).

We’re now beginning to understand why there are so many bloody men in suits; they can all only do one thing each.

We get introduced to the accounts specialist who gives us another card, by now we’ve got so many I’m considering drawing hearts, clubs, diamonds & spades on them & amusing myself in the corner of the room until they’ve finished. Mr Accounts Specialist takes us to his office which is marginally larger than the first guy’s so he must be a bit more important, although he has exactly the same three paintings on his wall.

So, we’re closing one account, transferring the money from that into a brand new account, then we’re opening another account into which our kids’ heritage is being paid & why don’t we open a couple of ISAs while we’re at it. Brilliant. Should be enough time in the pub for a couple of peanuts & a piss.

So we close one account. All straightforward. We open another account, going well, we then open our new special joint account only when it comes time to check the paperwork he’s opened it in my name & my mothers’ because I have a joint account with her at the same bank which is nothing to do with my wife who happens to have the same initial.

So we have to amend that so Mrs Weeks can be put on it & my mum taken off but he needs a form (it’s not only policing in which there is a form for everything!). He goes & gets the form which we sign but he has to take it to the specialist in fucked-up opening of accounts ‘cos it’s only the specialist in fucked-up accounts who can unfuck-up an account, so I ask if he can get his business card too, so I can add it to the collection.

He comes back to proudly announce that we are now the proud owners of an unfucked-up account into which we can pay our riches. Now there’s just the matter of the cash ISAs or whatever they’re called. These go remarkably swimmingly. My wife’s goes through, mine can’t because they don’t have my national Insurance number & unlike Mrs Weeks, I haven’t got the bloody faintest idea what it is, but that’s OK, if I sign the forms I can text it through to the bank later, no need to get India to fax it through the the branch, bonus.

Two and a half hours later, we leave the bank. No wonder the banking industry is in the state it is.

I’ve missed my lunchtime pint but our time before school kicking out wasn’t all wasted; we made an appointment at the bank across the road.

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  1. Tony F says:

    Now I understand what ‘recession’ means….

    January 24th, 2009 at 23:32

  2. Annette says:

    Isn’t it awful?
    Banks don’t want to know you if you haven’t got a zillion pounds in it.
    I don’t go in mine unless I really need to, for instance set up a direct debit or cancel one. When you do they ask why, where and when, and then try to get out of you all your personal details, I tell them I will not discuss my personal banking details whilst in a long queue with everyone listening.I have been very rude to them actually.
    I loathe them.

    January 25th, 2009 at 07:49

  3. Joe says:

    In the good old days we used to have a branch manager who knew you personally, understood your financial affairs and provided a service when it came to dealing with banking matters.

    Actually you escaped lightly by the standards of modern banking. Try to do anything with them by telephone and it not only takes several hours and a visit to every call centre on the planet but (unless you can ferret out their ordinary ‘phone number before you start the process) you are also paying them by means of a premium rate number for the privilage.

    January 25th, 2009 at 09:09

  4. Plodnomore says:

    Don’t forget that a particular bank will only offer you the type of account it’s currently pushing – more ackers for the bank and more commission for the salesperson (for that’s what they really are). I’ve had an account with my bank for almost 40 years (opening it when Army pay was suddenly paid monthly into a bank instead of weekly, in cash, over the paymaster’s table). My current branch is a small one where I know everyone who works there quite well. When I brought up the subject of my commutation, I was told that, as much as they would like to, they could not handle it and I had to see some faceless oik in a larger branch in a nearby town. All he did was push a number of plans which were in no way of any value to me and tied the money in for some time. By using the internet I found a bank which offered unlimited access and quite a high interest rate (still above that of the banks). Shop around and do your homework – the difference could me the difference of 4 figues a year in interest. Good hunting.

    January 25th, 2009 at 12:55

  5. eric roberts says:

    Wait until you get the bill for the consultation, I did when it happened to me at a building society.

    January 25th, 2009 at 20:18

  6. MarkUK says:

    Hey 200, you can probably do better than your local bank. No, I don’t suggest you get involved in anything less than above board, but banks don’t have all that great a record in investing money for you even before the recession.

    Why not try using one of the investment management companies? Those like Towry Law (who have my business) and St James’s Place both have good reputations. Of course, at the moment it simply means that they lose less of your money than other companies such as banks, but they are still worth dealing with.

    January 25th, 2009 at 21:44

  7. Stonehead says:

    We use a bank that has its nearest branch more than hour’s drive away. Why? Because all the banks with closer branches were total ******** wastes of time and money. We’ve had half a dozen banks over the last 10 years and all have totally stuffed things up at various times. Even the bank we use at the moment has made a couple of stupid mistakes but we’ve stuck with them because they, unlike the others, have always admitted the mistakes, fixed them, apologised and even sent us bottles of wine when they apologised. As for the rest, their policy is:

    1. It never happened.
    2. You never contacted us.
    3. That member of staff never worked for us.
    4. That member of staff no longer works for us.
    5. We have no record of your complaint.
    6. No, you can’t have your money/paperwork/personal details/passport back.
    7. Return to number 1.

    And as almost all our financial value is now tied up in the croft, livestock, buildings, machinery and equipment, I for one would have been more than happy to see the UK banking industry go down the tubes when it came within three hours of doing so last year.

    I would also have been more than pleased to see bankers and stockbrokers plummeting from their 48th storey offices.

    Lazy, thieving, lying, cheating, mendacious, cheats.

    And this is me on a good day!

    January 26th, 2009 at 12:59

  8. CJ Nerd says:

    200: Let me guess. You bank with either Barclays or NatWest. Am I right? 8-)

    Joe: “(unless you can ferret out their ordinary ‘phone number before you start the process) you are also paying them by means of a premium rate number for the privilage.”

    You can ferret out the non-ripoff numbers here:

    January 26th, 2009 at 20:12

  9. 200 says:

    Don;t worry folks, I’m not planning on letting the bank profit from my cash; I’m going to spend most of it.

    er….no, you’re wrong. And that saynoto0870 website has been in my bookmarks for a while, very handy.

    January 26th, 2009 at 22:24

  10. Annette says:

    You’ve got it in one!

    January 27th, 2009 at 09:19

  11. Agent Douane says:

    William Hill, great place to bank.

    February 1st, 2009 at 00:54

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