A Rant about banks – nothing to do with online marketing
I’ve had it with banks. Absolutely had it. Why SHOULD they get away with treating their customers as though it’s our privilege to work with them. Why do none of them engage with their clients in a vaguely modern way, why is everything still done with bits of paper, and why on earth can’t they start doing online signing.
Why? Because they don’t have to – there’s no competition in the sector at all. No one is doing it well and so they keep all the standards low so no one has a choice.
What specific incident has prompted me to write this?
I’ve just lost my rag with the Bank of Ireland. There’s a bit of history here: I opened my business banking account with them back in October, blithely assuming I could use online banking. I jumped through lots of security hoops in order to be able to access the online banking, only to realise once I had done so that actually – it’s only available in Internet Explorer on a PC! As I use a Mac and have no internet explorer it’s not possible for me therefore to access my online account. The only way I can do it is for my husband to do it at work, where they have had to go out and buy a PC just to do their online banking.
OK – so I’m not on great terms with them (and see my note below as to why it was a particularly bad day banking wise) so when I decided to go in today as I have someone here to help with my toddler, I wasn’t all that thrilled by the prospect but thought I’d just go and get it done. When they’d called me a few days ago to tell me I needed to come in I asked specifically if I should make an appointment and they said, no just come in whenever suits. So I did this afternoon. But it turns out the time that suited me didn’t suit them. After queuing for 15 minutes to tell someone what I wanted so they could fetch the relevant person, someone came out to tell me actually they couldn’t see me then, but could I go and get a coffee for 15 mins and come back.
I don’t LIKE coffee.
I haven’t got 15 minutes to spare. I was paying to park my car. I explained this to him (not the bit about the coffee) and he said there was nothing he could do. I suggested letting me sign it on my own. He told me it was a legal document and they had to explain something to me. I suggested they gave it to me to read and that I could then sign something to say I’d read it. This wasn’t any good either. He asked could I come back tomorrow, I told him I really couldn’t since I had no help with my toddler then. I then suggested that he come to my house. He’s going to ring me (he says) in 10 minutes to come up with a plan. If he comes to my house I’ll be very impressed but really I will be damned if I’ll be given the run around by some huge failing business, while I’m working extremely hard to get my business to thrive. Why should I waste my time because they are so inefficient?
Why I’m particularly cross about banks today:
A bit of background: it’s been a bad bank day. I’ve been trying for 2 months to get a bank account opened for a charity I’m starting
. It’s quite urgent for two reasons: firstly there’s a lot of cash and cheques which have now been sitting around at home which is bad for the people who wrote the cheques as they are expecting the money to leave their accounts and it hasn’t, and bad for the person sitting with the money as they’re not sleeping well at night. The second problem is that we are missing out on big fund raising opportunities as people simply can’t pay us. Several fund raising events have happened already which would probably have raised much more had we been able to open a JustGiving page, or even just a paypal account. Neither of these is possible without a bank account though.
To open the account with RBS my (wonderful) local branch told us we needed to open a company account and this would require that each trustee sign the same piece of paper. We are all scattered throughout the UK and Ireland so this meant trusting the Royal Mail to get it safely from one to the next of us. The first piece of paper was sent out on the 30th of December, and got lost, needless to say. However, by the end of Jan we’d accomplished it and everyone had managed to sign and send on the paper and it had got back to its original destination. Simultaneously it was also required that every trustee be certified as themselves by a member bank of RBS, i.e either RBS, Natwest or Lloyds TSB. This meant people taking time out of work to go into a bank that probably wasn’t their branch, bringing a piece of ID and a bill, asking the bank to stamp it and put it in the internal mail to our local branch. The last of these arrived in the middle of Feb which meant we could finally set about opening the bank account. The local branch set about sending off all the paperwork, and then once they thought the account might be open, the wonderful staff (I’m not being sarcastic, the staff in the local branch really work incredibly hard to get around the bureaucracy that is inflicted on them by head office) checked the system several times a day in the hope that as soon as the account appeared they could ring me up and we could rush down there with the cash and cheques and get the account functioning.
Sadly a week after we expected the account should have been opened, I got a call from the branch to say that they’d received a rejection of the account. Head office hadn’t explained what the rejection was for though so it took the branch a day or two to work out what was wrong. It turns out we were trying to open the wrong kind of account. Where we’d been advised by head office to open a charitable company account, we should only have been opening a charitable personal account. This means we now have to fill in another form (happily only two of us have to sign it) and we might then get a bank account.
Right – rant over. Have you had any horrible bank stories in either Ireland or the UK? If so you’d cheer me up a lot if you’d tell me them.
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