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Monday, 10 December 2007

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t hate their bank?

Who do you bank with? Are they run by grasping wankers*, like all the others?

I bank with Lloyd’s, and I hate the bastards. This expression of venom arises from 20 minutes trying to find out why I can’t get money – or even a balance – out of an ATM here in Montclair, NJ.

This although I have money in my account, have been coming here 5 times a year for 8 years and always use the same ATMs. Surely even a witless computer can notice that.

So I just spent money first phoning my office to see what they could find out and then calling the “help line” – which was helpless, as you might expect.

“Your card has been declined, but I can’t see why,” said the man at the call centre, who was doing his best. Then he called the man who might know – but there was a queue. "Can you hang on for 5 or 10 minutes till he’s free?”

“Why can’t he call me? I’m the customer, aren’t I? Don’t I pay them, or is it the other way round?”

“I’m afraid we don’t have the facilities, Sir.”

“You mean you have no phones?”

“Er, waffle, waffle, drivel, drivel.”

“Look I know it’s not your fault - or even your bank. But why should I pay my money on international rates to find this out? Do I have to pay for Lloyd’s mistakes?

Embarrassed pause.

“Maybe you could try in a few minutes.”

“What? And join the same queue, but a bit later?”

I once did a talk to an audience from banks and insurance companies. After giving a few examples like the above I asked, “Is there anyone here who laughs all the way to the bank?” That went down well.

And nearly 20 years ago over lunch with Bob Heller the great business pundit, I asked what he thought about bank marketing.

He replied, “They should stick to arranging transactions properly.”

How right. The first rule of marketing is simple. Get the product right. But they haven’t. They thrive on shoddy service.

And they’re no bloody good at banking basics. Why do you suppose your property is about to lose value? Stupid, greedy, incompetent bankers. You get punished for their sloth. They retire with millions.

And please don’t think I’m singling out Lloyds; the others are just as bad - sometimes worse. The only people I can think of who are less competent are the government,

Nor am I singling out all the poor sods who have to do the work and spend too much time listening to angries like me.

I just hate the fat cats in head office who draw massive salaries for bad management. What rapacious swine they are.

As a coda, I was once ranting like this to my Lloyds manager - in the days when they still had them - and he said, “You should see what they do to me,” and told me a few stories that made me feel sorry for him.

If anyone wants to start a vigilante group devoted to chaining the top people at all the banks to desks in their own bloody call centres for a few hours, then sticking short-fused dynamite sticks up their arses, count me in.

* No prizes for “what rhymes with wankers?” by the way.

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