today is confusing, frustrating, and a bloody farce.
We have been with our current bankers for almost 20 years, and have never had a problem. That was until we sold our house, and were unable to give a permanent forwarding address.
We got round the temporary issue by going into our local branch, explaining the situation, and changing our statements to quarterly, thus giving us time to get ourselves sorted.
Two weeks ago, I had a call on my mobile from ‘The Bank’ saying there was a problem with my account.
The SCAM bells were deafening, and there was no way I intended to discuss personal details on an unsecure line in the middle of a field.
Getting to a land line (call box) was another joke. It was either ‘CARD ONLY’, vandalised, or a converted book swap for the homeless.
It took 5 attempts to find a Non Superman changing room that took old fashioned things like COINS, and even then, the phone didn’t work.
Luckily, we were on our way back to our friend, so I was able to use his phone, and it would appear that we may have been the victims of a potential SCAM involving fraudulent phone calls from individuals who then proceed to clear your account.
To cut a long story short, our money was safe, notes were made on our account, and I thought our problems were over.
UNTIL I came to use my debit card this week and it was declined, with the suggestion flagged that I went into my bank to discuss it.
We went into a local branch here, and met the incompetence duo of 2014.
Having proved our identity (picture driving licence, passport, utility bills from last house), it appears that the bank had sent me something which could not be redirected and thus returned, so as a precaution, they had BLOCKED all my accounts.
I understand the need for security issues (over 20 years banking experience) but this was daft, though eventually I got unblocked and all was OK again having provided our friend as a temporary address.
Two days later, Hubby got a letter wanting to confirm his signature.
Back we went to see the female version of ‘Bill and Ben’ who said his signature didn’t match their records, nor his driving licence, or the signature on our temporary change of address form that we had completed on production of our ID the week before.
Both of us are now hovering almost a foot off the floor, but we got it sorted.
Next week (subject to survey), we are paying out big money and therefore thought it prudent to go into a larger branch to put the wheels in motion with a more competent bunch, only to find to our dismay that these girls must all be related. It made us yearn for our former bank clerks and branch, where we could walk in any time and see someone in private within a few minutes.
Today, it seems you cannot go into a bank and ask to speak to someone about your account. Any discussion is at the counter and thus overheard by everyone else, who in turn get agitated at having to wait, especially when there is only one window open.
Today, it was suggested we use the in-house phone to talk to someone.
Oh Joy. The options surprisingly didn’t cover talking to anyone about a query on an existing account, so we pretended to hit the wrong button and spoke to the New Account girl. She was actually on the ball, and deserves a huge pay rise, stocks and shares as a bonus, and promotion to general CEO of the bank.
As we left, we thought it might be an idea just to check that I could actually go into the bank on Monday and make a large Same Day payment without any grief.
I HAD TO MAKE A BLOODY APPOINTMENT WITH SOME GUY CALLED JASON TO DO IT!
(Breathe. Calm down. Count to ten. Breathe.)
So, on Monday morning at 9.30 I shall be at the doors waiting to see him, and if he turns out to be the ‘child’ we saw today leaving his appointee to collect papers printed off in the back room BECAUSE HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO WORK THE DAMN PRINTER ON THE DESK HE WAS WORKING AT, we both envisage disaster.
It was never like this when I worked in High Street Banking.
In order to save money, banks rely too much on automated service, and NO-ONE knows how to deal with a customer with an accounts query face to face anymore, let alone respect the need for privacy and discretion.
There are machines to pay money in (they even supply a copy of the cheques deposited) , machines to take money out, and machines to manage your account from instigating standing orders to switching funds between accounts and paying bills. Counter service is reduced to one or two cashiers, and Management or senior staff don’t seem to be available, if indeed they actually exist.
I applied for a job in ‘modern’ High Street Banking some 10 years ago, and everyone is expected to meet quotas of sales/promotional offers. A Bank Cashier is nothing more than a sales rep. The personal touch has gone, as has staff knowing their customers by sight and not a little prompt on a computer screen.