Our word prompt today is Branch:
The banking world has shrunk since my days in the High Street. As staff, no longer do you have to move your account to the branch when you’re transferred, and customers don’t have their account transferred to a local branch when they move house.
Everything is linked to everything else now, and the need for tellers, supervisors and account opening expertise is miniscule compared to the ’70s.
The problem is, High Street branches are closing. Technology is taking over, as like the retail business, it can all be done on-line.
Hubby and I won’t touch internet banking. Too many instances of hacking or fraud, so going into a branch of our bank is much preferred. The closest is 20 miles away, and instead of a till counter, we’re faced with a rank of machines. The actual counter service is tucked in a corner out of sight of the main door.
Whereas forty years ago a cashier would do it all, now you have a machine to pay in, a machine to take out, a machine to manage your accounts. A member of staff or two will hover in the foyer just in case someone has a question, but other than that, branch offices are impersonal.
In my day, I’d pass the time of day with some customers who would more often than not have no other contact with anyone. I got to know most by name both in and out of the bank, and when I was transferred to another branch, I missed my regulars. One dear old lady riddled with arthritis hand embroidered two pillow cases with ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ when I got married in 1977. I made sure she got a piece of our wedding cake.