Freeman Blog

When Your Bank Is Not Your Bank

Posted by Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who...
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on Friday, 13 July 2012 in Freeman Blog

The other day I had an interesting experience when I went to the bank to pay in a few cheques from clients, to be told they could not be accepted. Granted, it was not the branch where the account was held, but I thought it was very strange. The explanation given was that an RBS branch could not accept funds for NatWest (same group) unless special arrangements had been made. Of course I asked why. The response was "That is the way it is!"

Now considering all the problems there have been with Natwest systems etc over the past few weeks I should have anticipated a response along these lines!

However, what was more interesting was that there was no attempt to provide any assistance, no help with where the nearest NatWest branch was, no apology that they couldn't deal with the request, in fact a complete lack of customer service of any kind.

The government wants there to be more lending to stimulate the economy, we are told. Why on earth is it putting pressure on the two banks that effectively you and I own to do this, rather than having the Bank of England print more money. Why are these banks allowed to operate in the way they want to, with little regard for the customer? It would seem that neither the government nor we are in control ...but the banks are, as Robert Peston points out in his book "Who Runs Britain".

Isn't it interesting that, at a time when banks are getting such bad press, they aren't bending over backwards to be as helpful as possible? It seems they have taken the Bob Diamond approach to customers, suppliers, the FSA and government - Up Yours!

Hats off then to David Fishwick of Burnley Savings and Loans, who last year did the ultimate Up Yours, and decided he could do it better than the big boys. He created a bank which is truly run to benefit the customers, and proved that the finance industry can be both personal and socially responsible. Any profits, after the overheads are paid, are donated to charity.

Now, in my line of work...there's a novel idea!!


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Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who could offer charities sound professional and practical advice for trustees and senior management.

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