Monday, April 21, 2008

Our impossible banking system

I've been helping my 89 year old father with a transfer from his account at Barclays Bank to Legal & General but have been foiled at every turn. First, it's impossible to deal directly with his branch: all correspondence has to go via their office in Leicester. Secondly, his eyesight is poor and his handwriting has deteriorated so when he tried to send a cheque rather than doing a transfer they said that the cheque was invalid as his signature does not match the one on their records. Then, when the transfer did eventually go through, it was rejected by L&G and Barclays sent my father a copy of the letter from L&G informing Barclays of the reason for this which began, amazingly, with the words, "Dear None".


Blogger kinglear said...

Barclays are clearly desperate to hang on to the money.....

1:36 pm  
Blogger Winchester Man said...

WW, I sympathise with your father’s problem. I seem to remember a time when local branches provided a service which catered for their customers. Staff would have recognised your father, or at the very least a discreet note would have been held on file detailing his failing eyesight. I have recently changed my bank account after discovering I was paying £12 a month for the privilege of generally being placed on hold, after a couple of failed attempts to change the account by telephone I found generally making my presence felt in the local branch achieved a result (please understand I am generally a nice bloke and hate having to complain but sometimes …)

1:44 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Your father is so lucky to have you with your financial skills steer him through this tricky minefield, and you've seen how impossible it is. How do the elderly who are alone and clueless cope?

2:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing would now surprise about the banking system, having worked for it in the past for some years.

Steady incremental cost-cutting, initiatives to 'take the paper out of branches' [for which read 'staff'] and the replacement of any useful staff with sales people now make any kind of transaction a painful process.

I try to manage a charity account, and it is like swimming through treacle. Mind you, it is not solely the banks' fault.

Draconian legislation to cut down on money laundering and terrorist financing mean that the 'old days' where it was assumed that most of the transactions would be honest, and the bank would take a risk on the others [that being their role], have long gone.

Worries over 'identity fraud' and the 'Data Protection Act' act as a handy barrier to any form of staff initiative to be helpful and to get the job done.

I would say 'bite the bullet' and get a Power of Attorney, but even then there are snags because all payments now seem to be authorised via a 'PIN' no. and therefore the option of signing on his cheque book is diminishing.

It might be schadenfreude, but the sight of the formerly revered Fred 'The Shred' Goodwin, who was being eulogised for years for relentless success in cutting costs, now being revealed to have feet of clay is so rewarding...

2:16 pm  
Blogger Eurodog said...

Gosh, yet another Anon.
Does he or she have a name too?

7:21 pm  
Blogger Mopsa said...

Aargh...banks! Don't get me started - what's all this pinsentry stuff anyway? How am I going to carry that lot around with me in my wallet for doing my banking online? And they want my inside leg measurement signed by a trusted soul (vicar, bobby, doctor) to open an ISA. You need the patience of a garden gnome to deal with call centres, and then there's the delay whilst they earn interest on your money whilst it takes 5 days to tranfer online... as I said; aargh!

1:22 pm  
Blogger Swearing Mother said...

Banks used to be places of service, now they're just filled with sales and marketing people who are only interested in getting you to sign on the dotted line for some expensive insurance or account.

They don't actually give a damn about the person, they are target driven and we are just purely sales opportunities for them now.


6:22 pm  
Blogger robachicken said...

This is a ridiculous state of affairs, yet it gets worse... Ever wondered what exactly banks can see when they check your credit rating? Well, i did and i can tell you that it is unbelievable. A series of third party companies hold practically all the information about your finances and identity anyone could possibly want. The worst thing is to look at the information they hold, you have to pay!.. Curiosity might have killed the cat but it was certainly not going to dent my bank balance! Moreover almost anyone that wants to carry out a credit check on you can see it. Surely it should be the government that holds this kind of information. However, they can't be trusted either! Let's just hope that the banks get a good kicking when the verdict about unauthorised overdrafts is unleashed.

1:42 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

How awful. It really does annoy me that you can't deal directly with your branch any more.

7:58 pm  

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