/ Health, Money

Banks make being a power of attorney arduous

Elderly person's hand being held

When it comes to helping you take on the affairs of your loved ones, banks need to get their acts together. Since, at the moment, they’re making it far too laborious to be someone’s power of attorney.

Three hundred and seventy five pounds. That’s how much it has cost the banks so far for the appalling way they’ve treated me over the last year, as I’ve tried to manage someone else’s affairs using a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

And that doesn’t include the cost (to the banks) of the three complaints I’ve so far had to make to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

While the money goes some way to compensate me for the stress and inconvenience of having to tackle bank staff who don’t know how to deal with an LPA, I would much rather they got their act together and dealt with me properly in the first place. And my experience isn’t isolated.

Attorneys made to jump barriers

Our research shows that even where financial institutions have procedures in place, the advice that staff give out about this is often confused and misleading.

Not only that, but all too often financial institutions put unnecessary restrictions on how an attorney can access an account. In my case, for example, one bank will only let me operate the account as an attorney online or over the phone – not both.

But the bank didn’t make this clear, so when I phoned to make a query, my access to the bank was frozen altogether. For weeks no-one was able to tell me why I couldn’t access the account, and it took an official complaint and several visits to several branches to get it resolved.

Why are attorneys treated unfairly?

With an aging population, more and more of us will be making someone else a Lasting Power of Attorney, so it’s imperative that there are systems and procedures in place that allow them to be used effectively.

Clearly, financial institutions have a responsibility to protect their customers, but there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be compatible with also treating their attorneys fairly.

Comments

The whole ‘industry’ for dealing with aging and increasingly infirm or limited people, leaves almost everything to be desired. In a way you are lucky to have the Lasting Power of Attorney. Without that you would be in the rapacious jaws of the Public (or Putrid) Guardian(???) and the Court of Abuse/neglect/dereliction of duty/ (never Protection). Take it from me they are so mind numbingly awful that they make the banks look acceptable. I have had such troubles as the Court of Abuse and the Putrid Guardian entering bank account details no less than three times into a court order that contained somewhere about a dozen serious errors that made it unworkable. Then there is failing to send out requests for information, sending stuff to the wrong addresses, giving totally unacceptably and cost increasing ‘guidance’. Mind you the banks are only slightly less bad, e.g. refusing to re-assign bank accounts in contravention of the mental capacity act of 2005 requirements until forcibly reminded that compliance with the law was not really an optional activity.
I am sure that the highly complex nature of the law, the little experience most organisation have of its application and the shortage of staff who can really read and write intelligently means that these serious issues are unlikely to be addressed any time, not just anytime soon.
After one testy exchange of correspondence with the head of the PGO I was forced to question whether their real purpose was to promote voluntary euthanasia. This was apparently the only way to save ones’ relations the awful experience of dealing with those organisations that should be there to assist

This thread is interesting – at least to me. The basis was “banks and power of attorneys” – therefore it’s odd that the first post was about the Court of Protection Orders*.

My wife has vascular dementia. Despite having obtained an Order of the Court of Protection authorising me, as her deputy, to manage her affairs, Santander cancel her Debit Card and remove access to online banking.

To me, and in the view of many others, this high-handed action is in direct contradiction of the Court Order. I’m not sure if this is contempt of Court, but it’s unhelpful, obstructive and contemptible behaviour – and what’s worse, no-one seems to be able to get anyhting done about it.

* In case some aren’t aware (as most banks don’t seem to be) a Power of Attorney is used where individuals consciously make a decision to give authority to other/s to carry out certain tasks (usually financial) in certain circumstances. An Order of the Court of Protection is needed where an individual, under the terms of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, appoints a ‘deputy’ to look after the affairs of someone who lacks the capacity to do so themselves. A large fee is payable to get an Order, and the deputy is then under the supervision of the Office of the Public Guardian (more fees involved) and often an insurance surety bond is required (more costs!)

Santander’s action reflects what happened to me with my late mother’s registered LPA. They clearly have no idea of what the law requires of them.
You need to hold their feet to the fire. Email (politely!) the CEO Ana Botin – ceo@santander.co.uk. She got things done for me.

Sue Shaw says:
29 November 2010

I have Enduring Power Of Attorney, all legally done through my solicitor, for my mother-in-law but her bank, Nationwide will not accept this document unless my mother-in-law goes to the bank in person to be questioned and to fill out the necessary bank forms. She is unable to do this due to poor health but the bank would not accept this or send the forms to her. What can I do apart from teach her to bank on-line.

carol says:
14 March 2014

I am going to put my two pennyworth in here because you should take a Certified Copy of the Enduring Power of Attorney to the bank and they should register this document in their system. They should give you a document telling you that they have done so. Any other attorney on the EPA should do the same. I would not advise mailing a Certified Copy of it to anyone as they will loose it. When you go to the bank take whatever form of ID you carry, passport, driving license, credit cards, bank book because believe me they will find some way of telling you that they can’t do it! They should take a copy of your Certified Copy of the EPA. Do not let them have the original or copy as they do not need it. Make sure that when they are stapling it together that it has all the pages in the right order as well. I found when I took my father’s PofA in to the bank they omitted a page which delayed the registration with the bank and necessitated my own solicitor to go into the branch and re-register the PofA on my behalf! Shambolic isn’t it that the banks are so unhelpful. I wish you luck.

I have Lasting Powerr of Attorney(LPA) for each parent, and also a General Power of Attorney (GPA)for a friend who is overseas. Since friend has two current accounts and savings accounts with each, and my parents have two current accounts and insurances, ISAs, etc with many organisations, I have spent a lot of time registering the powers of attorney with these organisations.
My friend’s accounts happen to be with Nationwide and Nat West, with which I also have accounts. Parents’ current accounts with First Direct, and an old one with NatWest. Of these, Nat West was easiest – although I’ve had problems with them (as most organisations) getting things to come to my address. It’s generally easiest if you want everything to come to you.
NatWest simply added parent’s and friend’s accounts to my list of accounts when I logged on to internet banking. Someone in Nationwide told me I couldn’t manage the accounts with a GPA, and still told me it wasn’t really possible unless I was added to account after I insisted she rang head office. But after I rang head office and got though to the correct department, I was told they were trying to improve things and that if I had any more problems I should quote her name. When I then tried to fill in forms – at another branch – I was told my friend would have to sign the forms, too. I got the person in the branch to phone my head office contact. This resulted in being told that their copies of forms were out of date – so there was no need for anyone else to sign the form.
At present, for both to have internet access, we have to share a logon, and use the same password. First Direct, and others, had told me that this was the only way for me to have internet access to their accounts, before I actually registered the LPAs for parents. Their terms and conditions say an attorney can operate the account, but I was told they officially only let attorneys operate the account in writing. Of course, if you are joint attorneys that is the only way. If you have an account yourself they would also let you operate the LPA account by phone. I opened an e-savings account for that reason. But similar to Rebecca I was told that they would suspend the account if I used it online. I started complaints procedure – and eventually they agreed to change their procedures – as the Disability Discrimination act requires (if procedures prevent access you must change procedures) – alongside the Mental Capacity Act.
Note that these two acts do say you should be able to do anything that the donor can do, and they must not impose restrictions on the way you choose to do things that they wouldn’t impose on other customers. There are excuses where changing things would cost too much – although I don’t understand why many of these organisations’ procedures were made so restrictive in the first place – since they were mostly created well after powers of attorney (GPA) existed.
However, First Direct still can’t offer a debit card on the account, so some payments require money transfer to the other account first. Faster Payments make this workable.
Most people have tried to help, but some have then said they couldn’t. But in the end I have achieved reasonable access to things needed. My opinion is that if most large organisations simply referred things to the central attorney department things could work even more smoothly. The fact that we are only three years from the date (2007) when the Mental Capacity Act 2005 took effect is probably fairly encouraging – but it has been hard work to get through all the barriers.

Rebecca
an we have a proper legal opinion on the implications of the Disability Discrimination act and the Mental Capacity Act mentioned by Keith above? It seems to me that these are the most powerful arguments for putting a stop to all the nonsense that the banks put forward.

Did a bit more digging on the legal front and found this link which seems to support Keith’s view

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/moneybox/6579231.stm

I had managed my father’s current account online with A&L for 5 years under an EPA until Santander took over 6 months ago, when the account suddenly appeared as ‘Unavailable’. Since then I have phoned them 8-9 times, sent 2 messages online, written 2 letters (no reply) and visited Santander branches twice, all of which has achieved absolutely nothing. Everyone I have spoken to has told me the problem will be solved soon. This morning, in reply to the second letter, I received a phone call, I think from India, and I was told, for the first time in 6 months, that it was Santander’s policy not to allow online access for attorneys. I tried to question why I had not been told this before and to point out that it made no sense to accept me as a bona fide attorney and then make it impossible for me to manage the account in the most convenient way but he wouldn’t or couldn’t answer any questions. He then said that he would send me new login credentials. I am now totally confused. If I’m not allowed access why are they sending me a new login? It was probably a fobbing off tactic which is the only thing Santander employees seem to be good at.

I found the article in December’s Which? unhelpful. It told me what I already knew, that banks treat attorneys apallingly, but didn’t offer any solutions. I am a full-time carer. I can’t visit a branch or even an ATM whenever I want to so online banking is the only way I can properly manage my father’s account. So, is there a UK bank that understands the needs of attorneys and treats them like any other customer? You have been running a campaign to get people to vote with their feet to punish companies for bad service. Attorneys seemingly don’t have that option with bank accounts because no company gives good service.

Belinda Neal says:
15 January 2011

I’ve had the most stressful time registering POA over my mother’s bank accounts. I think Barclays were the absolute worst. Even going through their official complaints channel twice didn’t resolve the issue. In the end the solicitor who drew up the documents for us in the first place had to speak to Barclays’ POA department and educate them. Eventually I had an apology and £200 compensation. I would gladly have paid them £200 and done without the time they’ve wasted never mind the stress. Not a much better story at Lloyds. I can’t face tackling Nat West and Nationwide. Why my mum has so many accounts all over the place I just don’t know.

peter lewis says:
28 January 2011

I have a Lasting Power of Attorney for my 94 year old mother. I find it frustating that I cannot find a buildig society that will let me operate a savibgs account on-line. What is the big problem? My mother has considerable funds but as soon as I advised the societies concerned that I had a LPoA they all immediately stopped on-line access and advised that the account was to either be operated over the telephone or, in two case as a postal account!
Savings institutions just make life unnecessarily difficult for people like me. It is time someone in authority stepped in and common sense was introduced rather than a lot of petty ‘terms and conditions’ imposed for no sensible treason.

I’ve had the same problems. However, check out Birmingham Midshires – their e-Saver account (issue 2) is internet only and the interest rate is OK too. They have a proper set up for PoA accounts (which you have to do over the phone (despite what it says on the website). Call 0845 602 2828 and tell them that’s what you want to do.
Hope it works for you

The problem with banks and building societies is caused purely because the Office of the Public Guardian seems to ahve abrogated responsibility for the expensively set up LPAs. If it had not, then all Banks and Building Societies would have been clearly informed – and been expected to pass on to all employees – that the person with \a registered POA must be dealt with as if they were the person whose interests they represent. That was stated to be the purpose of the LPA. So Over to the Office of the Public Guardian!

PS I Have had problems with RBS, AA, Saga, and now Halifax. Useless lot.

Peter Forster says:
9 June 2011

I have experienced all the problems listed on this forum regarding an LPA given by my mother-in-law. I am currently pursuing the Nationwide who insist that an LPA can only be accepted by them if medical evidence of disability is provided. On prinicple I am refusing to provide this as this is not a requirement for an LPA to be registered with the OPG and subsequently used legally.

And then there was SAGA – an organisation supposedly interested in elderly people. They refused to register the LPA because I live in France. Again, the residence of the attorney is not a restriction on the legality of the LPA.

This whole business is exacerbated by the level of incompetence and lack of basic communication skills amongst banking staff – it is obviously a nightmare for many who are simply trying to help manage the affairs of vulnerable people. Do pursue and threaten these organisations – up to now I have obtained £800 in various compensations.

David Satchell says:
15 June 2011

Unfortunately some people don’t have family they can appoint as Attorneys, or they are unsuitable to appoint (and given the abuse by Attorneys of those they are supposed to be looking after, family are not always the best choice) and in such cases they appoint a professional instead.

I am a solicitor dealing with this kind of work and can readily identify with many of the comments above and bank staff who quite simply have no understanding of the law and the differences concerning Ordinary (or General), Enduring and Lasting Powers of Attorney, and when they can and can’t be used, or having requirements which quite simply are beyond what the law provides for.

The inability of the banks to deal with matters efficiently can add considerably to the cost of dealing with someone’s affairs and whilst some are very good, others are appalling. I single out Santander as the worst I have come across who, for the same person, have required the registered LPA to be produced on three separate occasions, have required me to produce ID in the local branch, even though I am already a customer there, changed my personal bank records to tie them with my clients, and then said I had to submit a written request to change them back. They also required the attendance of my very badly disabled client to attend at the branch until I insisted that quite simply it was not going to happen.

Oh, and as I’m sure many of you will already know, trying to getthrough to the same person at Santander is impossible as nobody except a senior manager has a direct line and even when they leave a message to ring back you have to go through the tedium of the call centre to get back to the person you NEED to speak to because you already know that call centre staff CAN’T help you! Their inadequacies continue to the extent that 6 months after submitting a formal complaint, which was initially acknowledged, the complaints department have still not completed their investigation and have stopped responding to correspondence.

This all adds cost and complexity to what should have been a very straight forward matter, but unfortunately it is by no means my only experience of it. My firm tries to find cost effective solutions for clients, but it is extremely difficult when faced with problems like these.

However, the OPG’s office don’t escape criticism – it is currently taking around six months to get a registered LPA back from them after expiry of the statutory waiting period but guess what, they bank your cheque the day it arrives and you won’t get it back, even if the application hasn’t been acknowledged, in the event that the donor dies prior to registration completing.

Chris says:
8 July 2011

Rebecca
Some banks are still stopping attorneys opening some accounts! I’m in dispute with Santander who flatly refuse to let me open any account for my mother. I have an enduring power of attorney for her but Santander say she has to sign their own form if the POA is not registered with the Court of Protection. My mother is in a nursing home, never leaves her room due to an anxiety state, is unable to sign anything due to an orthopaedic condition (she has to be fed and given drinks) but is mentally with it. I have told them I think they are being discriminatory. They want me to register the POA – I can’t because she is mentally capable. Advice from the Equalities Commission suggests my mother is being ‘indirectly discriminated against’ My complaint rumbles on…..we’ve suggested Santander should review their policy.

Nottingham Building Society will let a POA open any account except an ISA without the donors signature. We have suggested they read the HMRC rules for ISA Fund Managers – someone who is unable to sign does not have to!!!!

I tried to open a current account with HSBC for my mother with the POA. The account was opened and I was told I could use internet banking but was refused a debit card. I was informed that I would have to go into the bank to draw out cash for her shopping! They stood their ground and I voted with my feet, closed the account and use Nationwide & Nat West who both gave me debit cards.

I could go on with the problems with banks an POA’s. It is a shambles and someone needs to take it up at a high level and get it sorted. Being an attorney is a responsibility, it is generally due to stressful circumstances that are exacerbated by the unhelpful attitudes of bank staff.

Due to family circumstances I have had far too much experience with POA’s over the last few years. Few of the 22 financial institutions we have dealt with have got it right first time. Fortunately I have a husband who is a chartered accountant and we have known when to dig our heels in and shout, lots of people are given misinformation they accept as correct when it is not. In our experience, if as soon as a customer/prospective customer mentions that they hold a POA, they are transferred to the POA specialist team it might help. Instead it is often someone on a help desk who thinks they know the answer but frequently gets it wrong!

Helen says:
8 August 2011

Well, it’s nice to know I’m not alone! My father lives in Scotland and I am 300 miles away. The banks constantly suggest I just ‘pop in’ to his branch, or get him to ‘pop in’. Another problem is that the Scottish banks are part of bigger banking groups – but very few of the general public know this. I was sent a username for online access by the Bank of Scotland, and a login was sent to my father (!!!) by the Halifax – for access to the same account – it took days for us to work this out. Similarly Royal Bank of Scotland letters constantly refer to ‘the NatWest account. All I want is online access to the accounts, but I constantly ‘fail security’ so I don’t get it. I have been ID’d so many times – and each time I have to travel quite a way or take time off work. I asked to be put through to the complaints department with RBS, and was told that because I’d failed security again I couldn’t be put through!

Janice says:
16 September 2011

I have had an enduring POA for my aunt for the past 4 years. Her home was sold and the sale proceeds are being used to fund her care home fees. That means I have to chase the rates to ensure the best return on investment and I dread it when one of her term accounts or fixed rate bonds is coming to a close, because I know it’s going to be a nightmare trying to open an alternative account. The absolute worst organisation I have had to deal with was Post Office Savings (owned by Bank of Ireland). My complaint is now in the hand of the Financial Ombudsman. I have also had problems with Co-operative Bank. This too went to the Financial Ombudsman and my aunt received an apology and some compensation. Today, I was about to open an esaver account with Nottingham BS only to note that tucked away in their Ts&Cs it states that POAs cannot operate online accounts. I would like to know whether these financial institutions are breaching the Equality Act 2010 by not permitting POAs to operate accounts online.

Perhaps the Office of the Public Guardian would liketo take the banks to Court?

Just a suggestion.

Then perhaps it can pay us compensation for the exhausting and desperate work we have to do because of its own poor communication?

I posted on 8 August and since then have managed to get online access sorted by the Royal Bank of Scotland -this was after emailing the Chief Exec (twice!) and eventually a charming woman tried very hard to sort things out, and did largely manage to – though the online access continues to be a problem. I also managed to get online access to the Bank of Scotland only to discover today that because they had changed systems without advising me, all my online registration has to be done again. This has meant 3 visits today to a Halifax branch and still no resolution. I have made a formal complaint, but of course this might take up to 8 weeks to sort. I have emailed the Bank Of Scotland’s chief exec too – but I doubt anything will happen. All staff whether in branch or online are charming, but have no knowledge of the PoA system, and are completely unable to put me through to anyone who does, or who can actually progress things.

What is Lloyds / Halifax / Bank of Scotland playing with regard to customers with Enduring Power of Attorney?
Can’t they train staff to at least understand what it means? Can’t they point out that they people who have POA are not criminals trying to get in to someone else’s accounts but some loving relative (mostly) who is already traumatised by having a mother/father/sister/brother etc who is not capable of handling their own affairs?
When they talk to someone with a POA problem do they not stop to think that the person may be upset and stressed because of the situation they find themselves in? Do they not realise that nobody takes on POA lightly?

I spent nearly TWO HOURS on the phone yesterday trying to find out why I can no longer access my mother’s HBOS accounts via my POA login details…the password failed and I was given a message to call to discuss.

Long, long story very, very short – I was passed from pillar to post, spoken to like an idiot by idiots and variously told that:
—I’ve never had POA set up ( funny that as I have been using it for over a year and just last week the bank sent me a letter about it)..
—my mother ( who has dementia and is in a nursing home ) has to phone and give permission for them to speak to me on the phone (!?).
—I would have to ‘pop in’ to a branch and re-register as my details were not linked any more. It might be our fault but that doesn’t make any difference as there’s nothing we can do about it. Just ‘pop in’ and the branch will magically sort it all in minutes – I don’t think so! The fact that I am also overseas didn’t seem to bother them.
—I didn’t exist on the system and neither did the account. Again I explained that this was not possible as the bank had just sent me a letter about the account this month, so somewhere in the system things were ok. Could I give them the reference number on the letter, I suggested….maybe they could work backwards from there?
The reply? A reference won’t help as we can’t trace it. Beggars the questions–why put a reference on a letter? What kind of admin system do Bank of Scotland have?

Anyway in the end someone said the branch may be able to help with POA matters. As I couldn’t get through to them they’d send an email asking someone to call me. That was 24 hours ago and as yet nobody has called.

It would appear – I’m not 100 per cent sure as different people said different things – that the problem is that on the migration of data from HBOS after the most recent takeover by Lloyds all of the POA usernames have been ‘lost’. I was told by one phone operator that I had to use my mum’s ‘old’ login details and ‘pop in’ to a branch for a new password.
I’m overseas I explained yet again…deaf ears all round.

´’Why was I not informed of any change to the system’, I asked the various people on the end of the phone ( some of whom said they were ‘supervisors’ ) ..
‘We don’t know’, was the answer.

But to top it all, after I had passed ‘security’ on four occasions via my personal data and spent nearly 2 hours being passed from department to department, the last operator refused to talk to me (after confirming I had passed security) because I didn’t have phone banking on the POA account.
I explained that I didn’t want phone banking as I use only online banking.
The reply: But if you phone us ( the online team ) – even if prompted to by the web site – you have to have phone banking for us to talk to you.
At that point I imploded – said goodbye and hung up.

I am still waiting for a call from the branch.
Service Industry? Hah!

Helen says:
18 October 2011

Oh dear – Anne’s experience sounds very like mine. I’m not abroad, but my father’s in Scotland and I’m down south. It does seem that the problem is because of this ‘migration’ and they have advised me that I can’t register as myself (which I’d previously done, though I have no personal account with them), but have to register my father’s account, and that it would be very easy. In fact, I haven’t bothered – their phone banking seems fine for me at the moment, and I ‘m just fed up with all the hassle – but of course I can see that it probably isn’t ideal to use the phone if you’re abroad. The only real help I got was when I emailed the Chief Exec direct – a few days later someone from his office rang me – and though it isn’t sorted out yet (because I haven’t tried to re-register online) they logged it as a complaint and upheld it etc. I ended up doing the same thing for the Royal Bank of Scotland, and they were much more helpful.

[Hello Helen, we don’t allow emails in comments and so have removed the one you included. Thanks, mods.]

Hi Helen

Thanks for your reply…sorry you are having problems too.

Funnily enough I also emailed the CEO last night ( I thought even if he doesn’t get to read it I’ll feel better once I’ve written ) and await the response!

What annoys me more than anything is the complete lack of credible training of staff at call centre level – they are the ones who bear the brunt of frustrated and angry customers and I do feel sorry for them.
I haven’t called anybody today – like you say the hassle and stress just becomes too much.

Richard says:
22 December 2011

I hold an EPA for my son. He is a sole proproetor od his business and he is really struggling to maintain it and avaoin bankruptcy. Forthe last year I have been managing all his book keeping and payments so that he can focus on the money earning parts of his business.

Increasingly I have difficulty because organisations will not speak with me, even when I am wanting to pay bills etc. As a result I have started to use my EPA as a means of forcing them to recognise my rights. It is truly amazing how many high street organisations are ignorant of the law on EPS’s.

Recently NatWest started locking my son out of his on-line account, his credentials were incorrect and then he has to request another authorisation by post. I have watched him and his credentials are definately correct.

The customer support will not help although they know about me. I am an authorised third party on his business account, they have already held up three complaints from me (on other matters about his accounts)

The last time I got fed up of struggling with the customer support so insisted that I would register my EPA on ALL of his accounts. I was asked to go to bracnch who would be able to help.

I made an appointment with local manager and explained that I wanted to register my EPA with NatWest for ALL his accounts. manager said no problem come back in a couple of days and I’ll have all the paperwork ready. In a couple of days I went back and he had SOME paperwork ready.

First problem. he would not accept a copy of my EPA even thought each page was endorsed “This is a true and certified copy” and signed by the donor the day before. he had to have the original (signed, incidentally, almost six years earlier.)
Second problem, he did not know how to deal with the NatWest credit card at all.
The next day I had word that NatWest do not do POA on business accounts. . . . . . .
Let battle commence.

NatWest logo. . . Something about helpful banking. . . I don’t think so.

Richard says:
3 February 2012

Update to my posting re NatWest and EPA.
As a result of the failure of the bank to progress the registration of my EPA I decided to take the bull by the horns. Email complaint to the CEO. His admin did reply and said that he had requested a full investigation and woulkd pass the results to a complaint manager and I would be contacted in due course.
The next letter was a very poor attempt to offer a resolution, a resolutiuon that did not actually address the isues that I had raised. In essence nothing has been progressed and I have been offered a meeting with son & business manager, who is, I am told, best placed to sort out my issues. Thgis is the business manager who said that the bank don’t do POA on business accounts!!!
I have responded with a further three pages of fine details covering the actual issues that evidently had NOT been investigated or reported on.
I await the next response. . . .

Diana says:
24 January 2012

Dad and Mum had EPoAs drawn up years ago but never needed to make use of them. Dad died, and Mum became more frail and we faced the problem of how to get cash out of her account when she couldn’t get to an ATM. I didn’t want her to give her card to anyone else, so added the EPoA to NatWest and Nationwide. Each required forms to be filled in, and owing to the passage of time singe the EPoA was signed, I asked Mum to sign a short letter asking for it to be added to her accounts, which made each Bank much happier. I don’t know yet whether it has all gone through, but it seems to have been a waste of time.

Our intention was to transfer money from Mum’s account to my elder son’s. He could then use his own card to withdraw cash and hand it to her during his almost daily visit to Mum. No misuse of the card, money reaches his account before he withdraws cash, hunkey dorey. I’d have to do the transfer via internet as I live in France, but off we go.

I only needed Mum’s debit card details to set up internet banking for her with NatWest. I don ‘t know whether I should be logging in on her behalf, but she couldn’t do it herself, and as her attorney I feel perfectly entitled to do so. I haven’t tried to do anything with it yet so I may yet come unstuck.

Nationwide is a whole different problem. I can set up internet banking but not use it until a passcode is sent to Mum’s address through the post. I can pick it up when I next visit in a few weeks time, or son can open it for me and email through the details, but why the **** can’t they just mail it to me? Also, in order to do anything I need a card reader and her card. They won’t give me a card unless they take hers away first, and I don’t want to do that as she still uses it to shop by mail order.

I sent a secure message to Nationwide from my internet banking and asked how I can make payments from her account. They suggested removing the EPoA completely and instead being a second name on her accounts. I pointed out this might lead a future care-home to think I had been trying to reduce her assets and so avoid higher fees by claiming half her funds were mine, a long way from my intentions. I went on to ask just what I could do with the EPoA, and they replied with a link to an article on their web page explaining how to add it to an account……. I have just commented that this hadn’t really helped as I’d already done everything it suggested and could they please find someone who actually understood what I was asking.

Has anyone actually managed to perform any transactions via Nationwide under an EPoA? Without upsetting the aged parent or breaking any rules, that is!

All this to pay the window cleaner legally. Roll on a rechargeable card like an Oyster that can be handed to a representative who can use it only once to withdraw the cash and which is then useless until recharged by its owner.

Like other posters I fear for the future. When the baby-boomers like me are all getting frail and probably still helping out even older parents, we’ll all be working on IOUs because we have no access to cash, can’t hear the phone, can’t feel whether we’ve pressed the right buttons on the phone, can’t see whether the display says we’ve pressed the right buttons on the phone, can’t remember the password to log in online, can’t remember which phone number we gave the bank or what our memorable word was, and have to pay all our bills by direct debit, even Sainsburys and Tesco. Wake up Banks, or we’ll just be stuffing cash in the hems of our curtains.

Jackie says:
29 April 2012

My problems reflect Anne’s very closely. This time with Halifax, which is part of Lhloyds Banking Group. I’ve been passed from pillar to post with no resolution for well over 4 weeks. I have POA for my father. We have both banked with Halifax for several years and we went into the branch when he was still able, and arranged to fill in their form regarding POA. All fine apparently. I manage his affairs by internet. At some point I needed to speak to their call centre (Liverpool?) and they were abrubt and unhelpful as they didn’t know I had POA. I went back to the branch. Yes – it showed on their records that I did. Everything was reset and all was well for a while. Then a month ago I was moving funds from my father’s savings account into his current account, ready to pay nursing home fees. I was asked online to reset the passwords, which I did, then phone. Oh dear, after that it has been horrible. I rang the call centre and just like everyone else had the brick wall ‘we can’t talk to you – put your father on the line’ response. He has motor neurone disease. I asked the most unhelpful call centre operator for the name of her Director. She gave me the chief executive! Not a bad thing as it turned out as I at least had a response from his executive asst and some people jumping to it in Customer Services. Long story short – 2 POA forms later (1 went missing, 1 took a long time), me phoning every day and injecting a large sum of money into Dad’s account to prevent him becoming overdrawn, they finally told me they couldn’t help me. My POA agreement shows myself and my brother, and their system doesn’t alow for 2! Probably a fob off, judging by what trouble everyone else is having. I was thinking of going to another bank, but it seems they are all as bad as each other. I’m planning to continue with online banking (with my father’s consent), as it seems to have been reset! However, if I get locked out again, I’m back to square one and my father’s condition is deteriorating, so I’m unlikely to be able to get him to the phone. Any ideas?!

Hi Jackie
keep on at them.
FYI I have an active POA account for my mother with NatWest which copes with both my sister and I as attorneys. We had no trouble setting it up with the help of the local branch and we both have on-line access to it.
I think you should email the CEO and/or his exec assistant again. I suggest you keep the exec assistant in the loop, or even get him/her to do some real work for you, until you are satisfied. In your email make it clear you will involve the Financial Ombudsman Service with x weeks (you choose the time) unless your problem is solved to your satisfaction.

Good luck!

Jackie says:
4 May 2012

Hi Dick
Thanks for your advice. I will be keeping the CEO posted, and will certainly threaten the Financial Ombudsman as this is an unresolved situation at the moment. To add insult to injury I have had a standard letter from customer services today, returning my POA application saying that because the POA is held jointly, they are unable to offer me: phonebank, internet banking, debit card!! Not signed by the lady who was so sincerely sorry etc etc., but by a computer. Just about sums up Halifax I think.

frantic says:
20 May 2012

I need advice please. what is my rights?

I have a problem retrieving funds from my savings with Santander and present don’t have a passport or drivers. it will be some time before i will have my passport. I have answered all my security questions relating to my account. I have informed them I can have my attorney come in to verify my personal details and sign any forms required etc. I don’t have much savings but require it for my everyday livelihood.They refuse to release my funds and never gave me alternative solutions. I understand the security system but what I don’t understand is for them to not help me with a solution to gain access to my savings. I feel as if they have stolen from me which is not correct. I am now suffering depression because of the way I have been treated at the bank.

any advice would be helpful please.

Hi Frantic
fairly typical of Santander in my experience. I suggest you write a short, simple email to the CEO Santander, Ana Patricia Botin, at ceo@santander.co.uk . Explain your problem in a few words and ask for her help in fixing the problem. I have found her executive assistants very helpful and quick to reply.,

Good Luck!

Jo says:
31 May 2012

I don’t know whether to be relieved that I am not the only one this is happening to or accept that I just can’t win because the financial institutions call the shots and make the rules up to suit themselves. My problem is with Chelsea Building Society with whom I am trying to set up POA for my Mums savings account. My Mum has Alzheimers and is in a care home which I am currently paying for pending the sale of her house. My Mum has savings with the Chelsea which I could use to cover her care home fees in the short term but I cannot get access to. I have POA with my sister who lives in New Zealand, she moved there 1 month before Mum had to be placed in a care home – great timing! Luckily the POA states that we can act jointly and severally in all matters except decisions to sell Mum’s house or investments. Therein lies the problem, the Chelsea says it needs ID from my sister as well as me – ‘as the POA can only be registered jointly in regards of investments’. My Mum has investments and the Chelsea is not one of them, it is a ‘savings account’ I even checked the definitions of and differences between savings and investments to make sure I hadn’t missed something. I have been throught the obligatory round of phone calls – ‘you don’t need my sisters ID it is a savings account’ – ‘we still need your sisters ID’ – ‘but the restriction is only in regards to investments, my Mums account is not an investment’ – ‘we still need your sisters ID’ – ‘but you are failing to comply with the terms of the POA which is a legal document’ – ‘it is our policy that we need your sisters ID’ – that was a new one, I think they may be making it up as they go. So what do I do? – take them to task (the FSA have advised me to make a formal complaint) or just get my sister to send a certified copy of her ID to them and then find further down the line that I still can’t get access to the money because my sister in New Zealand needs to ‘pop down’ to a branch to authorise a withdrawal. Maybe I should play the undignified game that we have been reduced to before of taking my Mum into branch and reminding her of her date of birth and address and even how to write her name when they ask their security questions. Anyone would think it was their money.

Jo I became involved in this thread about 2 years ago and get email copies of postings. Last week I received the one above yours where someone had a problem with Santander – nothing at all to do with my original problem with Mum/POA/OPG etc ( that still rumbles on amazingly) but long story short..the day before last week’s post I had had problems with ‘security’ at Santander. Dick, above, told the previous person to send an email to their CEO. I did that the next day and received a call from her office – a real phone call from a non-automated person! – within 30 mins of sending the email! I have had my issue sorted, money deposited to my account and a written apology. So don’t delay – just write TODAY outlining your problems to the CEO of your bank. It is amazing what the bosses don’t know – but equally heartening to know that when they do find out some of them do actually listen and want to make things better.
Good luck.

Jo
shame about Chelsea – I would have recommended them, having found them v helpful with my Mum’s PoA … but not quite as complicated as yours.
The CEO is Chris Pilling- he is boss of Yorkshire Building Society / Chelsea Building Society / Egg.
Good luck!
(And thanks for the name-check Ann!)

For anyone who needs it, there is a terrific website http://www.ceoemail.com/ which has dozens of (as far as I can tell) accurate and up-to-date CEO email contacts

[We don’t allow the posting of personal contact information. Thanks, mods]