/ Money

Will a banking investigation prove crunch time for the banks?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching an investigation into the competitiveness of the personal current accounts market. So what’s the shake up about?

We’ve strongly supported the need for a full investigation into personal current accounts and have provided the CMA with evidence to show how retail banking is not working in the best interests of consumers leading to a lack of trust in the industry.

One of the strong indicators of poor competition is the historically low level of current account switching. The CMA used our customer satisfaction survey results to show that the banks which exhibit the highest levels of satisfaction ‘do not appear to be gaining significant market share – and, conversely, that those with relatively low levels of customer satisfaction have not significantly lost market share as a result.’ This is despite the introduction of the faster switching through the Current Account Switching Service more than 12 months ago.

We think that this is because people find it incredibly difficult to properly compare current accounts. The cost of each account very much depends on how you use it. And we know from our research that due to the confusing nature of overdraft pricing, people are unable to easily and accurately compare the costs based on their own personal use and may not be selecting the best account for their needs.

18-month banking investigation

The CMA will shortly appoint a group of independent members who will have 18 months to complete the investigation. During this time, we’ll be working to ensure that the CMA exposes the cost to consumers of a lack of competition in the market, and pave the way for reform.

To improve competition, we want the CMA to work with the other banking regulators (including the Financial Conduct Authority, and the new Payment Systems Regulator) to find ways to ensure banks improve customer service, and provide you with better quality products.

This includes making sure that new providers are able to drive innovation and competitive pressure. We also want current account comparison to be easier and clearer so better switching decisions can be made, as well as ways to help people control their overdraft usage. The CMA should also look at how ‘real consumers’ behave to understand what needs to be changed to make sure banking better serves its customers.

The end of ‘free’ banking

Lastly, some argue this investigation could result in the end of ‘free’ banking in the UK. We strongly disagree. Banking is not free for overdraft users and those with positive balances who potentially forgo interest that could have been earned in a savings account. The CMA’s analysis showed that banks earn £8.1 bn per year, or about £125 per personal current account. We believe that the introduction of an upfront fee would not necessarily result in greater transparency in charging, and might actually make it more difficult to compare accounts.

In the meantime, we’re also calling on banks to act now and seize the opportunity to put their customers’ interests at the heart of their business, whatever the outcome of this inquiry. They should aspire to meet consumer needs now and in future, innovate and improve service that exceeds expectations, and truly deliver a market that works for consumers. This will be crucial for trust to be rebuilt in banking.

Comments

I voted to be payed by credit transfer. A big mistake. Being payed in cash the bank always had money in the vaults. The employer had to have extra staff and security. Not only have workers failed to get an advantage, getting hold of cash can cost him. The Bank of England needed to hold gold reserves to cover paper money in circulation stabilising the pound against gold. Workers unions aimed to keep standards of living on the increase but since their demise inflation has increased and the banks who wanted to handle our money, now behave as if we are privileged to let them handle our cash and charge us every way possible and some others that are not. We then pay for their misdemeanour. On line losses need addressing. Vaults were very safe, it’s time to think again? The captain is paid to be responsible as are all citizens lets get the balance rite on all fronts

Peter McCoy says:
7 November 2014

I recently deposited a large cheque with Barclays, wanted a receipt to be sure it went in, and to be given an estimate of when it would be accessible. I went into my normal big town bank to find a cashier, and found row after row of machines. I asked for help, and someone showed me how to do it. He was happy I was happy BUT the machine was not. Neither of us could come up with a valid reason, so my helper had to disappear into the bowels of the bank to get it done. 25 minutes later it was done.

As normal, new technology introduced to save money for the banks results in more expenditure, in this case of time, by the customer.

Peter, why don’t you use TransferWise.com?

ahardie says:
7 November 2014

So many people complaining about their bank but too lazy to make the minimal effort now involved in transferring to another.
These are all Which? subscribers and presumably better informed than the average person yet they put more effort into this “Conversation” than is involved in a simple guaranteed 7 day transfer. They are all on the internet. For goodness sake stop complaining and do something for yourself !!!

Neil Kenyon says:
7 November 2014

Brilliant! You have said everything “in 100 words or less! Well done.

ahardie says:
7 November 2014

Thanks Neil. I thought it needed saying.

David says:
7 November 2014

Your comment raises a number of points:
1) Why does it take 7 days? In this day and age of IT, 7 days is excessive. If you have a number of
Direct Debits or S/Os on different dates, 7 days can cause problems!
2) Change Bank? They are all the same, so why bother? It is not as if you can go and negotiate with them.
Here is something to consider. If you are from overseas and have a job in this country, pay tax, etc., but have to open a bank account to receive your re-numeration, the High Street Banks do not accept letters from the Home Office or The Border Agency as proof of address, but insist on a letter/account from a Utility. That is one reason why all these banks need thorough investigation as well as the authorities who lay down their rules and regulations. They are all “Tick Box” institutions.

[This comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Really, wait till you are 75 years old and see if you can easily fight the banks and do something .
I am not lazy but understanding all these banking terms and using a computer are difficult for an older person.

ahardie says:
8 November 2014

Sorry Neil, more than 100 words this time.
David:
7 days is presumably necessary precisely to allow for the transfer of Direct debits etc. Don’t forget that not only the two banks are involved but the various external organisations. I had numerous Direct Debits and nominated accounts but the transfer process was flawless with no intervention from me. One transaction occurred during the process but money paid into my old bank was transferred without delay. This would occur up to 1 year after the procedure and is guaranteed.
To say all banks are the same is nonsense. I transferred from an efficient but none interest paying account with Smile and now get 3% interest paid monthly from Santander together with between 3% and 1% cash back on council tax and utility bills .
I didn’t say that there were no problems or that no investigation was necessary. I have contempt for the big High Street Banks which I haven’t used any for many years. There are many efficient small banks out there.
The point of my post was lost on you. Most of the people on here are spending their time complaining instead of taking a simple step and switching .

ahardie says:
8 November 2014

I’m sorry to disillusion you May.

In fact I am nearly 81 years of age. I just can’t accept that I am now incapable of logical thought! However I do take your point on terms and conditions. A blight on far more than banking practices unfortunately.
My 90 year old brother and sister in law persevered and now wouldn’t be without their computer.

It would be interesting to examine the possible myth that the elderly are incapable of using modern technology. Or whether it is lack of effort that blights some people in all age groups that is a significant factor. Family, friends, charities and public bodies need to help those who are genuinely incapable, but for those who simply can’t be bothered ……..?

Once upon a time you would have to physically go to a bank to find its terms and open an account (several if you wanted to try for the best deal) – then use it during its limited opening hours. Technology has vastly improved accessibility for almost everyone – including finding a bank that best suits your needs.

A common problem is that well meaning people often dump a 5 or 10 year old computer on their elderly relatives. Online banking is not a good way to become familiar with using computers because of the security risks. You certainly don’t want to be using out of date malware protection or an obsolete operating system or browser.

Novices of all ages could be taken in by phishing emails.

More and more elderly people will no doubt be familiar with computers – particularly if they used them at work. We must not underestimate them. Nor overestimate the dumping issue – savvy silvertops buy up-to-date computers with current operating systems and protection from my experience of a sports club with 140 members ranging in age between 65 and 90.

Malcolm – I’m certainly not claiming that all old people are struggling with castoff computers from family and friends, but this is hardly uncommon.

I have been helping people get to grips with computers for many years. Having an up to date computer is an incentive to use it and those who have made little use of computers seem happy to use modern operating systems rather than think that the world should stay with Windows XP, as many middle-aged people do.

Hi ahardie, thanks for posting your comment and sharing your thoughts – it’s great to get so much input. But please remember to be respectful to all community members and their views. Oh, and it is worth noting that not everyone on the Which? Conversation is a Which? member – anyone can come and share their opinions.

ahardie says:
10 November 2014

Alex,
I wasn’t aware that none members were allowed to post here.
I should add that I was responding to disrespectful comments about me. I trust that David was similarly censured.

Well, good for you, however, I have quite a few friends who, are unable to use a computer i.e. through illness or afraid to use a computer, especially for banking “someone might hack into my computer and find all my banking details” one friend said to me.
So it is not always easy for some older people who have never used a computer to suddenly become computer literate.

ahardie says:
10 November 2014

May,
You are right of course. There is fear of technology and not just amongst the old. I do my best by helping less computer literate neighbours. I find that once the initial step is taken most people quickly embrace the new technology. It was your assumption that I was a youngster that prompted my reply to you.
Age is a state of mind not a number on a calendar.

It certainly isn’t just old people who can struggle with computers. It’s sometimes not the fear of technology but the fear of admitting a lack of knowledge.

I have a friend who is an independent financial advisor and can happily play with numbers and spreadsheets, but was very embarrassed about not being able to do much more with a computer. He has asked me and possibly others for help and has made great progress in the past three years.

Neil Kenyon says:
10 November 2014

I always thought a Financial Advisor was an impartial source of financial recommendations for his clients. If he can’t use the internet to search for the best “opportunities” for his clients, what sort of advice is he giving, at what cost? Do his clients know he has a limited knowledge? He could be in trouble if they find out……….!!

Derick Thompson says:
7 November 2014

Banked with Halifax for several years. Monthly fee introduced then increased! Had enough of “Bankers” & gone to Nationwide for interest on current account & better add-ons!

banking with Barclays for many years.On entering my lovely all dressed up and recently refurbished local branch surprise surprise no counter staff only one young lady trying to get all the customers to use 6 or so machines,with her iPad .Turn on the TV do you want to play walking football or learn how to present yourself at an interview.What a waste of all that advertising but no staff where you want them,behind the counter to help when you have a financial problem.

Eric Rand says:
7 November 2014

My 94 year-old sister lives alone and is disabled. She is able to get into the village on her mobility scooter, but not into the nearest town. Her pension is paid into the Post Office but her main account is with Barclays, Until now she has gone into the village PO to draw cash for her immediate needs and then transfer the balance to Barclays by using her PO card and a paying-in slip to the bank. The money has then been transferred by the PO. However, Barclays are no longer using paying-in slips and have told her that she must use her Barclays debit card in the PO. However when she tried several times to do this it did not work. Barclays have now told her that the only way she can transfer the money to them is by drawing cash from the village PO and taking it to Barclays in town! This is quite impossible for her to do!
We have enquired for her in several places but no-one can offer any other solution!

Teresa Bliss says:
8 November 2014

My mother has the same sort of problem. I feel that Barclays -and the other banks have absolutely no interest in individual customers like your sister.
I recently had a call from someone in Barclays checking on customer satisfaction. I told him about my dislike of the machines rather than people. He was totally dismissive, siad I would get used to it and trotted out the Barclays party line.
I want to see a face, a person who knows and remembers me. Thinking about changing, have learnt on this forum about the Co-op bank’s arrangement with the post office.

A wee while ago probably at the start of the crisis, my niece who had suffered some birth brain problems was a member of the RBS Bank for her credit account and advice from the local branch. The Bank pursued a serious destruction of her financial standing as a lower member of the wealth list and mentally impaired society. The first I knew of her financial problems was a tearful sister and niece regarding a court case the next day to financially crucify her and legally take over possession of her flat (circa £100,000) with debts of £21,000 including the mortgage. The Bank had pursued a policy of deliberate mis-information to her and coupled with her lack of financial acumen she was a “ripe” target. I stopped the Court case and paid the initial outstanding debts. The RBS subsequently produced a further debt on a credit card that she did not want and had ignored – that was cleared as well… It was a deliberate policy of making a vulnerable person bankrupt so that the Bank manager (or whoever) would gain from the takeover of her flat for around £21,000 and sell it for its market value at around £70,000 – £100,000. Nice profit for the Bank Manager. Two years of on-going disagreements and paper trail with the Financial Ombudsmen resulted in some very creative accountancy practices by the RBS and an agreed resolution. My niece still retains the flat and having been family educated in financial practices is in well control of the situation and has an ISA to boot..
The devious and greedy practices by the local Bank Manager, and the endemic corrupt culture within RBS is beyond acceptable words. No redress for this behaviour. Just disgraceful and lucky to have an uncle with the financial resources and acumen to take on the battle.
How many more have been caught in this honey trap.
I have a business friend with several million of £ who through a Bank mistake defaulted on some payments. The RBS seized the assets over a default of a few hundreds due to a cheque payment delay. He suddenly lost his retirement income and had to get involved in a legal situation-absolutely disgraceful and totally un acceptable.

Teresa Bliss says:
8 November 2014

The problem is that there is no come back. The bank are able to be have disgracefully because they CAN. There is clearly corruption at the highest levels. Why has there been no prosecution for the ‘mis-selling’ of PPA insurance? Why has there been no prosecution for bringing economic ruin on our country? It seems to me that the government are only too delighted to ‘roll back’the state, say workers can’t have a payrise etc while bankers continue to defraud and cream off from the people in our country.
There has to be legislation to reign in these rouge bankers who seem to me to be at the top of the system. They have to have consequences for their outrageous behaviour. The people in my branch don’t get these big bonuses and they are lovely and helpful.

I have been informed by my bank as from December I will be charged £5.00 per direct debit transaction, recently the bank that I’m with is now losing customers daily as they are closing their accounts. This bank is independent from the major ones in the high street, when the banking crisis began my bank gave a loan to the Royal Bank of Scotland. I wanted to remain with my own bank
as I am a loyal customer but because of this new charge I have to rethink about where my loyalty now lies. Why should anyone have to put up with such shoddy customer relations if this was a store that didn’t provide a good service they would be answerable under the sale of goods act, the code of conduct when it comes to the banking service should be over hauled. It is us the customer who has been held to ransom over how they treat us, if it wasn’t for us none of them would be in a job and they wouldn’t get these big pay rises. Why reward someone for poor service and this is what is happening.

Teresa Bliss says:
8 November 2014

There is no come back. Seems to me to be because of corruption at the highest levels.

Hugh Thomas says:
11 November 2014

It is a terrible thing to say but the loyalty to our banks that many hundreds of thousands of us used to be proud of, is a thing of the past. Indeed, the “bright young things” running our banking system rely on customer inertia to rake in their profits and bonuses. Changing your bank is no real panacea, My wife and I have used all of the High Street Banks at one time or another, and believe me they are all as bad as each other. My father, a very honourable man, was a manager with the National Provincial Bank (precursor to NatWest), he would be appalled at what has gone on recently. We need root and branch change!!

Should which examine the terms and condition and highlight those that are a) not neccesary and b) those that are customer unfriendly. Some terms and conditions are too much one sided in the bank’s favour.

Teresa Bliss says:
8 November 2014

What a good idea!

John says:
8 November 2014

banking is not “free”, and charges for current accounts are really ridiculous. Banks make large profits from playing money (customers’ money) on the markets. The other ridiculous thing about banks is the massive differential between interest rates on savings and loans. They borrow our money for 0.01% and charge anything between 10% and 17% for credit card transactions. They can pay me the same rates they charge any time they like, and THEN I might trust them.

Paul Hudson says:
8 November 2014

I cannot fully understand why the banks want “to go electronic” to even more extremes
than they have already gone—of course, we know that they are encouraging their
customers to use cheques less and use electronic transfers more than has been
the case in the past. The reason for my not undertsanding is that I learned
—from somebody who gave a talk at a branch-meeting of a professional body
that I used to belong to—that 4 years ago—that it was estimated that, collectively,
banks were losing £3 billion to £4 billion per year through hacking or other forms of
electronoic fraud. Of course, no individual bank will publicly admit to such losses,
because this would be tantamount to admitting that its security systems is defective
in one or more respects.

The hackers are highly sophisticated crooks, and given that the scale of
electronic fraud is so much more extensive (and apparently easier) than fraud
perpetrated by the forgery of signatures on cheques and on other paper documents,
would it not be better to encourage the revival in the use of cheques?

It’s not realistic to expect everyone to move back to using cheques, so the effort needs to be put in to making electronic transfers more secure.

In less than the time taken to post this message I could have made a payment online. Compare that with the hassle of doing that using a cheque.

Having said this, I have posted many times about why we need to retain cheques. Some people think we can do without them, but they have obviously never worked for a small charity.

Teresa Bliss says:
8 November 2014

Totally agree. Tried to pay in a cheque with Barclays recently and had the same experience. Have been with them since 1967 am reluctant to change because they have a branch here in my village. Might explore getting a post office account instead.

We changed our Nationwide accounts to online and cash machine, partly to take advantage of the current account interest. Nervous about abandoning the comfort of using the branch counter staff -but using the cash machine to withdraw cash and pay in cheques at any time we like proved to be a doddle. When we opened the accounts the staff said “if there is a queue or its cold or wet don’t worry, just come inside the branch and we’ll do the transaction”.

Oh, and if I phone, I speak to my branch, not India.

Come on, there are decent banks/building societies out there. Just use them instead of the ones you moan about.

Just stayed with the girobank as it morphed from post office through abbey santander. Although there’s a two quid charge, it is offset by payments for direct debits and tthree percent interest. Quids in for now.

I have current accounts with both Coop and Nationwide. I was about to transfer my day to day banking to Nationwide a couple of years ago but then they suddenly decided to close all their branches in inner southeast London i.e. Lewisham, Blackheath, Catford, Peckham, Greenwich, Woolwich. No notice was taken of the outcry this caused. Although it was understandable that they might want to close some branches many people including local politicians campaigned to keep the main branches in the bigger centers open to no avail. I now have an hours round trip to the nearest branch. My issue was that there is no provision for depositing cheques other than by post of by going to a branch. I don’t think the post is safe so I opted not to move my day to day banking. The Coop doesn’t have many branches but they do have a free arrangement with the post office for paying in cheques which is much safer than the general post. I use the internet for everything else but I run a small business, too small to set up card payment, and most of my clients pay by cheque as they are individuals, many of whom don’t yet ‘do’ internet banking.

Maggie W says:
8 November 2014

I have banked with Nationwide Building Society for over 35 years and from my personal experience I can say that I have been most satisfied with their service. I cannot feel negative about the way I have been dealt with by them nor the packages they provide. I recently changed to a current account which incurred a monthly fee of £10. I did my homework and when completely satisfied that it fulfilled my needs (that included an interview at branch for over an hour to go over every detail and a follow up phone call to confirm that I was happy with this), I transferred my previous account to this one. I can honestly say that all services, including savings have been excellent and the website is easy and up to date. I seem to remember that Nationwide was one of the first to operate a more secure internet banking site using personal debit card to log on! NO COMPLAINTS!

Jill says:
8 November 2014

I spent most of my working life in Banking and in the my day, if someone went overdrawn regularly without arrangement or went over their overdraft limit or credit card limit regularly, they were hauled into the bank to discuss ways of resolving the situation with possibly cards and cheque books being taken away from the customer. Whilst I accept people should take personal responsibility for managing their finances, most people are not financially savvy in any way and if they are allowed to regularly go over their limits, they will do. My son is a classic example of this. He banks with Nat West and they just let him do it all the time as they make money out of him by charging him. I think this is irresponsible on the part of the bank and they should excercise more control over those who are incapable of managing their own finances. In my son’s case, once interest and charges are added to his credit card, and with him only making the minimum payment each month, he will never pay it back as the charges come to more than the payments he makes. He has recently handed his credit cards over to us and we have destroyed them in an effort to bring his finances under control.

Neil Kenyon says:
8 November 2014

“He banks with Nat West and they just let him do it all the time as they make money out of him by charging him. I think this is irresponsible on the part of the bank and they should excercise more control over those who are incapable of managing their own finances.”

Are you saying that banks should undertake parental responsibility?

There are a number of professions that could be “caring”, yet few really are. Banks, Solicitors, Barristers, Insurers should all care for their customers, not try and shaft them for as much as they can. The government turns a blind eye to this because of the enormous amount of money that must be coming in from these people via VAT. (IPT for insurers.)

Allan Dyer says:
8 November 2014

I recently had a conversation with the bank manager at Lloyds Bank in Shrewsbury. The conversation related to,in the main, customer service and the reduced number of tills open for customers to TALK to a member of staff. He explained that footfall had been steadily reducing at the branch and he could not justify staffing to many tills at off peak hours. He said they had new machines in place that could cater for customers needs when they visit the branch. There are a significant number of customers who DO NOT want to use these machines; they wish to be served by a person who can respond to their questions and take the time to explain clearly issues that the customer does not understand.
There are too many decisions taken in headquarter offices that do not adequately take into account customer service requirements at branch level. Senior managers and directors need to visit local branches on a regular basis and talk to their customers face to face.

Ignore your customers at your peril is what the banking industry in general needs to focus on

G Wallace says:
8 November 2014

Mr H, my nephew, was in his forties and working long hours for less than minimum wage. In 2000 he contacted the bank where he had his current account to cancel his direct debit contributions to savings plan, but the bank refused and his account became overdrawn, so the branch staff provided him a loan of £2700 at a cost over four years of £4670!

After the bank had provided this loan he soon became overdrawn again and unable to maintain repayments, this loan was refinanced with a greater loan of £3000 at a cost of £5550 over five years.
When again after three months, he was unable to maintain repayments, this loan was refinanced with a greater loan of £4500 at a cost of £7743 over five years.
When after five months he was again unable to maintain payments, this loan was refinanced with a yet greater loan of £6400 at a cost of £10750 over five years.
When again after 10 repayments he was now unable to maintain repayments of now £179 per month, this loan was refinanced with a yet greater loan of £9600 at a cost of £15590 over five years with repayments now an eye watering amount if £260 per month!
When again after 9 repayments he was again overdrawn and unable to maintain payments, and was threatened with legal action by the bank!
So each new loan consolidated the previous one.

By March 2004, Mr H found himself with a debt that he had no realistic means of repaying. He complained to the bank, but could see no way forward with a debt so large. He felt the bank should have considered his ability to repay before lending him such a large sums, and said the bank was responsible for his present predicament.
In order to avoid legal action, was forced to take out a second mortgage of over £20000 via his mortgage provider to repay the credit charges and credit card account he had also used in trying to meet repayments!

First appearances suggested that Mr H was not earning enough to support the borrowing. From the difficulties in meeting the repayments it appears that all the loans were actually unaffordable! This is confirmed by looking at the current account which showed that the repayments were continually creating an overdraft on Mr H current account.

Each time he became overdrawn, the branch bank staff coerced him to take out a greater loan to clear the overdraft and repay the old loan. He had been sold payment protection insurance with each new loan. This made the situation worse, as the premium added a significant lump sum to the accumulated debt. This pattern of borrowing meant that Mr H had ended up with a extremely large loan and could not reasonably afford the repayments.

It should have been clear to the bank that Mr H was having difficulty affording the loan repayments, since it also held his current account, and took this into account when investigating Mr H situation.

We have also learnt that the bank have failed to compensate or offer correct redress regarding the PPi associated with the five continually refinancing loans, as the FOS guidance.
We have now also recently found out that the same bank has taken his ALL his life savings by, although customer signed the option for his savings he struggled to pay in to be retained and grow until 2013, which caused him to be overdrawn in making these contributions, via a DD but the bank incorrectly preventing him from cancelling or suspending, have now also been taken by the bank in 2003!!!

D Essame says:
9 November 2014

Which bank?

I recently wanted to change Banks, but found I couldn’t. I have a basic account and have had bad debt in the past, all has been sorted out, I don’t have or want a credit card, I have no loans and pay my bills. I basically live within my means, I do have a ISA and would like to move to a better rate, but I cannot move anything because I am only allowed one basic account and can deal with only one bank. I’m therefore unable to save money very quickly because I get the worst rate and even though if I wanted to switch Banks I would be closing the account I’m switching from, no one will touch me. It seems very unfair, when you have done everything you can to get out of debt and start to rebuild your credit history and get back on your feet financially that you are unable to do anything to increase your small savings because your viewed as blighted. My debts were caused through no fault of my own, but I am the one being punished.

Judith says:
8 November 2014

Barclays Bank charges £25.00 for each international draft. I need to send a draft monthly for a US student loan payment. The student loan company is not set up to receive payments electronically or over the phone, etc. This means it costs me £300 in international draft charges annually. I have checked out other ways to send funds to the US (other banks, Post Office, etc) but they all charge about the same amount. To buy the draft I have to go into the bank, and place an order. Very often the only teller available does not know how to fill out the order form. On one occasion I waited in the bank for over half an hour when I was told “We’ll just get someone.” I left without being able to place the order. On other occasions I have placed the order, and been promised a phone call to let me know when the draft was ready for me to pick up… (yes, you guess, I did not get the phone call). At times, I have made a clear request for someone at the bank to telephone me when the draft was ready, explaining that I go straight from the bank to the Post Office to send the draft to the US. There is a box to tick on the order form stating that the draft should be delivered to the bank, but… (you guessed again, drafts often get mailed or sent to me by courier service ). I don’t understand why it takes several days to process an order for an international draft. Bank staff have told me that the draft is processed in the international department. Surely, the bank’s exchange rates are published on the bank’s internal computer system, so each branch could have the facility to produce the drafts. I think that the banks make simple procedures seem complicated so they can charge more money. One of the tellers who did not know how to order the drafts insisted on knowing what the draft was for before she would proceed. When I explained that I had never been asked this question before (in three years or so) she said that the “international rules” have changed. I did not believe her, but told her the purpose of the draft. Since then I have bought many drafts and not been asked what the draft was for. I think the teller summoned bureacracy in an attempt to cover her inefficiency. This particular teller’s actions are a small example of the bureacratic cover up that enables banks to continue to be inefficient and charge customers for the extra work involved when systems and individuals are not working well.

tim morgan says:
8 November 2014

During the past year my local Barclays branch has gone from five humans with money-tills to push-buttons for everything. To put money into any account it is placed in an envelope with an identifier and posted into a secure box. OK so far, except twice I have had my cash lost. The first time it was about £200 pounds, second time £600 to pay my credit card. As this £600 had not been recognised in the system I was charged various interest rates until it was discovered several months later. All of the interest was refunded with an apology consisting of ‘Sorry about that’. Not good enough! I hate the buttons, I hate looking around for forms and a pen. I hate going to the bank!