Most of us have an hour for lunch and we don’t want to spend it in a bank queue, waiting to pay a cheque in. Unfortunately, many of us end up half-starved because banks are half-staffed.
One of the many customer complaints about UK banks published recently by the Financial Services Authority focussed on exactly this issue. So surely the banks would listen to their customers and sort out the long queues?
Of course, they would. Because that’s what banks do. They listen. One of them even used to call itself ‘the listening bank – strangely not anymore.
With this in mind, I decided to do a little on-the-spot research into lunchtime bank queues around two of London’s busiest streets, Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. I walked around and went into all the major banks over a one-hour period and found the following:
- Only one in four HSBCs had counter service.
- Only one bank branch was fully staffed at lunchtime. Round of applause to Barclays. Although its other branch was only half-staffed.
- Out of the 15 banks I visited, 10 were under half-staffed.
- Lloyds had a graph of busiest periods informing customers that lunchtimes were busiest. Strange then that their counters weren’t fully staffed in either of the branches I went into.
Alright, I admit, this is hardly scientific but it’s likely to be what any customer would experience when banking in their lunch hour.
In their defence, banks obviously want us to do more transactions online. And many of us no longer even need to enter a branch to sort out our finances. Plus, banks may argue that keeping staff costs down mean that our charges stay lower.
But this is beside the point. They need to understand that at least for one hour a day, banks in big cities (and everywhere else for that matter) need to be fully staffed. This means workers can deal with their money issues and grab a cheese and pickle sandwich without risking heartburn.
Have you had to wait in line at lunchtime or am I just bank bashing?