Friday, April 13, 2007

First it was Royal Bank now it is HSBC

What is it with the banks in this country. It used to be that banks treated their staff and customers with respect and courtesy. Not any more it seems.

A couple of weeks ago the Royal Bank of Scotland threatened its staff with disciplinary action if they did not have their primary bank account with the Royal Bank of Scotland. I followed this up with my local branch who had not heard the story and attempted valiantly to get me a response from their headquarters. The kept me in touch and promised a written response from their headquarters. Sadly to date I have not received any communication explaining their position. Two fingers to me I guess my accounts and business are not worth keeping!

So should I move my account elsewhere?

Well I am seriously considering it despite the inconvenience involved but I won't be going to HSBC. According to yesterdays Guardian one of their branches has now decided that only customers with £50,000 or more in savings, a hefty mortgage or a salary of at least £75,000 are to be allowed to talk to staff. If you do not meet this criteria and want to be served personally or make an inquiry then you will have to go to another branch.

Banks seem to have lost the concept of customer service and perhaps they are also losing site of one of the basic economic equations involved in Banking. There are some who have money and leave it in the bank, there are some who need money and borrow it from the bank, the difference between the two interest rates covers the banks costs and provides its profit!

1 comment:

dobson said...

I did a stint for RBS/Natwest. It's standard practice for retail banks that all employees get paid directly to an RBS or Natwest account. It saves a bomb on payroll expenses and means employees get paid sooner.

As compensation the bank is usually willing to offer their staff (however menial) access to a permanent Gold-grade account. For example, I was given a free Natwest Gold account to collect my wages from RBS. This normally costs £80 per year.

It's a lifetime perk (as long as I keep the account open), so it's a really good deal.

Once you have your money you are free to do what you want with it. There was never a policy to enforce what OTHER financial products you use. Most people had a standing order to take their money from their natwest account into another account for regular banking. There was no policy or contract preventing this.

As for denying access to branch banking services, that's indefensible. You might ask why retail banks are making record profits and at the same time closing branches.