Thursday, 1 December 2011

Gripe About Banks

RABBITS.  Right.  I hope that brings me a bit of luck in my dealings with the bank tomorrow.

I wrote this at  0017 but left it until this morning on the basis of not doing things like this in haste.

In the UK I bank with the Bank of Scotland.  Of course that’s only a name now.  It became the Halifax and then when that company’s incompetence put it down the pan it became part of the marginally less incompetent Lloyds Bank empire.  I stayed with it because the branch in Stornoway is staffed by lovely people many of whom I’ve known since they joined in the ’70s as fresh-faced tellers and who know who I am when I walk in and they sort any problems.  But I’m in NZ for the next 5 months and beyond their help.

This evening I rang the bank.  After ignoring all the automated requests for information I got through to Daniel.  Nice chap.  Not the chap I needed though. ‘Sorry this is credit cards. You want telephone banking.’  ‘I thought this was the telephone banking number.’  ‘It is but you are through to credit cards.’  I didn’t even bother to ask why. “I’ll put you through.’  Eventually I was introduced to Craig.  He’s probably a nice guy too.  Shame about the job.  But at least he has one and someone has to do it - up to now.

‘I want to transfer £10,000 to my NZ account with the ASB.’  ‘Ah.  That’s a problem.’  ‘Why?’  ‘Because you can’t transfer more than £5,000 at a time now.’  No point in asking why.  It’ll be Government regulations.  ‘Why don’t you do it on-line.’  ‘I tried.  It says that I can’t.’ ‘Ah yes.  If you are setting up a new payment you’ll have to clear it with a customer service agent.’  ‘It’s not a new payment and it wouldn’t even let me get anywhere near a CSA.’ ‘ Should have done.’  ‘Well it didn’t.’  ‘OK we’ll do it now.  I’ll transfer you to the proper section…… some time passed…. I’m sorry the system’s down.  Please call back later.’  ‘It’s 2300 hours here.  Have you any idea when later might be.’  Silly question.  ‘No.’  Sensible answer.  I know because it's not the first time that's happened.

So now, after a 15 minute call half way around the world I know that at some time - as the exchange rate weakens yet again - I will have to spend another phone call and probably go through the whole rigmarole again.  I also know that instead of the usual one fee of £28 ? that I usually pay I will have to pay that fee times 2. 

Because I’m just one of millions who lost money by owning bank shares (‘They are a rock solid gold chip investment’) I’ve never complained.  After all it was the only significant single share holding I had.  My B of S shares were valued around £10 each.  I now have many more shares issued by Lloyds in the buy out.  I have no idea what a Lloyds share is worth.  17p? I can’t even be bothered looking it up.  My loss was liveable with and insignificant compared with many.

I thought I’d add that last paragraph just to indicate just how I’m feeling tonight.

Because tonight the bank has really pissed me off.


  1. Calm down! Remember, you have a dicky ticker. Just give me your bank details, passwords etc and I'll make sure the money goes where it is needed. In fact, I have a contact in Nigeria, who has promised me lots of money if I give him my bank details. I could give him yours. You could give me, say, only 25% as an introduction fee. Sorted.

  2. How frustrating. It can be difficult enough even when you manage to get eye to eye with them. Your post reminds me that I have to ring my bank and try to find out why they still haven't done some things discussed weeks ago...

  3. Ah yes the £10,000 limit. I had fun with that when we bought the house. On a Friday we were told we had to get the £25,000 deposit into the solicitors account by the Monday. No problem I thought, a simple on-line transfer (the accounts were with not only the same bank, HSBC, but at the same branch). Nope only £10,000 a day. So I had to do two £10,000 transactions on Friday and Saturday and then a £5,000 transaction on Sunday. I then sat and crossed every paired appendage I have hoping it would all make it there in time. Fortunately it did although I had to explain to the soliciter why it arrived in chunks!

  4. Try using your debit card to transfer it. It works fine for buying cars and other high value stuff.
    This regulation I understand is to prevent money laundering. I suspect it's to stop a run on a bank or slow the run.

  5. I look forward to reading your blog, and for some reason my blog reader has really taken agin you GB.

    You're still not appearing there so I am equally pissed off.

    I will get to the bottom of this!

    Bon courage re blooming banks by the way,


  6. Thanks Marcel. I often wonder if anyone falls for those scams.

    Mark: The £5k limit is on telephone banking and £10k on other banking. A recent £50k transaction took 10 trenches. So a money launderer just has to be patient I guess.

    Adrian: I've not tried to use my debit card but all foreign transactions cost 2% so it's an expensive way even if it can be done.

    SP: Please don't lose me. I rather enjoy our 'discussions'. I've just checked and you've disappeared off my dashboard again. Arghh. I'll put you back on straight away. But that still doesn't explain why you can't see me. Blogger?!@$%&

  7. YeeeeeHAH! You're back in my reader again,


  8. I hear you, GB -- I too had bank stock -- in one of the United States' largest banks, Washington Mutual. When I bought the stock, I was told (like you were) "Nobody ever lost money on bank stock" -- "Safe as houses" -- "Too big to fail" -- etc. etc. W

    hat nobody bothered to tell us was that the supposedly safe houses were all overvalued and on the verge of foreclosure.

    There is currently a huge lawsuit coming up for settlement which involves shareholders (even small ones like me) and which involves about 28 pages of bumf which I am supposed to fill out and return with documentation by December 8th.

    I notice that there is one line in the material which states that "in agreeing to settle the above listed bank officers do not admit any wrong doing or guilt in the failure of Washington Mutual." Must be great to have so many high-priced lawyers on their side!

    I think after all the dust has settled, my 500+ shares may net me about $25 US. Hardly seems worth filling out all the paperwork, but hey, money is money.

    Sorry. Just had to rant to someone who might understand! Thanks for listening.

  9. And you're in mine SP. All's well with the world. Well that's perhaps overstating it a bit but I can get a bit carried away occasionally.

    Hi Carol. Good to see you here even if it is on such a topic. Yes and it's our money that is paying those lawyers to defend those who negligently or knowingly lost everyone's money. I know people who had large amounts of their pensions tied up in Bank stock. They lost capital and the bank is paying no dividends either at the moment. I always play the Glad Game. My loss was a new car or a new roof (heaven forbid) but it wasn't my whole income.

  10. Me too. We'll be okay without WaMu's money, and won't starve. It's just as annoying as hell, though. But, I guess as they say, it could always be worse.

    One of our neighbours lost about 1/3 million dollars! He will probably have to work until he's 95 now. No retirement for him, poor man.

    By the way, I love your posts, and always enjoy your insights into New Zealand life. I think you and CB have my two favourite posts. Take care, Carol

  11. Thanks Carol. That's a lovely compliment.