Posts Tagged ‘banking’

I was sitting in the lunch room today and happened to glance down to my side to see a copy of The Sun ‘newspaper’. I put that in inverted commas for reasons that will become painfully evident in a few minutes. Anyway, in said ‘newspaper’ was an article written by what I can only assume was a journalist, seeing as he has a regular column. I read the article, since it pertained to the industry in which I currently hold employment.  Actually, article needs to be in inverted commas as well, but now I’m being mildly petty. I feel it a moral and societal obligation to reply to this article with a letter of my own, since it is so far removed from actual news, or even anything approaching factual insight. I’ll copy and paste the article in full below, and here’s a link to it if you want to read other people’s comments. The comments themselves are quite revealing about the state of some people who roam this nation, actually allowed to vote.

I DID something on Monday that I have wanted to do for 30 years.

I gave my bank manager the mother and father of all earfuls.

I’m thinking of making it available on a podcast.

For decades I have had to bow and scrape to the bank and their stuck-up staff who look down on my best efforts.

Monday was different. Monday was the day that the Royal Bank of Scotland was nationalised.

So now I own them. And by God were they going to pay.

I warmed up by pointing out to the manager that he was a failure. Now the lowest of the low, a civil servant.

And no matter how my bank account had looked over the years, I was a success.

At least I had money in my account and that’s more than can be said for RBS.

In future I don’t need your advice on what businesses to set up or become involved in. You haven’t got a clue. Your business is skint.

Idiots

Secondly, from now on in I want to be treated like a valued customer and not somebody who appears to be getting in the way of the smooth running of the bank.

That will involve him smiling when I approach rather than looking as though one of us has trodden in something rather disgusting.

Thirdly, never again were they to offer me advice about what to do with my money. He didn’t know anything.

Bank executives are largely idiots who can just about print the stuff but that’s it.

Finally, I wanted him to promise that he would hire extra staff so he would get rid of the queues and stop making mistakes on my account.

My rather vile rantings were met with either “quite right” or silence.

My impression was that he had been receiving quite a lot of customer advice that day. The power has shifted forever.

We the customers are the masters now. Promise me this morning that you will contact your manager and warn him or her that unless you are better treated you will take your overdraft elsewhere.

Right, that’s the whole article. How do we all feel? Suitably literaryly violated? Yeah, I’m allowed to make up words, because at least what I write makes sense, you fucking cretin. Like I said, I’m afraid I see it as my duty to reply to the ‘article’. My reply is below, and will be posted as a comment to the article, emailed to the author, and quite possibly be distributed elsewhere.

I did something today that I’ve wanted to do for years, as well. I wrote a letter in reply to a journalist who penned an article so far removed from actual journalism I had to use a map to connect the two.

There are so many things wrong with your article that I’ve genuinely no idea where to start, but perhaps firstly I should state I work for a bank. Not, I’d like it known, the Royal Bank of Scotland, before you jump on a soap-box and assume I’m merely trying to defend my own.

Do you really think anyone at branch level had anything to do with the current economic climate the country finds itself in? Really? To clarify, the reason the country is in such monetary hardship at the moment is down to the decisions and choices made at the very highest level of the UK (and the US’s) major banks, not the people in direct contact with the public every single day. Calling the local branch manager a failure is much akin to calling the boy who polishes the shoes of the England football team a failure when the team loses the world cup.

The staff and managers in the branches are doing the best they can to actually calm and reassure the general public that their money is going to be ok. We don’t sit around behind closed doors cackling to ourselves about taking all your worldly wealth – our job is to try and save our customers money in whatever way we can and make their lives easier, not grab more of it for the bank. You venting your anger, frustration, or just having a shout because for some bizarre reason you think you have the right to would only have made the manager and the staff of the branch feel unappreciated and hated when they’re just as affected (if not moreso) as everyone else by the state of the nation’s finances. You think we have job security at the moment?

Secondly, you have no right to walk into a bank (or any service establishment, for that matter) and shout at the staff for some perceived mistreatment on your part. I am disgusted by your attitude to this matter, and even more so to the fact that you openly encourage others to do so when the staff of banks are clearly having a hard enough time of things at the moment as it is. Just because people work in a service environment, that does not mean they’re there to fall over at your every whim and desire to please you. We’re still people and deserve to be treated with respect. More to the point, perhaps, just perhaps the negative attitude you think you experienced from the staff of your bank is because you always enter the place with such an air of disdain and contempt about yourself that they’re in no way incentivized to be anything other than cordial to you? One wonders if you ever tried walking in there with a smile and a ‘good morning’? That was rhetorical, I already know the answer. Ever heard of projection? Smiles are infectious, but so are scowls.

Oh, by the way, the Royal Bank of Scotland aren’t owned by the government now, they’re a majority share-holder. There’s a subtle difference. Bank employees are not civil servants, but so what if they were. Where on Earth do you think you’d be without civil servants. What makes people who work in the service of the country the “lowest of the low”? As opposed to, say, an arrogant little man with a huge chip on his shoulder who specializes in writing inflammatory and spiteful remarks simply for the sake of his own self-satisfaction.

To be honest, the entire tone and content of your ‘article’ speaks hugely of a massive grudge you have with banks, and that’s nothing to do with the climate currently. Did they give you a few bank charges in the past? Refuse to give you a loan or increase your overdraft? Perhaps you should start taking some responsibility for yourself and your own actions and realise banks don’t do things like that for fun and frolics. It was your fault. Instead of practising incredibly poor journalism and writing things entirely designed to antagonise, why don’t you try writing something useful. Part, a really large part of why the country is in such a bad state at the moment is down to journalists like you writing shocking articles such as this and stirring up public worry, fanning the fire of mass-panic. The public look to you for guidance in matters they’re not fully conversant in – you have a responsibility to them to advise accordingly, yet all you can do is tell people to go and shout at a perfectly innocent cog in a huge machine.

Do you think your little rant at the manager made any difference whatsoever except to make him dislike you even more than he already invariably does? It didn’t. He replied with “quite right” and silence because it’s the quickest and most efficient way to get obnoxious people out of your face. Oh, and as for your threat of taking your overdraft somewhere else? From the sounds of it, the staff in your bank would be elated if you did. And trust me, we don’t want your type of business – you aren’t a valued customer. And if your account is run as badly as you tried not to indicate, most other banks won’t want your business either.

Dick. Well, that took a while. But I’m quite impressed. I didn’t swear at all. I know, I know, I used a few long words, and he is staff of The Sun so he’ll have to look them up, but still. It was good for a laugh.

Off to go and… not write for a while.

I found the spices in the end. They were where any normal person would expect spices to be left. Tch.

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So I have a few minutes to kill while I queueueueue for a place on the server to get in an hour of Warhammer, so I thought I’d waste ’em writing something. That said, aside from inane babble, I have nothing remotely engaging to add to the general milieu of life, so it may end up slightly pointless.

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So, a friend of mine has just finalised a deal to move into a flat (apartment, Americans), in the Gloucester docks, which used to be working docks for several connecting canals, but are now a rather up-market retail and accommodation centre. Pictures (small though, sorry) can be found here, here and here. From the sounds of the flat he’s got, and the building it’s in, I’m very jealous. Almost to the point where I’m considering moving into one of those flats myself. I could afford it, quite comfortably I think, but there are a few down-sides to living on my own. For a start, I’d starve to death within a few weeks since the sum total of my cooking expertise starts and ends with frozen pizza, soup, and beans/cheese on toast. Seriously, I’d die. Secondly, despite the negative stigmata associated with it, I actually quite like living at home with my parents. Fuck you all. I enjoy the company and being able to come home and actually, like, talk to someone without having to use a keyboard, (strange, I know). Thirdly, I really really like playing loud music, and in flats that tends not to forge the best of friendships with the other people in the building.

I shall continue to consider, but I doubt I’ll do anything ’til early next year. That said, I’m going to see his flat on Wednesday so I might love it and randomly get one of my own.

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It has been a strange week in the world of banking. The first two days of the week were manically busy with queues of people out of the bank trying to thrust cheques for £50k at us to put into new accounts for them. All of the account managers didn’t stop all day, constantly with customers. Thursday and Friday were eerily quiet. Almost the exact opposite of the beginning of the week. On Thursday the banking hall was dead until after lunch, and none of the AMs saw one customer until about half past one in the afternoon. Friday was slightly improved, but not by an awful lot. I think only one of us met our weekly target of sales points, which is shocking to say the least.

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That all said, today I bought 500 shares in the bank I work for. The share price has dropped through the floor this last week (mainly due to the media, as mentioned in a previous post) and loads of the staff have bought up shares. I had a few hundred pounds spare so I decided to get some too. Even if they only go up 20 pence per share in a month or so, I’ve made a sizable amount of profit. If they just keep going down, well, fuck it, it’s only money. I’ll earn some more.

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Ah, queue’s done. See you later. Tomorrow, I buy frames!

The moose in the Canadian wilds are “Big,” according to an eye witness. Just thought I’d allay all your fears about that.

I was having a brief, and probably what he thought was a motivational chat with a colleague at work yesterday. Now, I can’t remember exactly what was said, but it was along the general lines of figures, targets, unrealistic expectations and such like. I mentioned something about a sale I’d done and he said it was good or some such, to which I replied that it was indeed, but it was nowhere near what needed to be done. His reply was something along the lines of “well yeah, it’s not where it needs to be and you can look at it as the glass being half empty, but you could always look on the positive side where the glass is half full, can’t you.” I replied with “the glass is neither half full nor half empty, it’s twice as big as it needs to be,” then left him standing in silence. Not only does existentialism beat corporate buzz-phrases, but it gives unique outlooks on life. Plus it’s fun to throw at classically trained middle-management.

Now let me explain something, people. It’s not a tricky concept, but one most people seem to struggle to grasp. Do not believe everything you read in the press. Erm, except this. This is fine.

The press reported that a meeting took place involving the heads of all the major banks in the UK with some of the economic dudes in the government. This did actually happen. The press also reported that the banking group I work for asked the government for some ‘bail out’ money to help the company maintain stability and functionality in these times of economic crisis. This did not happen. But because the press reported it, share prices for my said employer crashed today to an all time low for the last two decades. This has nothing to do with the solvency of the company, or the relative worth of its shares whatsoever, it’s simple rumour-mongering and a lack of public confidence caused by it. The staff of said company are well aware that our stability and value, as well as general worth is absolutely fine, to the point that many members of staff have, today, bought thousands of pounds worth of group shares each because when they go back up to the normal average price in a few weeks we all stand to double our money. Thanks, media.

Not all, by any means, but a damn lot of the problems with the economy and the general state of the nation at the moment are compounded and exacerbated by the press. It’s all well and good saying you have a right to free speech, and you have a duty to report the true nature of things. And I don’t disagree on those points. However, you’re making the damn problems worse. Almost out and out lying, blowing things out of all reasonable proportions, and spreading fear among the general populace are not good ways to help the country pull itself out of the current slump. Have some damn ethics and stop making things worse for the sake of a good story and an eye-catching headline. Yes, I do realise asking that is like asking a lion not to chase gazelles, but still. One can hope.

I was going to write some more, but I’ve got some spices to collect.

The Disgruntled Banker – Part One

I work for a bank. I know, they let me work with people, it’s madness. Not only that, but they leave me in charge of their money. The purest definition of foolishness I’ve ever known. Anyway.

So I had a lady (barely) almost in tears in my office today. Now let me assure you, the cause was nothing to do with me offending her or having been rude etc. She asked me if I could extend her overdraft because she had no money to buy food for herself or her two children and wouldn’t be able to eat for a week. And I told her there was no way we could do such a thing because she was only on benefits as she was a jobless mother of two children, barely in her twenties, and had managed to get herself into lots of debt elsewhere already. I didn’t quite phrase it like that, but I explained the situation.

And the reason I sat there with not an ounce of sympathy, apart from my general apathy towards humanity, was that she’d spent the ten minutes previously explaining to me that she gets over a thousand pounds a month of benefits, has no rent or mortgage to pay, and when asked how on earth she spends all her money every month and still needs an overdraft, she answered “Yeah, like, umm, I get my nails done and stuff, and buy the kids new clothes all the time and stuff, and…”.

Dear fucking god, someone needs to put a lifeguard on the gene pool of life and not let people like this breed. She seemed to think it was funny at first, while she was telling me how she literally wastes all of her money on material crap that they don’t need, then comes to the bank asking for money because she can’t afford to feed herself and her children for a week. Then when she was told it wouldn’t be possible she started getting all upset and angry, as if it were my fault. I apologised, explained the situation again, and suggested that perhaps in future it would be a good idea to prioritise nourishment for herself and her children over sparkly nails.