St Selleck, patron saint of…

I hate the financial institutions, their attitudes, their accents of the phone, their treatment of you and I as a resource instead of a person, and basically everything that holds their very being together. As one of the many who are out there skinning their knuckles to earn money, be it employed or as a free agent, getting to slap their smarmy shiny bastard faces once in a while makes me very happy.

I am owed a lot of money by customers, all at the same time, which will make eating and buying diesel a risky affair until the cheques are in the bank. It’s the price you pay for freedom, sometimes when the sun shines and I’m heading north on a Wednesday, it’s worth every heartache, other times when the pressure is on I wonder just how much peace of mind a regular pay would bring.
“Dear Mr Macfarlane,
You are dead in the water, you’re not putting any money into your account, we think you’ve gone away and hid under a rock, leaving a gaping hole tens of pounds wide in our bank, which may well topple this mighty financial institution. We have cut you off.
Screw You,
The Bank xx”
So, they killed my business account before telling me, resulting in scheduled payment armageddon. I phoned, I was passed from one voice without an IQ to another. I left contact details and went away to strangle pipes.

“Mr Macfarlane? I’m reviewing your account after your communications earlier today and I have to say that there’s no future for you at our bank. You have no income, no overdraught, no balance, no hope and indeed I am only here to patronise you from my nice office while I count the minutes until I go home this Friday afternoon, try paying your bills now”.
“I see. You realise there’s a recession on, and demanding money with menaces is frowned upon unless you work for the authorities? So, I just have to wait until the money comes in, times are hard for everyone”.
“It’s your responsibility to look after your finances responsibly”.
“So after asking for nothing for years, waiting  patiently in queues in your understaffed bank, paying all the charges a business account accrues without complaint, when it looks like I might have some issues, rather than a letter or a phone call to ask if I was okay, if there was anything you could do to help, you cut through my achilles tendons when I’m not looking and just watch me fall?”
“Thanks for the support. You’re in front of your computer aren’t you? What’s your email address?”
I was just back at base, so I shuffled through my virtual paperwork and sent through some copies of as-yet unpaid invoices I’d sent to customers.
“Yes Mr Macfarlane, but that’s not quite enough to… ” I sent some more, “Ah, okay. Well I can see that business is…”
I sent through some work orders I’ve got for stuff that’s coming up. “Well, Mr Macfarlane, that changes everything…”
“So now that you know what’s coming you want to be my best pal again don’t you, eh?”
“Well, I wouldn’t put it like that…”
“Why not just ask me, why not pretend just for a minute that we’re all people doing our best in currently difficult circumstances, and phone me to see what’s happening to save either of us getting into a situation?”
“It’s not our culture, and it’s automated…” Both parts of that sentence gave me all the answers I needed.

They makes the rules and then change them once we’re in the game so they can squeeze and exploit us. We are food, no more than that. What about humanity and consideration.
I dunno, could we starve them? Put in exactly enough money to cover our direct debits, standing orders and cheques see how they do with no money to play with,  then stand with our arms folded until they agree to whatever demands we feel like presenting them with. If they try any fancy shit we’ll go all-cash and watch the bastards stew in their own pish.

10 thoughts on “St Selleck, patron saint of…”

  1. Aye, I’m not complaining, I’m happy to wander along as a one man band.
    I think the biggest thing I see with this incident is the distance between the different groups in the mix of day-to-day business. There’s just no understanding, it’s no wonder we’re in such a state.

  2. I’m betting this was BoS…

    in past life I worked there, had my accounts there, but pulled the plug after they couldn’t handle me giving them several thousand pounds into an ISA.

    I moved to Co-operative Bank, next to no branches in Scotland, but it’s still one of the best financial decisions I’ve ever made. Their people on the other end of the phone have a clue and it’s basically been a hassle free experience start to finish. Their ethical policies are nice too.

    I imagine trying to move a business account would be pain for months to come though…

  3. You’re not complaining? Why not? I was self-employed and if anyone talked to me like that he’d have the sharp edge of my tongue and then so would his boss. But it’s hard to do that when they’ve got you over a barrel, I know, but sometimes you just have to – they deserve it, these faceless minions of corporate enslavement because their attitude to you is so arrogantly dismissive and deliberately unhelpful. Sad really when corporations such as banks wield so much power that they can influence international events in a more significant way that most states. I can well understand why some people choose to live a life off the grid and away from this penal servitude.

    Rant over, sorry…

  4. I am rather happy with my bank, Nordea that is. Good friendly service even if I am a small one-man business. If there are alternatives, as Fraser pointed out, why not go there? That is the best way, in my opinion. is a very ethical and social bank in Switzerland, which sadly won’t help you but goes to show that banks also can be different!

  5. I changed banks a few years back but kept my old accounts active and ended up going back as my new home as no better.
    Moving business accounts is so much hassle, they go through everything from your finances to a medical to your religous and sexual preferences.

    I need a bank I can walk into, I often pay wages in cash so when I’ve got a couple of guys out helping I have to be able with withdraw more than an ATM will give me. So I’m stuck with folk with lots of branches.
    This annoys the hell out of me as know there’s better options as youi guys have pointed out.

    My final conversation with the bank was interesting. After a while they end up having to admit that all your grievances are justified and “that’s the way it is”. A friendly tone pulls the information from them and lets you you throw it back at them.

    Ironically one cheque arrived this morning.

  6. i’ve just been bank faffing myself trying to open a new account with the same bank i have some money maturing in and transfering it to that new account. Why when you ring em send em the correctly filled in paperwork and instructions what to do, you still have to ring another million times to check its been done and done right. I hate bankers should all be shot for fleecing everyone and getting paid mega for the privelage of ruining a lot of lives.

  7. I’ve worked both sides of the fence: in a bank and self-employed, and I think the big difference is the connection with the customer and the work you’re doing. Usually when you’re self-employed you build relationships with your clients/customers, you have job satisfaction, it all comes back to you so you do the best job you can, etc. In a bank you’re usually paid a crappy wage independent of the amount of work you do, so in that case the customer is just a faceless pain-in-the-arse who generates more work for you, there’s no job satisfaction at all except when you get a mars bar from the canteen. There’s just a massive disconnect – that’s why you start thinking of customers as numbers or things rather than people.

    Having said that, very impressed with your self-control PTC, I reckon I’d have lost the plot entirely with the arrogant prats!

  8. That’s something you can’t train into people is an understanding and empathy.
    So if you’re dealing with an automaton on the phone who is providing stock answers you’re already at an advantage, you can ask questions to which there is no stock answer, get them off balance and either get refered to someone higher up the food chain or get them to agree to what you want to get rid of you.
    That’s why I stay restrained, just out-think the bastards :o)

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