View Full Version : More on Banks.

29th Jan 2014, 03:41
Banks !!! 55 years ago I opened an acccount with the Nat.Prov.Bank, that then became the Natwest, and has now morphed into something connected to the RBOS ? With financial interest still in the UK I have maintained this account without break, and there is regular traffic in and out of this account, it is very much an 'alive' account.

30 years ago, just after leaving the UK for good - not necessarily determined at that time - I joined an Institution that I had, and still have, a passing interest in that requires payment of an annual sub. so I authorised a direct debit due on 2nd January.

For the past 29 years Natwest have paid this Direct Debit without question. This year they didn't, causing the obvious distress, inconvenience, International letters and phone calls - they won't deal with this by e-mail due to "security constraints in your interest" Yeah ! Right !

The matter is still being sorted out, and I have no information, Natwest offer to reply to me "within 15 working days" that's 3 weeks for Chrissakes !

World's Gone Mad.

29th Jan 2014, 05:24
World's not gone mad- it's always been like that. They just can't hide it as well as we used to and they're not as good at dealing with it as before....

Go see the local Manager at the branch you usually deal with and explain that you're about to withdraw all your funds and go to their competitor if he can't get things sorted out immediately. And that you're going to send a letter to the top management tomorrow detailing what happens today no matter which way it goes and then do that. I'll bet things will be sorted out for you in minutes and if they're not- do what you say; there are many other banks to choose form :ok:

My business, my money, my choice- that makes me the boss doesn't it? You'd better treat me that way because your competitor would just love me giving them a chance to do that :E

Solid Rust Twotter
29th Jan 2014, 06:40
Hah! Walk in the park. Try dealing with ABSA Bank in SA. They don't even bother replying to emails re queries or instructions. I'd love to get hold of the email addresses of the top guys there and send them a snottogram detailing the inefficiency and duplicity of their company. Of course, the directorship has been heavily infiltrated by the ANC, so no surprises there...:rolleyes:

29th Jan 2014, 07:02

Unfortunately, living in New Zealand, I can't walk into my local branch in Dorset, or I would have done so already ! If I choose to move to another bank, trying to do that in England, from New Zealand, would be a nightmare in frustration and bureaucracy - if not actually impossible, after all, if you don't work nine to five and live just around the corner you are clearly an International Money Launderer and "unclean".

29th Jan 2014, 07:03
My business, my money, my choice- that makes me the boss doesn't it? You'd better treat me that way because your competitor would just love me giving them a chance to do that

Whilst I agree with your statement, I think you might find that as soon as we deposit money into a bank, legally speaking, it no longer is ours and we have become an unsecured creditor.


Lon More
29th Jan 2014, 07:34
Change banks. You can set up an account with First Direct on line then transfer any funds to them. I dumped Barclays several years ago and have had no problems since

29th Jan 2014, 08:12
Get internet access to your account. I do this with my bank (HSBC) and hardly ever have to contact them any more as I can set up standing orders, transfer funds, pay bills etc. all online.

29th Jan 2014, 08:50
You can't use First Direct unless you can prove residence in the UK, because they are governed by some credit act that does not allow them to give credit to non-UK residents. Even if you don't want credit, it still applies.

Different topic. I use UK Mastercard for all sorts of purchases, hotels and tickets all over the world, online transactions, mostly tickets, and so on. The last time it flagged up an out of pattern transaction was for about 4000 for my son's university fees, fair enough, I called them and it was unblocked.

Yesterday I tried to buy a ticket on the Dutch Railways website - 65 - and it flagged and I had to call them and go through it all. It wasn't even an out of pattern transaction, but then I suppose better safe than sorry. I'm just wondering what's going to happen when I start using it in Poland next week.

29th Jan 2014, 09:50
Capetonian just a thought, but with my bank if I'm travelling I have an online facility letting them know in advance which countries I'm visiting and which cards I'll be using. It seems to work as I've yet to be flagged up when abroad and I've given prior notice.

29th Jan 2014, 09:59
Regretfully, I have ceased to be a member of two Institutions for just this reason - trying to join a new bank in the UK is an unsuccessful waste of time.

The only practical solution is for the Institutions to start taking payment by credit card.

And if you can get internet access to work with Santander more than once, you're a magician

29th Jan 2014, 10:31
Can one have a bank account in X without being a resident in X, I mean aside from tax planning/avoiding jurisdictions ?

Btw, someone on JB a while ago suggested that at departure airport use a cash machine with all the cards you intend to use, just get a printout and not necessarily cash and this apparently lets the bank know that you are about to travel, so that when it next gets used there is a line of historical intent. I've tried it several times and so far so good :ok:


29th Jan 2014, 11:50
I've staying in the same hotel in Durban for 3 weeks/month since last June, paying the bill monthly by Company Barclaycard.

Upon attempting to pay the bill just before Christmas the payment was declined - "Unusual transaction" according to them despite the fact there had been 6 identical transactions in the preceding 6 months :rolleyes:

29th Jan 2014, 13:03
I have an online facility letting them know in advance

I actually write to "The Manager" at my RBS branch telling him if I'm going to make unusual purchases in unusual places - one or the other or both - but on speaking to a human being (I think) at that bank last year, I was told they take no such notice as it would contravene their internal regulations which require them to examine every (every ?) such transaction to see if it is fraudulent. So I said "then what's the point then of me informing you in advance?" and he replied, "frankly, none whatsoever".

29th Jan 2014, 13:06
Can one have a bank account in X without being a resident in X,

For France the answer is certainly no as I tried this last year, because I occasionally receive French cheques and would like to cash 'em when in France.

No way, not even at the bank located in the offices where I occasionally work in Paris.

29th Jan 2014, 13:14
It does makes bankers jobs appear more credible if they portray their customers in a worse light than themselves such as being potential criminals.:rolleyes:

29th Jan 2014, 13:29
All interesting stuff.

A few years ago when I went to South America, including Colombia and Venezuela, both countries with a high risk of fraud, I notified my CC provider. They said there wasn't anything they could do officially but would 'note' it. I suppose they wrote it on the back of an envelope. I paid hotel and restaurant bills in Argentina and Venezuela without any problem, totalling probably 2000 and then on the last day of my stay in Colombia, having paid restaurant bills there, I made purchase in a gift shop for maybe $50 and it was refused. I was nowhere near my credit limit, so I rang the CC issuer and was told it was an 'out of pattern' transaction. It almost defies belief.

For France the answer is certainly no as I tried this last year, because I occasionally receive French cheques and would like to cash 'em when in France.
Umm, no, it is possible to have an account in FR if you don't live there - I know several people who have done this (although why anyone would want to have an account in France is beyond me but that's another story ........). Of course if the wonderful EU and its precious currency worked properly, a Euro cheque drawn on any bank in the Eurozone would be bankable without charges in any other Euro country. Of course we know the reality of that!

B ...... W ..... Anchors!

29th Jan 2014, 22:46
DA's, yes quite.

HSBC have come up with a nice one too. Cant have any more than s5,000 in cash of your money unless you can prove why.. Thin end of the wedge if you ask me.

29th Jan 2014, 23:04
Get internet access to your account. I do this with my bank (HSBC) and hardly ever have to contact them any more as I can set up standing orders, transfer funds, pay bills etc. all online.I have Internet access, but short of manually attending to all the payments every month/year a Direct Debit set up 30 years ago seemed to be the most trouble free way to continue, and was being paid without my caring - until this year.

Can one have a bank account in X without being a resident in X, I mean aside from tax planning/avoiding jurisdictions ?Yes, but of course I have to declare them to the tax jurisdiction in which I currently reside, but I can't open a new Credit Card on an account I have in another Country that I no longer reside in, tho' credit cards I opened when I lived in that Country are still valid for use in my present residence, even with this present address as the billing address.

My wife tried to use a USA bank Credit Card valued in US dollars, at a public phone box in the USA, to make a call within the USA, but was denied by some "digital Doris" because her card, tho' valid, now has, and has had for 20 years, a foreign billing address.

World's Gone Mad.

29th Jan 2014, 23:07
You made a spelling error in the title.

It should read MORON Banks.

After 38 years with Lloyds, I've recently been hoofed off to TSB as part of the "sell off", despite showing my preference to stay with them and filling in paperwork as they directed.

There is no TSB branch anywhere near here; the nearest is thirteen miles away, in the opposite direction to my place of work.

I reckon it's because they were weeding out account holders who weren't providing them with enough return on accounts held. I've seldom been in the red, never missed a payment on loans, not actually had a further loan for almost 20 years, etc. They held a six figure sum of my savings for a long while.

Having enquired why I was allocated to another bank, despite my letters and against my request, I was advised that I could re-apply to be one of their customers but I would need to attend an interview with my local branch manager to see if I was a suitable potential customer and all subject to approval, etc etc. I eventually lost patience with the arrogant "customer service" !wat I spoke to and put the phone down on him.

I notice that they have hung onto my credit card account though....that will change soon. They can get stuffed!

29th Jan 2014, 23:14
I had a similar issue a number of years ago - I ditched everything, and relaxed ....:zzz:

29th Jan 2014, 23:53
I'm just wondering what's going to happen when I start using it in Poland next week.

Check with Mr. Cole, he may be able to unblock it for our, ahead of time. Just provide the details.

30th Jan 2014, 01:04
My wife tried to use a USA bank Credit Card valued in US dollars, at a public phone box in the USA, to make a call within the USA, but was denied by some "digital Doris" because her card, tho' valid, now has, and has had for 20 years, a foreign billing address.

We've had that problem, US card on a US bank but not a US billing address. Half the time it's because their system can't actually cope. I've seen the results of an attempt to put a UK phone number into a US-centric bank system and the resulting computer-mangled phone number was quite creative.

To keep an aviation theme, Hawaiian Airlines is one of those who insist on a card with a US billing address, as we found out a few years back when trying to book some tickets to the islands. I eventually had a friend make the booking and paid him the cash.

30th Jan 2014, 03:29

I just don't get it, if it is a US bank card, drawn from a US account held by the bank, payable in US currency, WTF do Hawaiian Airlines care of the customers bill is sent to a foreign country, they get their money from the bank, not the customer, and do Hawaiian only fly within the USA ? No, for a start they have recently started a New Zealand to Hawaii service, how do they expect NZ customer to pay - in cash ? and will they accept NZ dollars !

30th Jan 2014, 11:04
Will anyone accept New Zealand dollars :p:O

30th Jan 2014, 18:36
Will anyone accept New Zealand dollars

At least the NZ $2 looks its' worth, not like that poncey little Aus. thing.

Still, NZ retailers win, the Aussie visitors pass over an Aus $2 in mistake for a NZ $1 - and nobody says anything, but the NZ retailer pockets $2.15
Gotcha !!!

Nervous SLF
30th Jan 2014, 23:09
Will anyone accept New Zealand dollars :p:O

I would be delighted to accept N.Z. Dollars so please send me a P.M. stating how much you are giving away and I will organise
means for you to pay me. :ok::ok:

31st Jan 2014, 05:51
I expect that Mr. Cole will be happy to accept NZD for his 1000 that he's waiting for. It's about NZD2050. Anyone care to send him that? Say your name is Idi O'Teek and it's on behalf of Tomasz Grodzinski.

24th Apr 2014, 20:04
Why is the UK so far behind on normal 21st century human rights? Canada years ago recognised that all Canadians (except for crooks) have the right to have a basic bank account and a basic telephone service. Canadian banks and telcos must provide this. See: Your Right to Basic Banking Services in Canada (http://www.bankruptcycanada.com/bankacct_access1.htm) Starting in 2016 Canada's federal government will cease payments by cheque. All payments will be made by direct deposit to payee's bank accounts. Recipients obviously have to have a bank account to receive their payments.

Every honest British citizen should have the same right to have a basic bank account in the UK. Have you taken this up with UK politicians and consumer organisations? If not, then you are part of the problem! If you have, then I encourage you to keep the pressure on until the UK catches up with Canada in these areas.

In an article in the Telegraph on 26 March 2013 UK Pensions Minister Steven Webb stated: "Customers who do not currently have another bank account may wish to open one. HM Treasury have also worked with Barclays to put in place a process so that individuals can open a bank account quickly if they wish to do so." Although initiated by the situation of British pensioners in Cyprus, the advice offered by Webb was without qualification to all British pensioners as it would have been obvious that other UK expat OAPs likely to face similar problems would also need a UK account and would act in accordance with this advice. As Canada had introduced "bail in" provisions in its 2013 budget I mailed a letter to Barclays that day to start the opening process for a basic current account in the UK of the type that Webb and HMT obviously had in mind for expat OAPs. More than a year later I still do not have this. So much for "quickly!" Barclays refuses to provide a basic account, instead offering only accounts with high monthly fees and high minimum balance requirements that are obviously unsuitable for a normal OAP. Clearly this exercise was nothing more than a bait and switch scam by unscrupulous parties callously aimed at exploiting expat British old age pensioners. Three of these bait and switch scammers at Barclays are Antony Jenkins, Sir David Walker and Amy Trainor. All three have refused to correct the problem and open a basic account in the UK for me. Webb, HMT and the Telegraph have also all failed to act.

Barclays Bank with its ongoing public relations disaster and financial penalties (levied on shareholders and not on rogue management and pseudo-bankers) due to its involvement in Libor fixing, Euribor fixing, Forex fixing, money laundering, electricity market manipulation, mis-selling PPI and interest rate swaps, paying bloated bonuses while profits are down, conflicts of interest, account details for sale online, etc. should be grateful there are still prospective new customers trying to do business with it. Instead it carries on unchanged and has again been slammed in the media by both individuals and institutions:
Barclays in row with top investor over attack on pay - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/epic/barc/10785792/Barclays-in-row-with-top-investor-over-attack-on-pay.html)
Barclays AGM: shareholders large and small protest over pay and bonuses | Business | The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/24/barclays-agm-protests-shareholders-pay-bonuses)
Same old excuses for the Barclays bonus bonanza | Business | The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/24/barclays-bonus-bonanza-bob-diamond)
Britons face losing their Barclaycards - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/10780197/Britons-face-losing-their-Barclaycards.html)

When will the UK make a genuine effort to clean up its banks and other financial institutions? Please do your part and put pressure on UK politicians to regulate UK banks into the same 21st century level of customer service, human rights and account provision for British citizens that Canada has demonstrated is both possible and practical for Canadians.

24th Apr 2014, 21:30
Despite all the aggro today, Barclays share price rose, suggesting that people were piling into them.

24th Apr 2014, 22:11
When I spent four months in Paris some years ago, on my first visit to the NatWest bank in the Place Vendome I was surprised to find that my Natwest bank card cut no ice and that I had to prove ID with my passport. Seemed that even though it was a UK bank, once in France local rules applied

25th Apr 2014, 00:34
Take all your complaints:

Sum them

Square the result.

You have described an Algerian bank.

And don't even think about one in Nigeria...

After an excellent landing etc...

25th Apr 2014, 01:20
TTN - same with Santander in Spain. All this 'worldwide bank' bullshit is just that.

I would say though that my Canadian bank:
Let me use my Canadian hotel address to initially open an account before I'd moved here properly
Let me use my UK driving licence as a second ID, and entered a dummy Canadian number until I'd swapped licences
Cashes UK cheques for me over here and only charges $5 for the privilege
..and has not given me the slightest hassle over anything.

20th Aug 2014, 21:07
All who are having or have had problems with UK banks, particularly those banks that refuse to open accounts at UK branches for British citizens who are living outside of the UK, banks that harass expat customers who have existing accounts in the UK and banks that arbitrarily close existing UK accounts of expats, should read the Telegraph article below. Add your voices, letters and emails to the protests and demands for remedial action:

Expat campaign over banking rules - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/11045291/Expat-campaign-over-banking-rules.html)

Make sure you copy your UK MP. Your MP is the one whose constituency includes the address you last had in the UK, regardless of how long it has been since you left the UK. Pressure them to earn their pay, outrageous housing allowances, benefits, tax deductions and allowances not available to ordinary citizens, gold-plated pensions and other income such as looted mortgage costs and fictitious expense claims that they arbitrarily confiscate from taxpayers for a part time job for which there are no qualifications or experience prerequisites or performance standards!

Please copy your letters and emails to [email protected] with the subject line: Ask the Experts

Note that in First World countries such as Canada, which will eliminate government cheques and make all government payments after April 2016 by direct deposit, it is a basic human right that all citizens and permanent residents of legal good standing are entitled to a basic bank account from the bank of their choice and if in Canada a basic phone service from the telco of their choice. Banks and telcos are not allowed to refuse to provide these basic services. The UK should adopt the same standards.

Your Right to Basic Banking Services in Canada (http://www.bankruptcycanada.com/bankacct_access1.htm)

Fed cheques will no longer be in the mail as government moves to direct deposit | Toronto Star (http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/04/11/fed_cheques_will_no_longer_be_in_the_mail_as_government_move s_to_direct_deposit.html)

Please spread the word and encourage as many as possible to join in. This issue affects far more than just pilots, their dependants and other aviation personnel who work for foreign air operators or are based abroad. It affects many others, such as miners, geologists, diplomats, government workers, aid workers, engineers, architects, the military, the merchant navy, medical doctors and specialists, nurses, TV and press reporters, professional sports players, missionaries, multi-national company managers, travel agents, couriers, marketing reps, contractors, artists, actors, tourists, students, emigrants, retirees, old age pensioners, etc. We live in an ever more inter-dependant world, with ever increasing movement between countries, and with ever more persons in expatriate situations. Many of these still have connections with and financial needs in their former countries. They need bank accounts there not just for pensions or vacations but for businesses, investments, inherited homes, rental properties, school fees, general purchases, etc. With five and a half million British citizens living outside of the UK (BBC NEWS | UK | 5.5m Britons 'opt to live abroad' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6210358.stm)) it is obvious that a massive number are malevolently affected by the UK government's failure to solve this issue. The complaints we see in posts above are just the tip of the iceberg. This is the opportunity to press for reform.

20th Aug 2014, 21:29
I don't see what that will achieve. As I understand it, all the crap about having to be UK resident to open an account is due to the British government's 'money laundering' laws... I can't see them changing those laws just because a few expats complain.

20th Aug 2014, 21:35
Actually it's nothing to do with the British Government and everything to do with the new American FATCA regime.

Gertrude the Wombat
20th Aug 2014, 21:39
Make sure you copy your UK MP. Your MP is the one whose constituency includes the address you last had in the UK, regardless of how long it has been since you left the UK.
Oh, do expats get to vote, then, no matter how long ago they left the UK?

If not, why on earth would you expect an MP to give attention to an expat over a voter? (Hint: given that they work pretty well 24/7 and can no way do everything that's asked of them there does have to be some prioritisation.)

20th Aug 2014, 21:45
given that they work pretty well 24/7
I suppose that depends on how you define 'work'.

21st Aug 2014, 04:19
. . Actually it's nothing to do with the British Government and everything to do with the new American FATCA regime

Spot on.

Foreign banks just can't be bothered completing all the demands of the U.S. Gov't. for U.S. citizens living out of the U.S., they just put it in to the "too hard" basket and tell you to go away.

And v.v. - currently in the U.S., with U.S. wife. Just tried to open a non- interest bearing cheque account in my name for our convenience, with the local branch of the U.S. bank that she has been a customer of for over 40 years - and still is. "Not a U.S. Citizen" ? Go away. The manager was most embarrassed, but had to kow-tow to the line from Washington.

One U.S. bank clerk recently tried to wrest one of my wife's Visa cards away from her because they noticed that she had registered a non- U.S. billing address and was still using it. Doubtless we will find that card cancelled when we get back to N.Z. and open the mail.

World's gone mad - Islamic Terrorists have won.

24th Dec 2014, 01:51
As I always pay my credit cards in full on or before the due date, I had never thought about the way the interest is calculated, but helping out friends who have got themselves into credit card debt made me realise the following.

If you do not pay in full by the due date, you do not benefit from an interest free period on ANY of the spending. For example, your statement shows a due date of 15DEC, your purchases total 3000, you pay 2950, so you pay just 50 short, you pay interest not on the 50 as you might expect, but on the full 3000.

I was not aware of this, others may be. This may sound very naive on my part, but it's something I'd never needed to know.

All explained here :

North Shore
24th Dec 2014, 02:40
50?! Try .01, and you'll be on the hook for the whole thing...

John Hill
24th Dec 2014, 04:57
Thirty years ago my wife went on an international trip which required her to order some foreign currency from a local bank. She collected it the day before the left and paid for it with cash. But the bank made a mistake and undercharged her so the next thing we know is a handwritten pink slip in the mail box telling me to adjust my checque account records to cover the sum they had taken from my account to balance their mistake.

Of course I objected and was told in a most high handed manner that the bank would not be taking a loss on this so I would like it or lump it.

I was discussing this in the staff cafeteria when a I guy I hardly knew asked me to repeat the story, so I did. He was the financial officer for the 'organisation' where I worked and his section did about a million dollars a day business with the same bank.

It is not often one gets a grovelling apology from a bank manager!:p

24th Dec 2014, 08:38
Oh. I don't know. ;)

I've had 100 credited on one occasion due to an error on my bank's part and on another occasion I've received a large hamper, delivered to my front door containing within decent French wines, and assorted good quality epicurean delights. :)

The bank? HSBC.

24th Dec 2014, 14:37
A couple of months ago I successfully paid for a booking on KLM to fly from CPT to AMS and then on to LON. That done, I made a rail booking on NS High Speed (Dutch Rail) website for a ticket from Amsterdam to Berlin. It might have been 50 but it was rejected and I had to contact the bank's 'fraud department'. I make far higher value transactions on the same card all the time from many different places without a problem.

This was rejected because I was in South Africa at the time and it was 'out of pattern'. The ticket I paid for a few days before for travel from Vancouver to Harare was apparently not 'out of pattern', but the the 50 rail ticket was.

Apart from some programmer's paranoid delusion, I'd love to know what triggers the 'out of pattern' block.

24th Dec 2014, 16:53
The worse part of that is that when they decide it's out of pattern, they block the card.

I sat in Los Angeles, all legit and happy. The credit card company decided I shouldn't be buying car fuel there, although I'd paid hotel and restaurant bills.
Fortunately, my phone worked so I texted my alert daughter who told the credit card company the implications, and they reactivated the card.

I changed card company when we got home, just to be safe. The new one has a website with a facility to tell them about planned trips.

24th Dec 2014, 17:45
I sat in Los Angeles, all legit and happy. The credit card company decided I shouldn't be buying car fuel there, although I'd paid hotel and restaurant bills.

I once had a UK credit card company accidentally cancel my cards when I was on the other side of the world, in the middle of a six month trip. Oddly enough, the receptionist where I was staying had worked for that company as a temp when she was in the UK, and she said she could entirely understand that because most of the people she'd worked with were idiots.

I think they took about six weeks to go from threatening to set debt collectors on me to offering to upgrade me to Super Fancy Status. Shame about the $100+ phone bill I incurred to sort it out... lucky I still carried a bunch of travellers' checks with me back then.

24th Dec 2014, 21:42
I had a problem with Citibank where they 'lost' a payment. So they wrote asking me to 'contact them urgently' - but they wrote second class! A lot of problems followed, including me going to the US with a blocked credit card, then they asked for a copy of the cheque, front and back, which I not only Faxed but mailed to them recorded delivery with a cheque to unblock the account. They 'lost' the mailed cheque copy ("because you should not have sent a cheque with it").

There was one young lady with a Pakistani name and a Manchester accent that you could cut with a knife. If she said she would call back in an hour, she did so - even when I was in the US. She was obviously intelligent, did her best within the system limitations to help and was the only one worth the time of day. The rest of them, especially the managers, were so totally bloody inept that it was beyond belief.

When we eventually sorted matters, I wrote to Citibank, naming the incompetents and recommending the young lady for promotion. I pointed out the stupidity of writing second class when it was urgent, losing letters because they came with cheques and suggested that the named managers should face a disciplinary hearing at which I would be pleased to give evidence.

I got 250 compensation - but I never did hear if the incompetents got their just rewards (the probably got promoted out of the way) and the young Pakistani lady promoted as she should have been.

The only general reason that banks and credit cards companies are not run by wan*ers is that they fail to have the necessary coordination.....

6th Jan 2015, 11:01
I got out of bed on the wrong side today, and then opened the mail, which included a letter from RBS. Here's my response.....maybe other RBS victims will wish to respond in their way....

Mr Paul Fox
MD Personal and Business Banking
The Royal Bank of Scotland,
36, St Andrew Square,
Edinburgh EH2 2YB
6th January 2015

Dear Mr Fox,



A missive over your facsimile signature has just arrived. In it you tell me about the brave new world that my business is to be transferred to, apparently a "new team" known as Williams & Glyn. Is that a football club?

You mention that a bank using this name had a good reputation for customer service 30 years ago. So did many banks, 30 years ago, but we have forgotten all that now, have we not, in the race to the bottom driven by turnover maximisation, incompetence, greed, personal dishonesty and outrageous rewards for abject management failure.

You tell me that I will "soon be able to use a single phone number for all my business banking needs". Oddly enough, I was able to do that from 2001 - when I first opened an RBS business account - until quite recently, with a local call direct to the desk of the "business banker" in my local RBS branch. That number now simply remains unanswered, presumably as an "improvement in service" like all the others. I am guessing that your "single phone number" is a weasel phrase for something usually known and reviled as a "call centre", perhaps in India, so I am less than excited at this latest change for the worse.

The rest of your letter seems to be promoting RBS Digital Banking services, which I have been using for a number of years. To sum it up, it simply means another reduction in the service standards I receive as an RBS customer.

When you get round to transferring my company, you may find only a 10 token sum in the account, if I can find a better bank. I know, that's not easy in the UK's retail banking market where banks aspire only to be no worse than the others. But trust, me, I will try very hard.

Yours sincerely,

If I get a reply, other than a boilerplate acknowledgement and assurance that they take customers' letters very seriously and will respond in the "next 4 weeks", I'll pass it on.

6th Jan 2015, 12:20
I rang my bank in September to get an additional debit card (note ... debit card) on my current account for the Mrs.

"No problem, put the request in writing, and we'll need her full names, date of birth, ID copy, and the name you want on the card." Dodo said it would take two weeks.

A month goes by and I call them. Dodo (assistant CRM) says there's no problem, it's just taking time. I asked if they needed anything further from me.

10 minutes later Dodo calls me, obviously he's chased it up and now tells me I need to fill in a form, a copy of which he emails.

It's 6 pages, and is an account opening form, requires details of HER assets, income sources, expenditure, other banking accounts, passport, previous addresses, proof of current address, etc, etc. I query this and am told it's correct even though it's my account, my risk, my money.

So we go through the whole thing and send it back. That was in November.

Still waiting.

Can anyone recommend a good offshore bank? I think I might look at Standard Bank IoM.

6th Jan 2015, 12:43
I had exactly the same experience with the Co-op bank; asked for a credit card on an existing account, in my name, to add to the debit card I had already....


To cut a long story short, it took 5 months to get the card. On the way, we had Experian giving totally false information, sets of forms sent and resent to the wrong address, etc etc.

I never actually close an account, when I open a new one in a new bank in the wildly optimistic hope that it may be better, invariably dashed to the ground after a few months of honeymoon. I've got a lot of accounts with 10 in them!

Mind you I never tell a bank about the other accounts, I reckon it's my business. After all, I'm giving money to them, not the other way round, so there's no "obtaining by deception" involved. (I wouldn't dream of using an overdraft, it's asking to be fleeced and cheated by the bank; it's what they are hoping for to earn their bonuses. So they keep on offering higher overdrafts; if I took them all I would have at least 20K to spend. One reason for not accepting the kind offers is that if you do accept, guess what, you'll be charged a fee for them "agreeing" to the overdraft, followed by an annual charge for the same "service".)

The retail banks prey on the weak and vulnerable; persons as well as businesses. They do that with all the ethics of back street loan sharks. If you are a business with valuable fixed assets and a bank loan, God help you. They'll demand the loan back with 24 hours notice at a moment when you cannot do that. Then the Receiver they appoint will sell your assets for next to nothing to a company owed by the bank. That company will sell them on at a huge profit, of which you, of course, see nothing. And - of course - you still owe them the loan, personally, as a Director, and they will go after your personal assets for it. Has this practice been stopped? No, in spite of assurances that it has been. (Thereby confessing to doing it for decades, without any hint of apology, guilt, or indeed compensation to their victims, of course.)

If you need a bank loan to start a business, do NOT start the business. The reality is that your financial position is unviable, and the bank will eventually bankrupt you.

10th Jan 2015, 06:22
Apologies if I've already mentioned this - all getting too much to follow, my problem that is, not others.

When I married Mrs. ExS some 25 yrs. ago, I added her to my current (cheque book) account, and the account was renamed with both our names ( she kept her own ) on all statements, cheque books etc.

For reasons connected with the present attitude towards International living, it is easy for her to now be removed from that account than try to account for every financial transaction to multi-administrations, for the actions of two individuals of differing nationalities living in a third country. You don't want to know.

Accordingly, 6 months ago, we completed multi-forms that had to be physically delivered to my branch of the Natwest ( RBS controlled ? ) in the UK to change the account back to my sole name. Same account, same number, just Mr. Me instead of Mr. Me and Mrs. Her

A new cheque book was created - and sent to my branch in UK, for me to pop around to and collect, said a cheery Geordie voice on the telephone when I eventually started to enquire where my new cheque book was. Eventually it was agreed to print another cheque book to post to me, this arrived this week - addressed to my wife in her own name, which no longer appears on the account. At least the cheques are printed in my sole name now, so I guess I have nothing to complain about.

One could weep.

Low Flier
11th Jan 2015, 14:50
Nice letter, Capot. I'm very familiar with that bank and that particular branch. I once banked with them.

In 1971 I opened an account at the Mound branch in Princes Street of The Royal Bank of Scotland, as it was called in those days. At the end of the row of tellers there was a little glass-sided office which was inhabited by the Manager. His first name was Henry and I knew him well for a couple of decades. He knew every one of his customers by sight and by name and kept notes on all of us in a great big fat Rolodex on his desk. I have many happy memories of dealing with Henry. He had judgement, flexibility and authority. He detested and despised computers. Called them "damned electric adding machines". Whenever I went in to the branch he usually spotted me and called me in to his box for tea and biccies and a general chat. He never tried to sell me unwanted crap, but he always wanted to know where in the world I was working next and what I was doing. His personal knowledge of me worked to my advantage on a number of occasions.

One day in the mid to late 1970s I got a phone call from him. I'd completely forgotten, but a few days or weeks earlier I'd filled out an application form for the then fashionable Amex Gold Card while bored on a British Airways long haul flight. He was calling me to tell me that the application had landed on his desk. He said that it was the first time he'd ever seen anyone answer the Income question with a word instead of a number. I'd completely what I'd written on that form. Forgotten about the form entirely, actually, so I asked him what the word was. "Ample" he replied, immediately saying that he agreed and that he'd endorsed my application. You just don't get service like that from 'RBS' bank branches nowadays.

In 1979 I found myself in a very tricky situation in Bahrain whereby it was expedient for me to personally and immediately fund the immediate chartering of a jet freighter to haul some 212s and spares. By taking advantage of an lucky opportunity I could save my employers a six figure sum by cutting out two positioning sectors for a wide-body freighter, but I had to move extremely fast before the crew ran out of duty hours and had to piss off empty. I knew that I would certainly be reimbursed by my employer, but I didn't have sufficient liquid assets to be able to pay by close of business as the credit limit on my card, plus the automatic overdraft facility of GBP10k, was hugely exceeded by the cost of chartering and fuelling the freighter. I sent a very chatty telex to Henry from the terminal in Kanoo's office in Manama. No passwords or any of that mother's maiden name crap, but I used my normal mode of speech and I knew that Henry would recognise that it was me who was sending, or at least dictating, the message. He took a risk and authorised the immediate wiring of the money. Then he phoned the number I had given him. I later found from the timestamps on the transaction and my personal log of events, that he'd first made the transfer of funds and then phoned the Kanoo office. He knew me well enough to know that my word is my bond. He took a hell of a risk, not that I would renege on my pledge that I would soon be reimbursed by helicopter company Brand X, but that the telex might have been a spoof.

The Royal Bank of Scotland started to turn to rat shit some time around the late 1980s. '88 was when I first noticed the phenomenon of reductions in service being falsely described as improvements in service. My branch was closed down and Henry was pensioned off. I was shunted off, first to a forgettable branch in George Street which was rapidly closed down too, and then to the visually stunning but truly awful "branch" at 36, St Andrew Square. Just a bunch of computer-feeding pimply tossers. Wankers, one and all. No equivalent of Henry, other than his namesake on the top of the column in St Andrew Square.

I eventually opened an account, along the other end of George Street in Charlotte Square, with a small bank called Adam & Company. A real delight to do business with, for the first year or two anyway. One day I found myself in a bit of bovver in a very grubby West African country. I found it expedient to arrange an immediate and substantial cash donation to the local police benevolent fund, personally you understand. One phone call to my Henry-equivalent at A&C and it was all sorted. I even got some documentation from the bank which enabled me to write off my payment as a tax loss in the UK!

Sadly, for me, that arsehole George Mathieson over-promoted his protege Fred Fukwit. The once wonderful Adam & Company was bought out by Fukwit's rather nasty RBS. It rapidly changed its entire character. Fukwit found a bint in some back office and hugely over-promoted her at A&C. The good guys all quit and were scattered widely. She now runs the place (different physical office now, in St Andrew Square, formerly used by Coutts I think) as if it was a commercial bank instead of a private bank.

I decided to open accounts with two banks. If either one ever let's me down, then I'll shift most of the dosh in that account to the other one. The two banks I chose are Triodos and Handelsbanken. Both are excellent. Refreshingly ethical, which is a vast change from RBS! They are both meticulously attentive to customer service which is another sea change for me after the past couple of decades of RBS awfulness.

11th Jan 2015, 21:18
I might have posted this before...if so, apologies.

A couple of years ago I had a problem with Natwest (and having banked with them and their Westminster Bank predecessor for some 45 years) - the details are not important but just after the problem was sorted (or so I thought) they decided to decline a debit card charge. It was actually for dog food so not the end of the world but slightly embarrassing nonetheless.

When I complained, the block on the card was lifted and I received a grovelling apology together with the offer of a 'gift' as a token of their regret.

When I asked what the choices were, I received a catalogue from which to choose. They actually have a comprehensive catalogue of goodies to offer to disgruntled customers, acknowledging that they know that at some point they are going to fcuk up. (In the event I chose a bottle of quite expensive champagne).:ugh:

11th Jan 2015, 21:55
I sent an email on 3rd Jan to my local Business Manager for our RBS account. I copied it to the CEO's minion in Head Office whose email address I had from another issue some 6 months ago. It went like this;

Hi *****,

I just wasted 40 minutes of my life changing the address on account ************* to ***********************, our new permanent address.

Why 40 minutes? Because RBS says that to do that you either have to visit a branch if it's a business account, or lose the will to live in your call centre's clutches. It CANNOT be done simply and quickly, on-line.


I can transfer the entire sum in the account at a stroke using my log-in details; surely even those who run RBS (into the ground, of course) can see that if I can do that, a change of address is no big deal. I'm very tempted to do that right now, just to prove the point.

If an added layer of security is needed - unlikely, what can be a worse risk than emptying the account - then there is the widget needed to set up a new payee.

RBS's apparent target of doing everything possible to upset its poor b****y customers, with absurd and pointless "security" procedures that achieve nothing, never fails to amaze me.

By the way, I gave up on the correspondence about so-called "fraud prevention" arbitrarily negating a transaction and cancelling a debit card when it was obvious that the transaction can only have been genuine.

As I gave up on the correspondence about aiding and abetting fraud by accepting all demands for Direct Debit without any vestige of a check that the demand was not fraudulent.

In both cases it quickly became obvious that the complacency and lack of interest at the highest levels, up to and including the CEO's minions, were insuperable.

And of course there's the weird system of deliberately spending twice the amount needed on postage every month by sending, invariably, statements of more than one sheet in two envelopes.

It is no surprise the RBS lurches from crisis to crisis, punitive fine to punitive fine, while this approach prevails. Still, not to worry, the bonuses will keep coming regardless of competence and performance.


I got a letter back from the CEO's minion, sent 9th January, essentially saying that they might review the process for changing an address " as a possible process improvement", but not when. He did "agree that this would be a useful service to our customers."

He went on to say, to paraphrase it, that the issue of fraudulent Direct Debits was faced by all banks, the banks refund the theft if a customer spots it, so get lost, RBS doesn't give a toss.

And finally, in acknowledgement of the problem changing the account address, he credited 100 to our business account.

Credit where credit's due!

Low Flier
11th Jan 2015, 23:13

I was never affected by the GRG & West Register scams, but I recognise the ruthlessless and greed of the RBS style under Mathieson and his boy Fred Fukwit.


Here's just a teenyweeny sampler of what you might have experienced:
RBS 'deliberately destroying businesses' - YouTube

12th Jan 2015, 06:08
Being very familiar with the difficulty of getting any information, however simple and innocuous, out of a bank, despite numerous Usernames, Passwords, Memorable Words, name of Mother, Dog and First School plus some sort of clicking device kept in the drawer, and a code sent to a mobile phone - Mrs. ExS has just been appalled by receiving an e-mail from a local NZ bank today.

It seems that some deposit matured yesterday and they obeyed the request to roll it over for another term - the e-mail confirmed this, along with full details of her name, address, e-mail address of course, birthdate, account number, amount deposited, amount of interest earned on the matured one, new expiry date etc. etc. all on an open, unsecured and occasionally 'phised' e-mail address that she uses.

Beggars belief, but just try to ring them for some simple, non-specific general information.

She now awaits confirmation of having won some multi-million US dollars on some Nigerian Lottery, subject to her sending a "processing fee" equal to the amount on deposit, first of course, before morning.

But then I guess it's OK, after all NZ is Clean, Green, Safe isn't it, isn't it ? ( Yeah! right )

North Shore
12th Jan 2015, 10:50
Capot and Low Flier: Unbelievable! No wonder the powers that be have all but banned firearms in Britain...

12th Jan 2015, 18:39
Case Study in UK Banking Incompetence/Criminal Studidity

Wiki.......Gill Airways

Founded in 1969 by Michael Gill, the airline originally operated as Gill Aviation, mainly providing cargo and mail flights for various companies including the British Royal Mail. Following the acquisition of passenger aircraft in June 1989, the airline changed its name to Gill Air. The arrival of Fokker 100 aircraft in 1995 resulted in the airline entering into a codeshare agreement with Air France between Newcastle upon Tyne and Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. The title of Gill Airways was adopted in 1995, to reflect the growing importance of passenger operations to the airline.

Here's the highlights of the story as I remember it....

That agreement, and some good contracts as well as growing scheduled passenger traffic, can be credited to the MD who came in at about that time. With careful and good management he brought the airline out of administration in 2000, and things were looking very good.

So much so, that he persuaded 3i, the venture capitalist, to agree to invest 3m in the working capital needed for an expansion programme.

But just before the money was transferred the 9/11 attacks took place. Within a day, the UK Government made an announcement that it would underwrite all additional insurance needed by any registered UK airline.

But, also on 12th September, the Bank of Scotland demanded immediate return of a 45K loan it had made some time previously. This was little more than petty cash relative to the airline's turnover at that time.

By immediate, they meant within 12 hours. When asked why, they explained that with their expertise in running businesses, and airline businesses especially, they had decided that Gill would be unable to pay the huge additional insurance costs resulting from 9/11, and that they wanted to get ahead of the queue for the money.

They simply refused (or pretended to refuse) to believe that the Government would underwrite these costs, in the face of incontrovertible evidence that they would. They just reiterated, we can demand it back without notice, and that's what we are doing. Save your breath. No, you cannot take it higher, we make the decisions.

Very few businesses can raise 45K cash at less than 12 hours notice, a period reduced by arguing about it. Especially when your own bank is actively working against you, to close down any other source of the cash.

No 45K, so Gill Airways was placed in liquidation on the spot, quite unnecessarily. About 240 people lost work overnight, and a super little airline was wiped out by its own bank.

Was it just the usual combination of incompetence, dishonesty and arrogance that existed then in all UK banks and still does? Or was it a corporate fraud, quasi-legalised by the bank?

Who knows? I was not directly involved, but got it from the horse's mouth. Even the horse didn't really know why the bank did it.

Now, this tale would only be marginally interesting as history, if it were not the case that it could happen again tomorrow and probably will.

12th Jan 2015, 18:53
something wrong with that story. the bank can't make them insolvent instantly. they can apply to the courts to declare them bankrupt which can and will take months. sounds like sour grapes to me.

12th Jan 2015, 19:10
There's more than that doesn't add up. Generally loans cannot be recalled as described. Overdrafts on the other hand...

12th Jan 2015, 23:24
Highflyer, Baby, you're not wrong....I said it was highlights as remembered!

The bank called in its loan, thereby making the company technically insolvent, and the company stopped flying on 20th September, which was pretty instant but not the same day.

No supplier is going to give or continue credit when a company is in this situation; fuel, airport services, no-one, so operations stop pretty quickly. Airports put liens on aircraft when they land, regardless of passengers, to make sure they get their bills paid; I've done it myself.

And the 45K may have been an overdraft, indeed I think it probably was, but if you think a bank can't call in a loan, as opposed to an overdraft, without notice in certain circumstances, you may be in for a rude awakening.

Low Flier
13th Jan 2015, 05:46
Capot is right.

If a bank has written a clause into the loan contract giving themselves the right to call in a loan, then they can call in a loan. Simple.

In the days when banks were run prudently the mantra was: lend short; borrow long. An alternative way of observing that prudent practice is to write those clawback clauses into their T&Cs.

They do something similar on the other side of the equation. Nowadays they also grant themselves the right to cling on to depositors money, even if the depositor wishes to withdraw a large sum at the stipulated notice period. eg, try withdrawing 14k in cash from Santander at five working days notice. It may say on the T&C sheet that you can do so, but they always reserve the right to refuse such withdrawals.

I found that out the hard way a few years ago when I wanted to take that sum in cash to get a good deal when negotiating the purchase of a second hand car. Refused. This was in early September and they said that the Christmas rush meant they couldn't keep such large sums available in cash. They claimed the usual "security" bollocks.

I smelt a rat and suspected that there might have been a latent run on the bank so I moved all but 100 into another bank. A fortnight later Northern Wreck suffered the first overt UK bank run in over a century so my nose did not deceive me.

If I was a gambler I'd wager that the next bank in the UK to suffer a run will be Santander. They claim that they are insulated from the woes of Spanish banks, but I don't believe them.

13th Jan 2015, 06:05
well I can see their point on cash, so just get a bankers draft, same as cash and as long as you have the money in your account they can't say no

Low Flier
13th Jan 2015, 06:20
The reason why I wanted it in cash is because I know the great negotiating power of waving a very thick bundle of 20 notes under the nose of a private seller when buying a second hand car, especially when it's wrapped in a bank's paper strips in bundles of a thousand or ten thousand quid. It's a psychology thing.

When haggling price, a bankers draft for a fixed sum just doesn't work.

Sometimes cash is king.

13th Jan 2015, 06:25
well then you can't expect any particular branch to have enough cash on hand to just give out when asked. the reason you get interest on your cash is because they lend your money out to others...so if you want to withdraw a large amount it is only fair for them to say it will take x amount of days.

Low Flier
13th Jan 2015, 07:08
the reason you get interest on your cash is because they lend your money out to others

That statement is so wrong!

The fractional reserve system means that banks create money out of thin air by lending. Nearly all of the money they lend simply doesn't exist until they create it by lending it.

When you borrow money from a bank, you are not borrowing somebody's deposits. The bank simply writes the money into existence by lending it to you. That's the nature of fiat currency. There is no wealth to back a Pound, a Dollar or a Euro. It's nearly all created as if by magic when banks lend money.

Cash, ie banknotes, is a slightly different story. That is created and issued by central banks, but most (more than 97% of) money does not exist until created by the creation of debt.

If you or I were to try that, we'd quite rightly be jailed for fraud, but banksters get away with it every day of the working week.

13th Jan 2015, 07:18
LF Thanks for that rather worrying explanation. I was for many years under the impression that banks took money from depositors at x% and lent it to borrowers at 2x%. Recently, I became aware that this is an over-simplification, but your explanation makes it sound like alchemy, or perpetual motion.

Don't banknotes have to be backed by a reserve, or is that another fallacy? Once upon a time, South Africa was on the Gold Standard and circulating currency was backed by physical gold reserves. I believe that changed in the 1930s, during the great depression.

My question is, what, if anything, backs the currency notes I have in my pocket?

John Hill
13th Jan 2015, 07:26
My question is, what, if anything, backs the currency notes I have in my pocket?


Low Flier
13th Jan 2015, 07:26
what, if anything, backs the currency notes I have in my pocket?

Nothing. Rien. Nada. Ingenting. Zilch.

Low Flier
13th Jan 2015, 07:30
If you believe in the tooth fairy or any other deity, then that deity is real for you.

It's just the same with your Pound or Dollar or Euro or Rand or Peso.

13th Jan 2015, 08:20
I was for many years under the impression that banks took money from depositors at x% and lent it to borrowers at 2x%. Recently, I became aware that this is an over-simplification, but your explanation makes it sound like alchemy, or perpetual motion.

In simplified terms :
- As Low Flier already pointed out, its an old wives tale that banks use deposits to fund loans
- Banks hold their own assets in various guises (cash, gilts etc. etc.)
- The banks lend, on a leveraged basis on the back of these assets
- The name of the game is to correctly evaluate the risk across your loan book so that you can keep defaults to a minimum, and therefore minimise the risk of recourse to the bank's hard assets, and make money from the interest charged on the loans.
- For larger loans (e.g. funding the purchase of a Boeing), banks will form syndicates with other banks and other sources of money in order to spread the risk.

Done right, it works well. Done incorrectly or try to be too clever and you see the sort of stuff seen in 2008 with the US mortgages backed by fluff.

13th Jan 2015, 09:03
........... I'd wager that the next bank in the UK to suffer a run will be Santander. They claim that they are insulated from the woes of Spanish banks, but I don't believe them. I worry about Santander. I have a pension fund in Santander (Spain) and am trying to find a way to get it out before they and/or the Spanish economy crash. It's not enough to be life changing if I lose it, but I will still be aggrieved if the worst happens.

13th Jan 2015, 09:40
I worry about Santander. I have a pension fund in Santander (Spain) and am trying to find a way to get it out before they and/or the Spanish economy crash.

You do realise Spain only accounts for 15% of Santander's customer base don't you ? They're more active in Germany, Italy, Poland, UK & Latin America. Only 25% of their loan book comes from Spain.

13th Jan 2015, 09:45
I don't profess to understand much about banking and pensions, but I am quite sure that if Santander de Pensiones, which is where my money is, in Spain, goes tits up, my money is lost.

Low Flier
13th Jan 2015, 10:07
Only 25% of their loan book comes from Spain.

I remember when the RBS crooks were claiming at press conferences that their exposure to the US sub-prime market was "miniscule" and I remember them saying "we are just not in that space".

Bloody liars! The same liars who claimed that they did not need to boost the bank's capital "inorganically", ie with a bond or share issue, just before they did exactly that.

Santander is massively more exposed to the PIIGS than RBS ever was. There's a lot about Santander that smells of incipient bank failure.

When Santander goes tits up, I really don't think the Spanish government will bail UK savers or creditors out. Neither will the UK government. I think the template was set with the two Cypriot banks. There will be a bail in, not a bail out. Small savers with less than 85k will be OK, but everyone else will be raped.

13th Jan 2015, 10:30
Small savers with less than 85k will be OK, but everyone else will be raped.

The words eggs and baskets come to mind ! :ugh:

Low Flier
13th Jan 2015, 10:48
The trick is not to spread one's surplus cash across apparently different banks which actually trade under a single banking licence as the 85k thing is per customer per banking licence, ie multiple subsidiaries of a parent bank don't necessarily have separate 85k compensation schemes.

13th Jan 2015, 15:17
What a bugger up.

Living out in the sticks, as we do, SWMBO and I occasionally drive about 120KM to a large shopping mall to purchase goods not readily or economically available in the local shops.

Yesterday I filled the car with petrol, that was the good news. As a full tank gives me at least 500km, with only only local, short journeys of start stop motoring.

After raiding two shops, I suggest that we return to the car to empty the trolly and then have lunch, but because I was getting low on cash, I would use the ATM by the door to the car park to replenish my money clip.

The ATM accepts my card normally and asks for my PIN, before I could hit the 1st key the screen changes to one that asks if I want more time!!!

So I hit 'Yes'.

The result is that the ATM now displayes the normal start screen, saying, 'Please Insert Your Card'!

Fortunately, the ATM is one of 4 situated outside of a branch of my bank. Not wishing to leave the machine for some bad guy, to somehow extract my card, I persuaded the security guard to have a member of the bank staff to come out to me.

I was taken into the branch, and spent an hour going through the bureaucratic nightmare that has to be endured in these circumstances. All done while SWMBO is sat outside of the bank because the supermarket trolly won't fit through the bank's doors!

The net result is that my Credit Card is now stopped, I cannot use an ATM and I have lost access to Internet Banking, as my credit card number was my 'login id'. I can expect my new credit card 'in about a week'.

They at least did let me draw some cash out of my account, and lunch started with half a litre of cold beer.

13th Jan 2015, 16:38
as my credit card number was my 'login id'

Sometimes you wonder what goes through the minds of software developers....

Credit cards ... as login ids ... on a public website .... what could possibly go wrong....:eek:

13th Jan 2015, 16:42
Sounds like Standard Bank - mine's the same. Stupid, because anyone who knows your card number is already a third of the way through the login process.

My experience with Standard Bank is that their service is head and shoulders above any other bank I've dealt with anywhere in the world.

13th Jan 2015, 17:01
I was for many years under the impression that banks took money from depositors at x% and lent it to borrowers at 2x%. So was I, and then one glorious day when the banks were running unchecked by reality or anything else, I think in the early noughties, maybe late nineties, Barclaycard sent me a round robin begging me to borrow up to 6,000 at 0% for the first year. The catch was, of course, that monthly repayments were needed, and missing one meant that interest at an extortionate rate would be applied to the whole loan from day one, and added to the loan, and that if you didn't repay at the end of the year the rate would become extortionate.

They were targetting the vulnerable and stupid, of course, waving 6,000 under their noses and saying "It's yours, just sign here" in the certain knowledge that many would fail to meet the conditions, and end up owing the bank their souls. The back street loan shark business model,of course.

I took the 6K, set up an SO from my Barclays current account for the minimum monthly payment (20? - something like that) 5 days before the due day, and placed the 6K in a savings account with Barclays at 5%. I sent the balance back to them 2 weeks before the year was up, and kept the interest they had paid to me.

A tiny triumph of turning the tables, but a satisfying one.

13th Jan 2015, 17:30

Yes it is Standard. My branch is in Margate, the episode was at Amanzimtoti Galleria.

The staff were very good, but it still buggered up the day.

Now the schools are back, I was enjoying driving on empty roads, for the 1st time since the 16th Dec.

25th Sep 2017, 16:32
Got a letter today from FratWest. They seem to think I live in Switzerland and would like me to confirm it. I suspect that they get this idea from our postal address, in Switzerland, where they sent the letter to.

Well, they got me, I do live in Switzerland. My sinister plot to fool them failed because of my postal address. Who :mad: would have guessed that.

Not only do they want me to confirm I live in Switzerland, which I'm happy to do, it seems they don't trust me. They want certification from one of four possible sources;

A member of staff at my local branch, etc. [But I live in Switzerland, I don't have a local Branch]
A lawyer or solicitor listed on the law society or bar association website [BILIS - they do it differently here]
An accountant who is listed .... [BILIS - they do it differently here]
Embassy official consulate or high commission. [I'm not British either, the embassy (in Bern, a long way from here) wouldn't know me from Adam]

No mention of a notaire which, in most of the napolionic world, is the guy to certify documents.

Of course they want all of this in English which is not actually an official language in the rest of the world. If I could find a notaire to do this, in English, it would cost me a couple hundred francs.

I'm tempted to return the forms signed by me and not certified. I am only confirming what they think - why do I need my attestation certified? Or simply ignore it, there isn't a lot of money hidden (oops, deposited) there.

Oh, they gave me a number to call (0207 242 9447) which is either constantly engaged or doesn't work from here.

Bloody idiots.

Jet II
25th Sep 2017, 16:39
Yep - had all the same issues with HSBC Expat. I had to spend several hundred dollars getting paperwork attested at a Embassy approved lawyer.

And dont get me started on FATCA or CRS - seems that banks think we still live in a world of paper statements even though they will only give you an electronic one. :mad:

25th Sep 2017, 16:59
In Switzerland they got me to sign a form saying I was not a US citizen, resident or even thought about the US on rare occasions. They didn't need, or appear to want certification.

I'm even more tempted to just send it back duly filled out. If they don't trust me well **** them.

25th Sep 2017, 19:35
Your bank WILL have the last laugh if you don't comply properly/completely. They'll simply freeze your account. They'll still pay your direct debits/standing orders but you won't be able to access the account via cheque/ATM/etc nor will you be able to pay in any money. Your account will slowly and gently wither on the vine.....unless......you get all the sodding forms in a line and get them authorised where necessary. Then they'll be oh so nice and ask if there's anything else that they can help you with today.
Did it 3 times in fact. 1st time the mails lost the forms, 2nd time they were deposited with the local branch but never reached their (internal) address! 3rd time couriered = success. It's only a game but they have the bat and the ball

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.


25th Sep 2017, 23:25
It's only a game but they have the bat and the ball

Totally agree, and try being a US Citizen with a foreign address, or a US Citizen trying to do local banking business whilst living in another country, or try to deal with a US Bank from overseas by telephone - from Nambia maybe, which is probably where the call is going to anyway ? - who cheerfully tell you to pop into the nearest branch.

Ask Mrs.ExS, who has had US banks close her accounts because they refuse to work with her foreign address, and local banks refuse to deal with a US citizen close her account because they have to report EVERY transaction on a daily basis to Trump or his minions and they no longer want to be bothered.

Must go out and buy a larger mattress.

26th Sep 2017, 08:56
Rereading the form I see they want the "self certification form" duly completed and A certified cooy of my "Valid passport issued by the jurisdiction in shich I claim to be a resident.

Problem is my passport was not issued by Switzerland for which I am claiming to be resident.

Visiting their website I see that my driving license would also be acceptable, but not my valid residence/work permit.

The phone number given rings engaged, until their 6pm clising time, then it just rings and rings, no recorded message, etc.

No email address mentioned. I'll try a little longer, otherwise I'm just going to send off the completed form and a (non-certified) copy of my driving license.

Edited to add: Finally got through to a nice young man. He says that if I agree with their that I live in Switzerland I do not need to send them a copy of my passport or any other proof I'm resident here.

26th Sep 2017, 18:40
Totally agree, and try being a US Citizen with a foreign address, or a US Citizen trying to do local banking business whilst living in another country, or try to deal with a US Bank from overseas by telephone - from Nambia maybe, which is probably where the call is going to anyway ? - who cheerfully tell you to pop into the nearest branch.

Ask Mrs.ExS, who has had US banks close her accounts because they refuse to work with her foreign address, and local banks refuse to deal with a US citizen close her account because they have to report EVERY transaction on a daily basis to Trump or his minions and they no longer want to be bothered.

FATCA is Obama's baby, born in 2011 from legislation delivered to his desk for signing into law by the Democrat-majority (both House and Senate) 111th Congress.

According to Obama and that 111th Congress, your wife and every other U.S. citizen living and/or banking abroad is a (excuse the term) "FATCAt" who automatically falls under suspicion of trying to hide great amounts of wealth offshore, launder money, evade U.S. taxes, etc. Thus, the onerous reporting rules non-U.S. banks must comply with if they accept a U.S. citizen as a customer plus the foreign-holding reporting rules a U.S. citizen must comply with themselves so the IRS can cross-check the information gathered from both sources.

If they do have a foreign account living abroad, a U.S. citizen not reporting those accounts and amounts held by each through the FATCA reporting system by the yearly deadline is committing a Federal Crime in itself that can result in freezing and the seizure of the account by the U.S. government. It's a crime even if all money and investment income in/from foreign accounts is dutifully reported by them on their U.S. tax return, and all tax liabilities paid. It's a crime even though all the information about those accounts has been reported to them by the foreign bank anyway.

Everyone affected worldwide can send their FATCA "Thank You" cards to Obama and the Democrat-majority Congress.

26th Sep 2017, 22:08
Everyone affected worldwide can send their FATCA "Thank You" cards to Obama and the Democrat-majority Congress.

Thank you, but we are aware of the reasons, doesn't make Life any easier tho' and these laws only inconvenience the honest, the bad guys still go laughing all the way to the bank -except Madoff, at least he's in jail.

27th Sep 2017, 19:23
The problem isn't the banks. They would sell anything to anyone anywhere at any time. ..
Its the regulations

27th Sep 2017, 23:51
Must ask Trump to cancel them then, after all, he pulled out of the Paris Global Warming thing ? ( Just seen Al Gore carrying on again )

29th Sep 2017, 18:55
I suppose in fairness to the banks, I have to say they aren't all bad.
Yesterday, my son had a call from HSBC to tell him hi debit card has been locked and they will get a new one to him soonest. This was 12 hours before he was due to set off for a 4 day trip to Holland, including a couple of days at a motor show in Rotterdam. He is not well paid and lives more or less day to day through his card and was panic stricken. It seems the bank had spotted someone using his card details to order 1,000 worth of furniture on line, flagged it as suspicious and blocked the card immediately.
When he explained that he was now in a pickle with his imminent departure for Holland, they were very helpful. He will be allowed to use the card to withdraw cash from ATMs and when he wants to pay his bills (hotels, fuel etc), he can phone them and they will authorise each transaction. Well done HSBC!

29th Sep 2017, 21:00
Four years ago, I was recovering a six figure sum to the UK. I had a bankers draft from a HSBC branch in SE Asia for a six figure sum.

On trying to pay it into a HSBC account in the UK I had to fill in a ream of paperwork.

One question was, 'what was the proceeds of the money'. I answered, untruthfully, ' Sale of crystal meth laboratory'.

The transfer went through ok.

29th Sep 2017, 23:05
Same happened to me by letter "We believe that you may be living in France", a week after changing my account address on t'internet.

Called up NW to be told "it's all Obama's fault, all the information is being passed to the US under the above directive.. Never been a US citizen or likely to be.

Big brother has nothing on these people.


30th Sep 2017, 09:09
I do see how the bank's speedy action kept your Son out of a pickle. But thinking about it how can they allow someone to use his card details on the internet, and then block all transactions on the card. Credit Card security sucks, it really does.

Why we don't see more tools such as Apple Pay, where the retailer never sees or knows my card details. When I buy something online they know the transaction is legitimate and they will get their money. Where as I don't have the worry of being blocked because someone has seen my credit card. I'm not saying Apple Pay is the be-all and end-all, it's just a product I'm familiar with. Why my bank can't offer something similar I don't know.

1st Oct 2017, 16:02
About three months ago, one of the two banks in our village closed down.
The remaining bank is scheduled to close in November, leaving the Post Office as the only 'bank'.
My pension is paid into a Post Office account (that was instigated by the DWP).
Now the DWP has written to me wanting to withdraw the Post Office account, and offering to pay the pension directly 'into my bank'.
They point out that most banks can be accessed from Post Offices . . . :ugh:

1st Oct 2017, 16:26
ExXB: It looks as if the bank didn't allow the use of his details on the internet. Presumably, the seller took the details but when they were submitted to the bank it would have failed the security code check and the bank would have recognised that his regular spending goes on all things motor related but he has never bought furniture. So, overall with HSBC I have found banking security to be pretty good. A few years ago, in addition to the usual European destinations, I advised the bank I would be travelling to the Middle East and had Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar added. A couple of months later, I decided to travel home via Dubai and humiliated myself when trying to buy some fags in the duty free! A phone call fixed it though.

2nd Oct 2017, 06:59
KelvinD. My question is why they blocked your son’s card? An innocent bystander by all accounts.

Reminds me of the time fratwest bounced a bank transfer we made on line to a travel agent saying it looked suspicious. But they would neither call us nor send an e-mail/text as we “didn’t live in the UK. They sent us a letter which took four days. After we called them and verified the payment was intended, we went back on-line and made the payment again. The bounced it again and sent us a letter.

2nd Oct 2017, 08:08
I think the blocking of his card was standard practice but they also phoned my son immediately to inform him. It looks as if you have had an experience similar to one my brother experienced when trying to settle a hotel bill in Copenhagen a couple of years ago. The bank blocked his card, which had more than plenty of funds and didn't think to notify him. He paid by credit card but they had put a limit on that; instead of his usual 10K they allowed only 700. This was fixed by having the hotel make 2 transactions and they got away with that. When he got back to the UK, he visited his bank and asked what they thought they were playing at and was given some excuse about suspicious activity but when he said "fair enough, understandable, but why did you not inform me"?, no answer.
A few months later he and I were driving to Copenhagen and he called the bank to tell them to add France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and possibly Norway & Sweden the bank said they can't do that as the form has only space for 5 named countries. But, they assured him, there is no need as they all come under Europe. He challenged this, saying the UK is also "under Europe" so how would they explain this. They couldn't!

Gertrude the Wombat
2nd Oct 2017, 08:30
I think the blocking of his card was standard practice but they also phoned my son immediately to inform him.
My credit card company typically allows the transaction but phones me to confirm it was genuine. Which on several occasions has happened whilst I'm still at the till completing the transaction, ie the (automated, obviously) phone call arrived within seconds. Slightly embarrassing, perhaps, although less so than a declined card.

But sometimes the phone call has been to verify transactions I know nothing about, in which case I hold on until a human comes onto the line. "I don't know anything about these transactions, but my wife is out shopping at the moment with her card" usually gets them to say "OK, fine, no problem".