From time to time, I have used the hospitality of this page to criticise my bank. This has so far been done in a spirit of constructive friendship. We have been together for some time, had our ups and downs but stayed together. There is at the moment no other bank in my life, but I am wondering whether the time has come to consider a trial separation, coupled with some on-line speed dating with other potential partners.
Our troubles were briefly in the public domain earlier this year when my bank decided to close my Euro account. This was not an act of personal spite; they closed everyone else’s at the same time. The speeches I had made about the City of London needing to compete on the world stage in global financial markets had clearly fallen on deaf ears and they decided to stick with their comfort blanket.
They closed my Euro account and after sending the small balance to someone else, they eventually credited it to my current account. (This decision actually helped the country; at a time when most other people were selling sterling and buying Euros, they were doing the opposite.)
They have now written to me about my High Interest Account. My high interest account earns 1%. As long as it does not have too much money in it. If I exceed £2500 because I want them to have more money to lend to hard-pressed customers, the rate falls to .1% . They have written to me saying that as from December 1st, my high interest account will in future pay no interest. So be it, but I suggest they call it something else.
I think the trouble began when I discovered there were three people in the marriage. Originally, there was me and the Bank of Scotland. In June 2001, Halifax and Bank of Scotland announced that they would merge. There was talk of synergy and a new force in banking. Eight years later, there is still financial apartheid. If you try to pay a cheque into a Bank of Scotland account in a machine in a branch of the Halifax, your card is rejected and you have to join the queue. If you log on to a Bank of Scotland website and try to access a new Halifax account, a sign saying “Incorrect Brand” flashes up, and you have to log on again.
So I have done what I advise constituents to do when they tell me of their personal problems.
I have drawn up a list and am considering an appointment with a relationship counsellor.