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This is a question Banks

Your Ginger Fuhrer froths, "I hate my bank. Not because of debt or anything but because I hate being sold to - possibly pathologically so - and everytime I speak to them they try and sell me services. Gold cards, isas, insurance, you know the crap. It drives me insane. I ALREADY BANK WITH YOU. STOP IT. YOU MAKE ME FRIGHTED TO DO MY NORMAL BANKING. I'm angry even thinking about them."

So, tell us your banking stories of woe.

No doubt at least one of you has shagged in the vault, shat on a counter or thrown up in a cash machine. Or something

(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 13:15)
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I'm a banker, and I make absolutely no apologies (you're not paying my salary)
Pour your scorn *here*, but before you do consider the facts...contained from the coal face, in the replies.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 3:48, 19 replies)
1. For those of you bitching that you were allowed to get into debt; take a step back from the brink there, mouth-breather, and think about your statements in the cold-hard light of day. Who put a gun to your head and told you to take the money?

2. Moaning about your card having been stopped when you were in Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone or someplace. How the heck did your bank know you were going there, and would you rather than your bank had let some random potentially get away with your cash (and, FYI, you're not getting it back until investigations are concluded - potentially umpteen weeks / months down the line)? I'd love to spend a load of time explaining how it works in detail but if you want it - check this out: www.nd.com/resources/smartsoft.html

3. (Personal bugbear, coming up) - the "credit crunch" and the associated failures of Northern Rock and others. First, it wasn't a credit crunch so much as a liquidity crunch (not that it matters to the mouth-breathing, burger flipping, shelf-stacking community).

4. "Oh, you bankers are so clever, you didn't see it coming?" Wrong. A small number of us published it in 2004/05 and one of my friends was so hacked off that we were being ignored - he quit and went to work for HSBC who, oddly enough, haven't had nearly the amount of BS of others. Admittedly, Iceland took us all by surprise - to such an extent that when the long weekend took place where Iceland was quietly fcuked over most of us who are quants (go look it up) were thinking ... oh yeah...


If you feel the need to blame someone and you're looking for someplace where the blame REALLY lies, check out the ratings agencies.

(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 3:49, closed)
My 2 cents
My biggest problems i have with the banks are

a) the charges they apply for going over your limit. Yes one should not abuse their account in that way and the banks should not have to pay for that however it does not cost £20-35 to send out a letter. To me that is theft. £2.50 is fine i.e. costs.

b) when staff are clueless and unhelpful. Although that is not banks but customer services. When you explain something and the common sense thing to do is ignored "because of procedure".

As for the current climate. On the metro a banker pointed out that bonuses were because they work long hard hours. Someone else pointed out they were a teacher and that means very long hours and lots of stress but they don't get bonuses. So a moot point. Someone else also pointed out that after 8 hours you start to get tired and make bad calls. So although i under bonus related paid and that pressure can be positive. I personally believe that the UK has an observe working culture when people have a prescribed level of contracted hours which are ignored but never in writing "oh you can go home and not work late. You know your performance review is coming up soon" It is bullying. I digress
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 4:51, closed)
" On the metro a banker pointed out that bonuses were because they work long hard hours. Someone else pointed out they were a teacher and that means very long hours and lots of stress but they don't get bonuses. So a moot point. "

Teachers don't make money for anyone else and have no method on which to base a bonus structure, and the banks are getting huge amounts of profit so what is wrong with them spreading it amongst their staff who do well by whatever quotient they are marked? Would you prefer the banks to just keep the extra money? No you'd be complaining about their higher profit margins.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 11:35, closed)
Except when the banks lose money, it is ultimately recharged to the customer through charges, or more recently the taxpayer. The very same people gaining the bonuses are using YOUR and MY money to do it. Not our physical pennies, but our collective ones you understand.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 12:03, closed)
yes, but they're a business, they only have our money because we give it to them (also because Gordon Brown.... texture like sun, had the stupid idea to give them FREE MONEH! with little control) and you have to remember that the bank is made up of lots of departments. If your company's Sales dept made a tits up that you in your dept had nothing to do with, would you be happy to get a pay cut? No, it wasn't your fault. Not every bank worker had a hand in the Great Fuck Up (I prefer this to 'the Credit Crunch') so why should they all be punished for it?
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 12:33, closed)
"so why should they all be punished for it?"

Because we, as their customers, are being punished for it.

*I* didn't have anything to do with the Great Fuck Up, but am enjoying lower returns on my savings and investments because of it. Because of the Great Fuck Up, many companies are finding it tough to continue doing business at all. Many more are shedding employees. This isn't wholly the fault of the banks, but don't be misled - they had a huge part in it.

If the business is struggling enough to require to be bailed out by the government, what justification is there for giving anyone bonuses? That money could pay of part of the debt, or be reinvested sensibly to pay off more at a later date.

I'm not against people being paid (and thus rewarded) for doing their job. But for struggling organisations to give very hefty bonuses at a time when they are in significant debt, and charging their customers through the nose for loans and credit cards which are continually pushed at them is somewhat distasteful.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 13:18, closed)
I thought alot of places had stopped bonuses for most workers, apart from where they are owed them by contract. You have to remember that alot of these people are on not much above minimum wage and depend on the bonuses to get a livable wage.

The main culprits (besides the people taking loans they can't afford and the min-wage workers approving said loans) are speculators. These are the people who have caused the large number of problems and the failure of many companies - including my previous employer an Investment Management company. These are the people that deserve the vitriol, not the standard bank worker. Bankers deserve vitriol for totally different reasons - giant knotted ties with pink shirts being one.

Incidently I am very pissed off with the 0.5% AER I'm getting on my ISA (down from 7% when I started it) and have nothing but hatred for the people who are really to blame for the economy. ie speculators and people lending more than they can repay. Really I should put my money into premium bonds as there is the whole lottery thing to it which might net me some moneh! and the ISA interest is no longer paying for my nights out.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 13:44, closed)
The banks choose to underpay their staff in the first place, and the staff in turn agree a bonus structure based on its success. The banks are not currently succeeding.

It is *not* a good thing that people depend on bonuses, but that isn't anything in favour of the banking system - it is just more demonstrative of how broken it is.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 17:42, closed)
Minimum wage:
"You have to remember that alot of these people are on not much above minimum wage"
What the fuck, not much ABOVE the minimum wage?

I spent three years living ON the minimum wage. It's perfectly feasible. No one *needs* a bonus, that's why it's called a bonus. It's extra. It shouldn't be considered part of your normal salary or expected as part of your income.
(, Mon 20 Jul 2009, 16:47, closed)
I understand your points, but they are not true most of the time.

....when a card company (a card that has a small limit for emergencies, and has hardly ever been used), sends you a letter telling you that your limit is being raised by nearly 600%, and all you have to do if you don't want it raised is to phone them, firstly ignores the instruction on the phone, then two letters to the same effect and just raises it anyway - they're NOT throwing it at you?

What of time(x2) when firstly after having infomed the bank that I will be in the US for two weeks, then cancel the card due to 'unusual activity' in a foreign country? Or the time when they did the exact same thing in France, 3 days after being informed that I will be in France for a week?

After selling my house I had a very large amount of money that needed somewhere for a home - I looked at the Icelandic banks as the return looked good - strangly, after researching it for, oh, 10 minutes, I realised that it wasn't that good a bet - there was no substance to any of them; so I kept my dosh in a safe at home instead.

How is it that I could see that coming, and yet people who supposedly know money could not?
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 9:14, closed)
You sir, are a fool.

I have insufficiency of data - and wouldn't even pretend to go looking - for the specific examples that you allege, but:

1. 600% credit limit increases - I agree, that's downright ridiculous unless there was a reason that the limit was artificially low initially. Who the hell told you to *spend* it? Anyway; if your conspiracy theory is to have credence you seem to be suggesting banks want defaults so that we can bitch and moan about feckless, untrustworthy borrowers?

2. Failure on fraud detection - no idea, although I'm assuming that you've no idea what a neural network is or the maths behind it. It has to be said however that if you *did* ring them and told them you'd be away between dates x and y in country Z it wasn't recorded properly by non-machine code interface.

3. Your spare equity that wasn't planted in Iceland. Good for you. I'm assuming that the numbers involved weren't measureable in tens of millions? The kinds of numbers we are entrusted with rely on ratings agencies - if you want to have a bitch and stitch session about the fecklessness of bankers, go talk to your MP about them.

I am not suggesting that those who work in banking haven't monumentally fucked up on occasion but if consumers are going to suggest that their actions in defaulting (note: not typically a passive activity in my experience of the data) are the blame of the banks - well, I'm sorry, but you're living in cloud-fucking-cuckoo land.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 12:56, closed)
Foreign country one..
Firstly, most banks TV advertising (espeially at this time of year) centres upon how 'International' they are and how you can use your card in over 6,000,000 countries, blah blah blah. Not if they cancel it you can't.

Secondly, as I said in my own post - why not give the holder a call and ask 'Are you in X country' at the moment? Rather than yet again I have to do the work that I effectively pay them for (by way of interest on money in my account and various charges...)

I have to agree, the public are using the whole credit crunch as a means to deny responsibility for overspending and irresponsible borrowing - myself included sadly...
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 9:58, closed)
I'm sorry but you have absolutely no legs to stand on to complain about customers.
It's quite galling that you would even try.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 12:33, closed)
I'm not so sure...
A lot of people do a LOT of stupid things on both sides of the cashier's counter. The customer is most certainly NOT always right, and neither are the companies providing services to them. Admittely there are some people out there who will take pleasure in causing loss or inconvenience to others, but in general I find most people will do the best they can most of the time :-)

I've had some utterly howling fuckups with my finances in my short but colourful life, 99% of them have been my fault and will take many years yet to put right! In any customer service job (and most of them are, no matter how you dress it up) you're going to eventually tire of the fuckwits who fail at life and blame you for their lack of competence.

Now admittedly I have a shit job, which involves me mostly sitting/standing around being looked down on by people who can't even tell the signature box from the magnetic strip on a card, but the general public, by and large, are complete idiots. Even me, I've been THAT idiot more than once, and some of my financial judgement calls in the past make me cringe now. I do have quite a lot of sympathy for lowly bank staff having to deal with such a vast number of completely clueless people. Fair play. I couldn't do that job, and if I had to, I would probably go stark raving face-shitting mad.

I can't and won't try to defend the more dodgy banking practices that seem to deliberately put people at risk, but seriously, consumers in general need to wake the fuck up and actually pay attention to their surroundings and the smallprint. At least half of the people I serve couldn't find their arse with both hands and a TomTom.

Anyone who genuinely believes they as a customer are always right is living in a fantasy land and quite frankly needs a good slap.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 15:58, closed)
But then...
The following conversation happened in the Putney branch of Lloyds in June 2008.

Me: Hello - I'm taking an extended trip to [country] and just wanted you to know so that you don't stop my card if you see a lot of activity there.

Bank Person: Sorry, we don't record that sort of information any more.

Me: Huh? So you might stop my card anyway?

Bank Person: Yes, if it trips the security computer. We used to record things like that, but now it is just up to the computer.

Me: Have you any idea how pissed off I will be if you refuse me a transaction in [country] even though I have come here to report in person that I will be there for a while?

Bank Person: Computer says no....

This is why we hate banks.
(, Mon 20 Jul 2009, 12:55, closed)
I think you should change your username to
"Mr Grumpy" ;o)
(, Mon 20 Jul 2009, 1:06, closed)
Why did banks lend money
To people that didn't have the ability to pay you back?

Also, who the fuck thought up derivatives? Sounds like the stupidest system I've ever heard of.
(, Mon 20 Jul 2009, 5:37, closed)
Were thought up in ancient Babylon. The king wrote what were effectively wheat futures to guarantee a set price for the crops his farmers grew. Derivatives are a smoothing mechanism to help businesses plan future expenditure, but in order for them to work you have to have speculators to take opposing positions. Like knives they are not inherently a bad thing and can do much good, but if you don't control how you use them you can get a nasty cut.

While MrHappy's post makes him sound like a stereotypical City banker, his comments about the ratings agencies hint at how that control breaks down.

These agencies are trusted entities and a key part of the regulatory system. Their role depends on their reputation for absolute impartialality, probity and competence. Unfortunately they failed by massively overstating the quality of certain credit derivatives. This allowed and encouraged the banks to take up lots and lots of them while thinking that the risk was far less than it actually was. For example, one agency's system for mortgage derivatives was not capable of modelling a fall in house prices; it assumed they would always rise. When house prices fell, the mortgage backed securities performed in a way totally contrary to the expectations set by the rating agencies and the banks began to lose far more money than their risk budgets - built on the agencies' ratings - predicted.

The agencies' failure was one of the largest and most important links in the very complex chain that led to the 'massive fuck up' or 'credit crunch' or whatever you want to call it.

Edit: Changed "unpleasant individual" to "stereotypical banker"; it's not right to make a call on one post by MrHappy even though this is the internet.
(, Mon 20 Jul 2009, 11:31, closed)
If you work for one of the banks that have been part nationalised
Yes, I am paying your salary
(, Mon 20 Jul 2009, 12:16, closed)

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