30 September 2012

HSBC- you are out of credit

Dear HSBC,
In 1984, when I was 17, my Mother took me into the local branch of our Midland Bank where I was introduced to the manager and I opened my first bank account. Twenty-eight years later I still have that account. I have used it through my poverty stricken student days, when the manager realised that I was perhaps a reasonable investment, into my early working days when I was struggling to repay my debts to a time now, when I am, quite frankly pretty well off. Through all this time my account has been with the same branch in North Wales in the market town where I grew up. We have a history together and you have been a significant part of my life.

Ten years ago when I went to work in live and work in Norway, I discovered that the self-styled “Worlds local bank” doesn't   actually have any branches in Norway. So I went into the branch, meet the manager and explained that I would keep the account open but I was going to need a bank in Norway. The branch were very understanding and they urged me to come back, should I ever return to the UK.
Which I did in 2011 when  I moved to Aberdeen. One of the first things I did was to transfer a load of money into my UK account and starting using it again. So far so good. Then I got married and I insisted that my wife and I had our joint account for paying household bills with HSBC, despite her similarly long affiliation with one of your competitors. 

I am truly mortified by the changes that have taken place in the last ten years. You have replaced a functioning system based around personal relationships and mutual respect with a bunch of irritating drones who are simultaneously annoying and stupid at the same time. In the year since I have been back I have had 6 or 7 meetings with your representatives and they have all been extremely depressing and highly stressful. Worse still I have only achieved less 30% of what I set out to.  I walked out of the last meeting in disgust because an exceedingly patronising woman pushed one button too many.

So now I am moving on, If you ant to know why, here are a few tips for you 
1. Calling yourself the World's local bank when you don't have offices in Norway is a lie. No big deal but starting out with dishonesty is not a good think
2. Outsourcing all your telephone banking to a sweat shop in Mumbai (or where-ever) might make you feel more international but it isn't good for business
3. A big shinny hi-tec office on Union Street does not replace having staff that actually know and respect costumers
4. A bunch of arrogant, patronising, smarmy graduates are no substitute for staff you have worked their way up through the system
5. Swapping skilled people with the ability to make decisions for a bunch of brainless drones following a rigid  work process may be cheaper but ultimately it is very poor for business

I am very happy to be in a position where I don't need you at all. Twenty eight years is a long history, its over half my life, and it buys a lot of brand loyalty  However you have just exceeded your credit limit and I am sorry to say that I will be terminating your account with me.

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