need an account

Back in the 80’s I use to work in the Bank ,which shall be nameless for now,  but in our time our mission was one thing- making the customer happy. We did not have the pleasures of computers or instant balances or electronically matching signatures. We had to manually check for everything, balance on account which was on a mass of sheets we fondly referred to as ‘balance sheet’: we had the ability to remember signatures , especially from those check writers who paid hundreds of people, usually the construction  workers and if we did not recognize it , we had to manually check on signature cards that was filed in a cabinet miles away from your cashier post.

A Friday in the bank was  not a scene from Disney with everyone having a jolly old time. The 600 sq feet of bank hall, designed to accommodate no more than 80 people at any one time , had close to 200 scruffy looking, sun burnt, soiled stained, angry looking men just waiting hungrily to encash their checks. In those days those workers worked to live. They needed their cash to spend on family or pleasure so we had to ensure the process was free from banking bureaucracy, forget the ID required, excuse the signature as most could not sign their names anyway and just get them out the door in the quickest possible time.

It was a pleasure for my team of cashiers. We would have mini competitions to see who would cash the fastest amount of heavily scented construction worker checks, not because of the rather pungent smell, but to see who would give the fastest service. We would know the winner when the construction workers all decide which cashier would get their checks to cash, as he was the one that was moving fastest.

In essence our team did not like lines. Lines meant a slow productive day, it meant slow cashiers , it meant you could not do your job efficiently, it meant the supervisors were watching whose line was moving the slowest, a line item you would see on your upcoming evaluation.

bank that cares


But have you been to the bank lately? It is as if the mode is dead slow bordering on STOP! No matter the day expect to spend the minimum of 30 minutes in a line at the teller that seems to take forever to count a single $100 bill!  In our days we had cashiers who was there to cash checks only. Depending on the day we would have 2 cashiers to do just lodgements or deposits. Now everybody does everything so you sit and wait in a line that moves slower than a turtle to encash one check. These days you have a card to swipe. Our days each customer had a book to manually check and record the transaction. And still we moved faster than the fastest cashier they currently have, if you could identify that person at all!

My point is service in banking is atrocious, the bottom of the barrel. The gimmick they all employ in their modern day version of  customer service is to have a bunch of  chairs for senior citizens to sit, bravo, and for the younguns , WATCH TV!  You know you are in for a long ride when you open the door and you see 10 people waiting in line and you say to yourself …My God, I only have 10 minutes . I will be fired if I stay here!.

Have you ever tried to speak to a banking agent whenever they decide to answer the telephone? Firstly when you actually get through to the bank you are having a good day. Your first choice of touch this and touch that menu is designed to get you confused so you forget what you were calling for in the first place. But when they do answer it is as if you are speaking to a wall, hello are you LISTENING to me? They NEVER listen. They are all TONE deaf and people deficient. They don’t know how to speak to an actual PERSON as the present millennials are all consumed in texting, whatsapping and pinging. And the banks don’t seem to care! They hire these over educated, over qualified nitwitts to surf the net. You only see a supervisor when you actually threaten to go see the manager and when you see these bulldogs they have the same message:

“I am sorry sir, but our policies state…..”

'We're happy to explain our fee structure to you as long as you understand that it will incur a fee.'

Yes those policies and laws that they have to maintain. To hell with your needs, as long as the bank’s policies are met, you have to pay. And charge they do. Little signs all over the banks, charge to cash a ‘foreign’ or another bank’s check, charge to get you balance, charge to get a statement on a single piece of paper, charge to hold you money in the bank, charge for keeping your balance at a minimum, charge to your credit card, charge to use your debit card.  Soon you will be charged to walk into the bank and oh yes that TV you are watching it will be a $1 per month !

Going to he bank these days is like going to your court  trial. It lasts forever and the outcome not on your side. If you think I am joking read this transcript of a customer and a nameless bank in Jamaica :

A lady died this past January, and the Nameless Bank billed her for February and March  for their annual service charges on her credit card, and then added late  fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00, now  is somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to the Nameless Bank

 Family Member: ‘I am calling to tell you that she died in January.

Nameless Bank: ‘The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.’

Family Member: ‘Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.

Nameless Bank: ‘Since it is two months past due, it already has been..’

Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?’

Nameless Bank PAC: ‘Either report her account to the  frauds division or report her to The credit bureau, maybe both!’

Family Member: ‘Do you think God will be mad at her?’

Nameless Bank: ‘Excuse me?’

Family Member: ‘Did you just get what I was telling you . . . The part about her Being dead?’

Nameless Bank: ‘Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor.’

Supervisor gets on the phone:

Family Member: ‘I’m calling to tell you, she died in January.

Nameless Bank ‘The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.’

Family Member: ‘You mean you want to collect from her estate?’

Nameless Bank: (Stammer) ‘Are you her lawyer?’

Family Member: ‘No, I’m her great nephew.’ (Lawyer info  given)

Nameless Bank: ‘Could you fax us a certificate of death?’

Family Member: ‘Sure.’ ( fax number is given ) After they get the fax:

Nameless Bank: ‘Our system just isn’t set up for death. I don’t know what more I Can do to help.

Family Member: ‘Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing Her. I don’t think she will care.’

Nameless Bank: ‘Well, the late fees and charges do still apply.’

Family Member: ‘Would you like her new billing address?’

Nameless Bank: ‘That might help.’

Family Member: ‘ Dovecot  Memorial Park, #1249 , St. Johns Road,, Spanish Town,

Nameless Bank: ‘Sir, that’s a cemetery!’

Family Member: ‘Well, what the F—- do you do with dead people on your planet?’…….

Friends, I rest my case. Hope you have a great day and beware of tomorrow . It’s Black Friday in the banks.

© 2014. Paul Tomlinson

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