The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If You Ever Wanted To Know How Little Your Bank Thinks Of You …
March 13, 2013, 6:13 am
Filed under: Comment

I have a problem with a lot of banks.

Either it’s their advertising makes me ill, or it’s their service, thought process or rules.

That said, there is one bank that I save most of my anger for, and that is HSBC.

Originally, it was because their advertising made me angry, their service [or lack of] made me furious and their ethics made me laugh … however despite seemingly handing out my credit card information to every internet scammer in internetville, they have gone and done something recently, that has literally trumped all their previous misdeeds and made me stare in amazement.

A couple of days ago, I received an SMS from them that said this:

OK, so if we put aside the fact they invaded my life with an SMS … pushing a referral scheme is not that bad an idea.

When we had cynic, we did a similar thing and it worked a treat, however the reason it worked a treat was:

1. We were good.
2. Clients liked us.
3. We offered them a better incentive that a 10RMB Amazon voucher.




Apart from the fact 10RMB is £1.02, which means you could buy approximately nothing unless you referred about 8000 people to HSBC bank, the fact is Amazon China has less range than a Status Quo album.

Seriously, do they really think we’re that fucking cheap and nasty to sell a totally incompetent financial organization to our friends and family for a voucher we couldn’t possibly use.

Maybe if they upped it to $1000, I’d be sending them my entire Facebook friends list, but for 10RMB … I wouldn’t even bother sending them Kevin Robert’s information.

OK, so it could be argued this referral scheme has more ‘honour’ to the one we used at cynic, because our scheme offered overly generous benefits to clients who introduced us to other companies [depending on whether a referral resulted in a meeting or business, we would reduce their monthly retainer fee by a set amount for a set duration] … but that’s by-the-by, because the real news is there’s a bank that spends shitloads of money telling the World they’re experts in understanding their customers needs, then ‘demonstrates’ this understanding by sending unsolicited SMS to their customers in the belief they’ll happily volunteer the names & contact details of their friends and family for a 10RMB Amazon voucher that, in all interests, they’ll never be able to use.

Seriously, HSBC are incredibly out-of-touch, arrogant or utterly, utterly stupid.

The only reason I don’t change banks is because I’m literally intrigued to know what they’ll do next because at this rate, they’ll soon be rivaling NOKIA for the title of ‘mainstream brand who imploded in the shortest period of time’.

43 Comments so far
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It’s a bank. They don’t do fair. Accept it and move on Rob.

Comment by DH

You didn’t mention the postal charges Amazon tries to get away with. That would be more than 10RMB alone. Disappointed that you missed such an obvious point Rob. Maybe all these holidays have screwed with your mind. Or you’re just old.

Comment by DH

That’s a good point, I hadn’t thought of that. That makes the whole thing even worse.

Comment by Rob

As you said, a referral scheme is good business. What isn’t is a referral scheme that doesn’t make people want to refer anyone.

In addition, to paraphrase one of your earlier posts, how would someone be sure this SMS genuinely comes from HSBC?

It all feels like HSBC have lost the plot which makes it even more surprising that they’ve just resigned their global contract with JWT.

Comment by Pete

By the way Rob, HSBC didnt breach their code of ethics, they knowingly breached the law. They shouldn’t be allowed to trade, let alone send terrible referral SMS’s.

Comment by Pete

Look at you getting all high and mighty. You’re right though, it’s outrageous that they got away with that action … almost as outrageous as those tobacco execs who swore they didn’t know cigarettes were dangerous.

Comment by Rob

Currently HSBC appear like a runaway train. Someone there should be telling the marketing department to stop all they are doing, take a deep breath and remember their role, purpose and behaviour. It won’t happen of course because people are too busy justifying their job, hiding or making lots of money from them, but it should.

Comment by George

It’s like the Emperors new clothes isn’t it. Though to be fair, even if someone did tell them – would their ego and arrogance actually let them hear it?

Comment by Rob

The reason HSBC think offering 10RMB for a lead is a good idea is because they would give their children away for 1RMB if it led to a decent contact. In their mind, they’re offering 10 times the going rate.

Comment by Bazza

I’m with you. Banks still treat us like idiots stuck in the foetal obeisance of the 1950s. What I reckon has happened here is that some spotty junior marketing exec in London has had a bright idea for a referral scheme paying UK customers £10 (which isn’t amazing but I wouldn’t sneeze at £10 just for telling someone about a savings account).

He then sold his boss a global angle (“ran global campaigns” looks good on his CV). Said twat doesn’t realise that 10 RMB is worth approximately f*** all or that not all Yankee brands that we take for granted have translated to China. I must admit I was not aware Amazon was pants in China, but before getting into bed with another company, isn’t it basic procedure to check your partner out first?

Comment by Adam

I’m betting Rob calls amazon china pants because they don’t sell queen cds or pointless tech shit. To normal people, this makes them shopping gods.

Comment by Billy Whizz


Comment by DH

Hi Adam – good to have you on here.

Not sure if banks are stuck in the 50’s because as far as I know, they were actually quite good back then … but I do get what you mean.

Arrogant. Insolent. Petulant. Viewing society as walking wallets not customers who, if treated properly, could be worth more to them than they are now.

I think the financial industry view their customers like one massive ponzy scheme – with the role being ‘get as many suckers as possible, before the whole house of cards falls down’.

The opportunity for a bank to do things properly – and profit massively from it – is huge. Maybe when one of them gets their nose out of the gravy train, they’ll see it.

Comment by Rob

What’s the difference between banks and a bucket of shit.

The bucket.

I’m here all week.

Comment by Billy Whizz

ive been keeping a low profile since my daughters dramas because quite fucking frankly, there are more important things to do in my life than comment on this fucking blog. but this post has fired up the anger because of all the fucking banks out there, hsbc is the most deserving of a hot fucking poker slid slowly up their ass.

forget the shit advertising from jwt. forget they want to get rid of the best end line in adland for fucking decades. forget all the bullshit referral bollocks they come out with. they are corrupt bastards. not in a “all banks are corrupt” kind of way, but legally fucking corrupt and all they get is a fucking smack on the wrist and a fine, leaving them to go about their business of corruption like nothing fucking has happened.

i guess i sholudnt be fucking surprised when the banks ethics committee is run by fucking banks but they make me fucking sick and the only reason i dont want them to crash and burn is because everyday people would get even more fucked over by them.

i like this post campbell. not for the content which is your usual bollocks, but because it reminds us all that banks dont give a fuck about us. why should they? they dont fucking need us because the whole fucking financial system is about moving a load of “in theory” money from peter to paul and then back to fucking peter again.

trusting a bank to do good by you is like trusting a pedo to babysit.

Comment by andy@cynic

Andy’s back. We’re saved.

Comment by Billy Whizz

no im not fucking back. im watching and tinkering, but im not fucking back.

Comment by andy@cynic

Andy’s occasionally back. We’re sometimes saved.

Comment by Billy Whizz

“HSBC is the most deserving of a hot fucking poker slid slowly up their ass.”

Trust me Andy, you’re back, regardless of it being part-time or full-time.

Comment by Pete

And your last paragraph is on the money.

Comment by Pete

of course it fucking is. i might not be commenting as much but that doesnt mean it stops being genius. now let me get on with my fucking life before i slip back in to blog comment godfather.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

The more money you have, the less punished you will be. Unless you steal from others with money.

Watch Bank of Dave – it shows you how utterly useless and pointless the FSA is.

Not sure what the dramas were, but hope all is well, good to see you back Andy.

I’m still irritated by removing the end line too. Was a brilliant brilliant line.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Maybe someone could ‘own’ credible referrals…?!

Aaaaanyway. The size of the offer makes it ridiculous.
I don’t expect any better from most banks though.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You know you’ve hit a raw nerve when you turn on your computer and find 20 reasonably on topic comments waiting for you.

It’s even drawn Andy out of his semi-blog commenting retirement … which is the biggest accolade there is, well if you can forget that it wasn’t all that long ago that he’d react like a mad man to anything I wrote, not just bank diatribes.

Comment by Rob

Didn’t you once refer a friend to a hotel loyalty scheme for nothing, just so you could enjoy seeing them get a constant barrage of calls, mail and hassle?

Comment by Bazza

No Bazza, a friend did it to me.

See, karma does exist doesn’t it.

Comment by Rob

Not enough.

Comment by Bazza

Is that comment aimed at me or banks?

I’m hoping the latter. I fear it’s the former.

Comment by Rob

Don’t get me started – If i were to believe the HSBC Premier Account ads where the guy moves to Brazil with his family and has his cards, accounts and cheque book waiting for him when he gets off the plane I’d have been a happy girl…..Two years on and i’m still waiting for either to be issued! After 3 months of waiting I took all my money out of HSBC and am now racking up Premier Account fees for not having minimum relationship balance.

They occasionally call to tell me I’m overdrawn because my fees are still being charged but the conversation usually winds to a halt when i point out i don’t have any cards or cheque books and they have false adverstising.

Comment by Charley

Oh I feel your pain.

I recently got called and told our balance didn’t mean the minimum requirement for our Premier account.

When I questioned this, they said that while our joint account had more than enough cash in it, our individual accounts didn’t.

When I pointed out our individual accounts were linked to our joint account and when we signed up they told us that as long as the overall balance met the requirement [rather than the linked accounts] it would be fine.

On hearing this, they tried to back pedal … which is why I’m in the process of closing them down because quite frankly, I don’t know what I’m getting for my monthly fees because it sure as hell isn’t what they said I would and it sure as hell isn’t why I signed up with them in the first place.

Comment by Rob


Comment by DH

I do hope someone at HSBC reads this. I doubt it would make the slightest difference to how they behave, but it might sting a little.

Comment by Lee Hill

Hopefully in their eyes.

Comment by Rob

What’s even worse is that they own first direct who are okay
Which proves they could be good if they could be bothered
Even words they reward referrals with £50 and new customers with £100 but not if the switch is from HSBC
Even more devilish than media arts because at HSBC know they’re evil and don’t care
Media arts is like Alan partridge it’s the only one to take itself seriously

Comment by Northern

I helped launch First Direct, but that was when they were owned by [I think] The Pru … if it was today, something tells me they’d end up sounding more like Enron.

Comment by Rob

BTW, your grammar is back to it’s awful best.

BTW II … I’m just about to book my flights to Korea. You’re doomed.

Comment by Rob

I cannot type on Iphones. Fact

Comment by northern

Please don’t blame the technology.

Comment by Bazza

Can the iphone still be classed as technology? It’s offered nothing new for years.

(Smiley face)

Comment by DH


Comment by Bazza


Comment by Billy Whizz

Yep, this never happened when I had a Blackberry

Comment by northern

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