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

Banks Are More Parochial Than A Bloke From Wollongong Who Thinks Going To Sydney Is Like Visiting The Moon …
August 7, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

A long time ago – when I was living in Singapore – I tried to buy a house in Sydney.

That might sound difficult, but it wasn’t really.

We already had the finance in place and had organised all the relevant inspections to be done within days of it being listed, so even though we only ever saw the house on the internet, we felt happy enough to go ahead and make an offer.

Better yet, it was accepted. Result.

So now it came to transferring the money and because my Australian bank, ANZ, had ‘internet transfer limit restrictions’, we worked out the best way to do it was send a cheque.

Now I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t written a cheque in decades so I rang the bank to check whether I signed my cheques R. Campbell or Robert Campbell.

Please note I didn’t want to know what the signature was [that wouldn’t have changed] but I couldn’t remember how I signed them and I was wary of sending 2 cheques because [1] it was a huge amount of money and [2] I didn’t trust them enough to not cash both of them and put me into mountains of debt.

So I rang the bank and they put me on to their ‘help line’ who told me,

“There is no one here that will help you.”

That was it, basically a big fat no followed by a please go away.

No offer of help … no suggestions how to get round it … no nothing.

And all from a bank that say’s, ‘We Live In Your World’.


And so do you know what I had to do?

I had to fly to Sydney … go into the branch with my passport so I could check my signature … then write a cheque for the deposit and hand it right back to them.

This was a bank I had been with for 10 years … a bank I’d always had a good credit rating with … a bank that had constantly harassed me to help with my finances and investments and yet they couldn’t be arsed to lift a finger to help their customer, despite knowing he was buying a house and was living in Singapore.

I say all this because I recently read a story about another dissatisfied bank customer who lived overseas.

Except this one banked with my favourite hated financial institution, HSBC.

You know, the ones who claim to be the World’s Local Bank.

This poor sod also had to fly 16,000kms to get his hands ON HIS OWN MONEY, except in his case … it wasn’t to buy a house, it was just so he could use his bloody ATM card.

I am fed up of banks.

They don’t help.

They don’t care.

They don’t want to pay you any interest.

All they want to do is find as many ways as possible to frustrate you from getting your hands on your money, so they can use it to invest in things that will make them more money. And even when they do ‘supposedly’ care, you’re pretty sure that it’s so they can get you to give them more, so they can invest it in schemes that pay them loads and lose you even more.

It would be so easy for a bank to be loved.

It’s a category that is absolutely ripe for someone to sweep in and undermine all the competition.

But it will be hard for someone to do that, because they’re either too intimidated by what the big boys will do to them or are too focused on self-interest, get-rich-quick schemes … which is why I hope that more and more things like Square come and fuck them over, even though in reality, they’ll never make the impact needed for banks to fundamentally change their ways, which is why we’ll have to endure even more banks promising they ‘care’ and are ‘global, yet local’ even though what they actually mean is they only care about themselves are every branch operates with the mindset of blinkered, provincial, jobs worth who hates everyone who may make them have to do a bit of work that will benefit someone other than themselves.

26 Comments so far
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But I always thought you paid cash for your houses.

Comment by DH

with all the fucking money he made living off my fucking talent. bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

He might as well have signed your name.

Comment by john

or given the house straight to the exfuckingwives.

Comment by andy@cynic

If you were even better Andy, I wouldn’t have needed to get a mortgage. Try harder please.

Comment by Rob

If I had any money to keep in a bank, I’d hate them too.

Comment by DH

Just pretend Riley’s is a bank and you won’t feel so bad about putting so much money there. (Do you still go there? Is it still there?)

Comment by Bazza

hes graduated to less cliche fucking irish bars now.

Comment by andy@cynic

You should know by the products you keep releasing that you’re out of touch with everything Baz.

Comment by DH

I looked up ANZ Bank and I saw an ad where they say “we live in your world”. I think they meant to say “we live in our own world”.

Any financial institution that claims to care automatically gets discounted by me. I still love the Egg US stuff we did at cynic, truthful and raw. Shame it never went further than it did. Deserved so much more.

Comment by Bazza

look at all you rich fuckers complaining about banks. whining about not being able to access your fucking trillions when mr and mrs average get threatening letters for going $100 over their credit card limit even though those bank fuckers pushed it on them like a dealer in crooklyn. fuckers.

and egg was fucking genius. i should know, i fucking did it even if ill give 1.25% credit to campbell for suggesting that long haired twat from one of those heavy metal noise merchant wankers he likes.

Comment by andy@cynic

i was far too fucking generous. make it 0.58%.

Comment by andy@cynic

Still too generous. Egg was one of my faves. Not as much fun as spam but up there.

Comment by DH

Fair point. But that still doesn’t mean banks should be able to treat their customers like this.

Annnnnnd – I would like to point out – you are hardly on the streets, unless we’re talking about the streets paved in gold. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I loved that campaign. LOVED IT.

And that ‘long haired twat’ was the legend that is David Lee Roth … lead singer of Van Halen who are not ‘heavy metal noise merchants’ but the creators of this musical masterpiece.


Comment by Rob

In no world is that a masterpiece.

Comment by john

you sad sad sad sad sad sad fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes, that’s a particular favourite of mine. And if you want to see how much they DON’T live in our world, check this out:

[Sorry, it does involve me again. Apologies]

Comment by Rob

I want to know more about Asia’s “least influential strategists”.

Comment by john

The fact the banking industry has zero credibility with the general population, yet continue to communicate their meaningless statements only serves to highlight how out of touch or arrogant they are.

Having to fly to Australia to access your own money is ridiculous. I am sure they would claim security concerns but that still doesn’t explain their attitude. Did you get recompense for that? I’m guessing not buy if anyone could, it’s you.

As we’re going down cynic memory lane, my favourite was still the “legs come first” stuff for Virgin. (Even if Lee hated it.)

Comment by Pete

Oh yes, that was a good one … but we should be grateful for Lee’s occasional bad taste, it’s what allowed us to work with him in the first place. That and George’s “connections”, ha.

Comment by Rob

FNB in South Africa is the antithesis to banking conventions. The things they do would shock you (in the best way possible). Needed a new ATM card recently, they delivered it to my office and even sent me a calendar request to remind me. They’re brilliant…the anti-bank bank. Look into them. Great case study.

Comment by Adrian

Thanks Adrian. Without doubt there are some good/interesting financial institutions however the common thing with them is that they’re [probably] not global and don’t pretend to be.

Comment by Rob

True. They’re not “global” in the sense that an HSBC or ANZ are, but they’re pan-African and are making solid BRIC in-roads. Perhaps there’s something to learn from their decision to not use a category generic that links back to “global” but rather to a simple human truth. Or maybe it’s because whether they’re financing your small business in Ghana or helping in the facilitation of a massive Chinese infrastructure deal, they actually deliver on what they promise: help. And I suppose the fact that they’re not a big global conglomerate helps too occasionally.

Comment by Adrian

Or maybe they realise better service leads to better profits and it’s nothing more complicated than that.

Comment by Pete

[…] so it wasn’t as bad as the time ANZ Bank in Australia made me fly from Singapore to Sydney so I could given them a cheque to buy a bloody house, but it’s up […]

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