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

When Words Are Worthless …

I’ve been a customer with Natwest Bank since 1987.

It was the first bank I ever had a salary put into and continues to be a bank account I use regularly, despite no longer living in the UK.

On top of this, since 1995 I’ve had the privilege of never needing to use the overdraft facility they gave me.

It’s only ever been 500 pounds, but I’ve never once needed it.

Anyway, due to some stuff we’re doing, I’ve withdrawn all but a few hundred pounds from the account over the past few days.

It is only temporary as this is the account where a bunch of different things get money paid into them … but it’s telling that on the 4 days there has been the least amount of money in it for almost 30 years [because I definitely used my overdraft when I was younger, on a monthly basis] I get this.

So despite never once going overdrawn …
Despite never once being late for a payment …
Despite never once asking them for help …
Natwest decided NOW is the time to lower my overdraft.

On one level, I shouldn’t care – I don’t use it and I’m in the incredibly fortunate position of not needing it – but there’s 2 things that bug me.


It feels they’ve chosen this time because they’ve seen my balance basically disappear and fear I may be in financial hardship.


Like NIKE – who said they were always looking for ways to benefit their customers, before announcing they were pulling out of NZ – Natwest are trying to say this is for my own good.

That they’re doing ‘what’s right for me’.

What’s right for me?

More like what’s right for themselves.

Because for all their talk of wanting to be there for their customers.
… for all their claims of being there if anyone is facing financial hardship.
… for all their proclamations of wanting to be a financial partner to their customers.
You can’t help but feel they’re making sure they reduce any exposure to customer debt as is physically possible.

Not that they are in debt. Or face any risk of it.

Last year they made almost 5 billion in profit pre-tax … up a third on the previous year.

And let’s not forget the taxpayer bailed them out to the tune of 45 billion pounds in 2008.

As I said. I’m in the incredibly fortunate position of no longer needing to use my overdraft … but I know there’s lots of people who do. And if they will do this to someone who has been in credit for almost 30 years, what are they doing to those who haven’t?

The reality is, I’m fine with them reducing my overdraft limit … what I’m not fine with is their attempt to claim they’re doing ‘what’s best’ for me, when it’s painfully obvious they don’t give a toss about me.

They could have said, ‘you’ve never used your overdraft so we’re getting rid of it’.

Or ‘you’re not using it so we’re reducing it so we can provide more help to those who need it’.

Hell, they could have just kept everything the same because nothing has changed, even if my recent bank balance has.

But they didn’t do any of those things …

Instead they chose to basically bullshit so they could feed their ego and pretend they’re saviours all while making a decision designed to protect themselves from a financial situation, that they – in part – encouraged because of decisions and actions over the past few years.

Banks have an important role in society.

They could be seen in favourable terms by society.

But time and time again, their actions defy their advertising claims.

And yet they wonder why they find it hard to build trust and value with customers.

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