Adrian Loveridge Column – Poor Service by Foreign Banks
During the current lockdown it’s perhaps an ideal opportunity to reflect on the positives and negatives of an everyday small business and hope that these experiences can benefit us all in the recovery days to come.
While not directly tourism related, any reasonable person has to ponder what on earth was on the minds of the management of one or more ‘local’ banks to increase their charges during the current pandemic, especially when it was abundantly imminent that another lockdown was about to be enacted.
When the majority of customers are already reeling from the effects of dramatically reduced ‘service’ delivery, the closure of branches without any meaningful consultation with the people who fund their operation and being literally forced into migrated online websites, some of which are far from user-friendly.
In our own personal transactions over the last couple of months, the tardy response of at least two different banks that we deal with have caused us substantial monetary losses and hugely increased unnecessary stress.
Even when the particular bank makes obvious mistakes, the procedure often involves lengthy phone calls to remote ‘customer care’ centres and spent precious hours rectifying their problem, all at our expense, in terms of time and resources, without even a hint of an apology or compensation.
Sadly as a country we have grown to accept a diminished level of service from our financial institutions, at least partially due to Government default of debt, giving these organisations little opportunity other than to extract additional revenue from the ‘little people’ to make up that deficit.
What is so alarming is that the overwhelming number of businesses here, both small and large, will critically depend on these lending entities to sustain them until some degree of normality and viability returns.
And with seemingly such detached directors at the top of the management tree, which can only be a logical explanation for the poor levels of service meted out by the lower level of employees, it is difficult to comprehend how many of our private sector entities will survive.
Perhaps the biggest puzzle is why do we tolerate such a general poor level of service, when the majority of these foreign owned banks could not get away with it in their own domains located in the more developed countries?
My first days as a lifetime entrepreneur at the age of 12 years were spent walking door-to-door with a cheap suitcase selling kitchen items to houses in the UK from the monies I earned selling imperfect shirts from stalls in markets like London’s Petticoat Lane.
In the near six decades that have followed, I have desperately tried to understand how bank managers and their employers rationally think and sadly, do not appear to be any closer to comprehending them.
But I do know that unless there is a seismic shift in the way that ‘our’ banks respond to the immediate needs of local small to medium size businesses in the very near future, many of those enterprises will cease to exist by the end of this year.
That will inevitably take a further toll on Government coffers, so perhaps it is now long overdue that the current administration bites the bullet and encourages banking reform.