Big Bank, Small Group, Crazy Account Opening Process
UPDATE 4: August 26th 10.06 am. Given up. 9.43 am, rang Lloyds again, spoke to Emma, who said she would put me through to Thomas. 9.48, Thomas appears on the line. He reads out masses of ‘small print’. We proceed. 10.05 am, call ends when I cannot confirm to his satisfaction that my fellow signatory has given permission for a credit search. I said she has given permission for all the processes necessary to open the account. In Thomas’s mind, or on his script, this is not good enough because he can’t be sure that I have asked for her permission for a full credit check. Decision: end of the road. Will try another bank.
UPDATE 3: August 26th 9.00 am. Ring as Graham advised yesterday. Man who answers says “That team doesn’t start until 9.30 am. I can always ask for them to ring you back.” Me: “No thanks”. Strikes me that no one in the bank has a clue what is going on.
UPDATE 2: August 25th, 3.38 pm. Man called Graham with rapid Scottish accent answered when I rang the number I had been told to ring for the ‘follow up team’. No surprise, Graham could not deal with opening the account and everyone else was too busy. “Try tomorrow at 9 am”, he advised. I will. Beginning to think there is a bar on accounts with Welsh names.
UPDATE 1: August 24th, 6.42 pm. No phone call from Lloyds this afternoon. I rang at 6.30pm but no one was available.
Rural community group? Society? Want to open a bank account? Good luck!
Lloyds Bank has flipped. Its crazy approach to clubs and societies needing to open accounts forces little old ladies like me to run an Olympic marathon. To what purpose?
August 11th. Into Lloyds’ branch in Lampeter – not yet a part-time shadow, as Llandovery has become – to ask to open an account for a club/society. “Sorry, it can’t be done in branch any more. You have to wait for a telephone call.”
Could I apply online? Worth a try. What a teaser. You go online, fill in details – only to be told that the application has to be completed by phone. Someone will ring you. Back to square one.
August 19th. Anything happening? No. Rang the helpdesk number I was given in the branch. Spoke to a man called Sunny. “Someone tried to call you,” he said. “What number did they try?” I asked.
“Not recorded,” he said, or words to that effect. I assume they tried the mobile number which I was required to give. Trouble is, in rural north Carmarthenshire, there’s no signal or poor signal, so my mobile is something I carry in the car in case of an emergency which occurs in a spot with a signal. I still rely on the landline. No one called the landline, although they had that number.
“Someone will call you back on the landline,” said Sunny.
Did they? No.
August 21st, late in the afternoon, try again. A Scottish man called Robbie started going through the rigmarole again, explaining that I had to wait for a phone call and that it would take about 45 minutes. This was inflation, because the lady in the branch had told me 20-25 minutes. Perhaps they add on 10 minutes every time you phone. Try to explain that this is not a commercial account, and it will have a throughput of just a few hundred pounds a year, but Robbie says there is no alternative to a long interview, which is designed for full-scale businesses.
Lloyds has, I feel, scrapped the convenient process of opening a new account in branch for this daft, time-wasting assault course of a process. So I asked to put this point of view to someone. Robbie said he would put me through to complaints, where I spoke to Nuray. She let slip in passing that other people had made complaints about the telephone procedure, which she thought was introduced in 2014. By now the time to for me allocate to the phone interview had grown to ONE AND A HALF HOURS!! For a group with likely income under £1000 a year.
Nuray promised to pass on my suggestions, and gave me a complaint number. She agreed to ask someone to phone me between 2.30pm and 5pm on Monday, August 24th. Nuray herself cannot change the system, but someone senior needs to. It might appear cheaper on paper – why else would the bank have introduced it – but small clubs and societies should not be classified with large businesses including multinationals.
Online banking is surely responsible, in large part, for the withdrawal of branches and branch services in rural areas like West Wales, and a real problem is developing. Even so, there comes a point when a bank’s concern for its own perceived priorities overtly exceeds its wish to meet the needs of all customers, and to my mind Lloyds has passed that point.