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Damned Banks

January 11, 2009

bankI cannot remember exactly when I took part in the first trials of computer banking with Barclays but it is a very long time ago – probably 10 years or more. I like computer banking because I am awful at keeping track of pieces of paper and in the computer I have found the perfect filing system. Since then paper has slowly been removed from my dealings with banks, something that I do not feel worried or anxious about. I feel happy with my electronic record keeping, and with the banks record keeping. Pretty much all of my accounts are electronic only.

This means I can move money about willy-nilly and not have to actually go into a bank, speak to a teller nor sign my name to a very stupid piece of paper called a cheque. Thankfully now cheque writing is extremely rare. I really like this – as I say again and again.

I have two problems this week related to this. Problem one is that I have some bank accounts that were opened by other persons for a relative that required a passbook. Now these accounts are really quite difficult to manage without those passbooks (they are held by the people who opened the account) and I hope we can get rid of the passbooks as quickly as possible, so I can deal with those accounts as easily as I deal with my normal banking. Other than that, I am electronic.

The second problem is when I went into a bank to sign a form for an ISA account in which I had missed a deposit, a form required by the British Inland Revenue – not a big problem there other than the fact that it took me a few weeks to be in the right place to visit that bank to deal with the atoms rather than the bits. This account was electronic only – I have no passbook* for it. The big problem was that the bank worker asked for our passbook for the account – a passbook that did not exist as we never had one when we opened the account. When I answered with this, she said ‘impossible’ and that we would need to get a new one before we could deal with the form. We had to have passbooks – for an electronic account by the way – I responded ‘Why would I want a passbook?’. Her face was an absolute picture – as if I had just told her that I was a child killer. When I more forcefully said that I do not want a passbook, she again repeated that it was not possible that I had the account without a passbook… I had to give up, and now we will see what happens as a load of admin and paperwork gets moved around just so I can have a passbook I do not want, need or would ever use. This is admin and paperwork that is going to cost the bank time/money and me time.

Banks are really modern aren’t they 🙂

No wonder they are doing so well.

*For the non-UK people, a passbook is a booklet containing a running total of the balance of the account with all the transactions in it – an archaic book that was used to pacify the masses into believing that this was sufficient evidence to obtain money from the bank in the event of a records problem… as if.

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