I went into a branch of ‘the world’s local bank’ today to enquire about depositing some funds. I explained I wanted to pay in a cheque and that I had all my UK ( I really stressed that bit) bank account details and the relevant international information too. I was told this would be ‘no problem’ so I went on my way, planning to drop into another branch nearer my apartment later.

On arrival at my closest branch I was met with a more frosty reception altogether. I say frosty, it felt more like ‘I couldn’t give a shit, I’m not going to help you please go away’. They couldn’t access my details at this branch so I was sent to the main branch on 5th Avenue. The 5th Avenue branch is a grand place – fitting of an international bank, but they were as unhelpful as their neighbours. I double checked, ‘You are the world’s local bank?’ I asked. ‘Yes sir, we are’ came the reply. ‘But I can’t deposit this US cheque into my account?’ ‘No, you can’t’.

I clearly misunderstood what the term ‘world’s local bank’ meant and left, feeling bewildered. On the way out I took a photo of the sign in reception. Admittedly it’s a poor picture, but can you see that word in the top left corner?

World's local bank



Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

6 thoughts on “Unbanking”

  1. Wow….

    I am always baffled by businesses that haven’t figured out how to take my money. To me, that’s the strongest form of business apathy there is. Although I think it’s stupid, at least I understand businesses that cheat the customer or give less than full value for the money – they’re motivated by short-sighted greed. But a business that can’t be bothered to take my money when I’m trying to give it to them? What is their motivation?

    A while back, I wrote a short piece called “Why Did You Bother?” about this sort of thing because it really, really irritates me. This bank has clearly spent a tremendous amount on buildings, advertising, developing the brand, etc. etc. to get you to come in, and then… nothing. Why did they bother? I’m sure they do all sorts of surveys and strategy sessions and get together and pretend they’re business people and MISS THE OBVIOUS SOLUTIONS.

    I’ll stop here before this devolves further into a rant.

  2. Tell me! Went through this loop with them in the UK with my sister who was visiting from Malaysia.

    world’s local bank, I don’t think so

  3. And yet First Direct (part of the HSBC group) are fab.
    Timely question from Seth Godin today:
    The simplest customer service frustration question of all “Why isn’t this as important to you as it is to me?”

  4. Thanks folks

    @broc – great observations, it just doesn’t make sense huh?
    @sally – I feel your pain
    @Peter – the possibilities for people doing dumb things to customers are not bound by geography
    @Jonathan – baseball and banking…home run?
    @julia – I bank w First Direct – shame their customer service philosophy isn’t fed back into the rest of the group huh? Great question from Mr G.

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