Leda Writes for Fintech Futures: a banker goes a-banking, vol 5

Dr Leda Glyptis 11:FS Foundry CEO
5min read

Every Thursday, Leda Glyptis, 11:FS Chief of Staff creates #LedaWrites. This week...Volume 5 (in a likely ongoing series) of her personal banking saga.

Today I called a non UK part of HSBC to tell them that the ridiculous widget I need in order to access my account had run out of juice and could I get a new one.

They couldn’t find any accounts associated with my name. Which is funny, because I have six. Accounts. With them. Associated with my name.

You don’t exist madam, said the man.

You will find I do, said I.

So we went through the exercise again.

How do you spell your name, nope you don’t exist.

After the fifth time I said shall we try something different, maybe? Since this one isn’t working?

Not sure I can help, he said.

Mate. You claim you cannot find me which means you cannot find my life savings and if you can’t find me, you can’t send me the blessed widget with means I can’t access my life savings even though I know it is there, so you will either solve this for me or put me through to someone who will solve it for me.

Imagine someone who doesn’t know how banks work being told their account doesn’t exist. Imagine the fear. The panic.

We fixed it in the end.

Some mumbled excuse about how the system search function doesn’t cross reference, doesn’t yield partial matches or whatever. Because that is an acceptable answer in 2019.

And before you go oh my god that was bad, let me tell you that in 2007, I moved my ISA from Barclays to Santander and they lost it. For five weeks neither bank knew where it was until someone finally noticed it was in a limbo transitional account where things go before end-of-day clearance and settlement but mine wasn’t tagged properly so it settled there for good.

Imagine someone who doesn’t know how banks work, who doesn’t know what the regulator expects and who doesn’t spend time working around the limitations of banking systems. Imagine that person being told their account doesn’t exist. Imagine the fear. The panic. The helplessness.

Imagine someone who didn’t know to suggest partial searches of the name (foreign name, various spellings), who didn’t keep a record of their IBAN numbers and didn’t think to ask to search by that (that’s how we found it in the end. I did exist after all).

And the employee at the other end of the line sounds like he could not care less if he tried. Because it’s not his problem, he is just pressing buttons and the next calls are beeping red on his queue.

I will say it again: imagine the helplessness. The fear. And now feel the rage. And the shame.

Because we are failing these people. Every day.

Read the whole story atFintech Futures.