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Bank to the future

It used to be that you could get an audience with your local bank manager to explain what you had in mind. You would usually be given the nod within the manager’s discretion and yes, they always had a discretion in those days !  Because he was on the ground in your locality, he would be fully aware of your circumstances and would intuitively know whether you were a man of straw or not!

After some consideration the banks became concerned about the cosy relationship between the local bank manager and the customer and established the relationship manager, usually located at one remove, typically at a regional office or at best only available by forward planned appointment. The only problem with the concept was the fact that the relationship manager was never around long enough to develop a lasting relationship. You usually got a divorce within the first two years and then you were back to square one in a whole new relationship!

And so the beginnings of the problem began – your worst suspicions were confirmed when you were asked for photo ID in your local branch!

Online banking

Online banking became a truly powerful tool, allowing us to manage most of our transactions without having to go near the branch.  This development became perhaps one of the greatest efficiency drivers in the banks but the downside is that business is all about building relationships and unfortunately, the banks pushed  us away under the guise of creating greater shareholder value. We do not yet fully appreciate or understand the disastrous extent of this course of action!

The banks today

The real problem with the banks today is that they have lost their traditional skills – they got sucked into the illusion of the upward only property bubble, approved loans in a sloppy fashion and bypassed the due diligence process in pursuit of the quick buck. As we all now pay expensively for this profligacy, the banks are desperately trying to re-skill in order that they might re-establish sound economic fundamental banking principles !

So lads & lasses, whether you like it or not, it’s back to the future – the old ways were not perfect, but at least you knew who your customers were and how to properly manage them. You have the chance now to start all over again, hopefully with a bit more humility and whereas it used to be that we were privileged if the bank manager raised his hat to us, you may yet arrive at the day when the man of straw will raise his hat to you – now that’s what I call respect!

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