Tuesday 3rd July 2012
0845 numbers irritate and terrify me in equal measure.
When I eventually get to speak to another human being, they will either catch me out with some menacing security question to which I can’t remember the answer, fob me off with excuses about the difficulties they’re experiencing accessing the necessary information, or keep me on hold while they tell a supervisor to record this one so they can all have a laugh about it later.
I rang the bank today.
Meanwhile, the former chief executive of another bank – a man by the name of Bob Diamond – is preparing to answer questions from MPs. Bet he won’t have to ‘key in’ his date of birth in order to do so.
“Good morning, Mr Moore. How can I help you?”
This before I have said a word. Is it the bank’s idea of being friendly? Perhaps I’ve read too many sci-fi novels, but I find it both presumptuous and unsettling.
“I paid a cheque in yesterday, using a deposit envelope at a small branch in the Cotswolds. The money doesn’t appear to have been credited to my account.”
In 2010, Diamond was listed 37th in the New Statesman’s annual survey of the world’s most influential figures. In the last five years, he has been paid about £120 million.
“I’ll call the branch for you, Mr Moore.”
A few years ago, I could have phoned them directly. The bank’s improvements in efficiency mean I can only imagine the conversation rather than have it myself.
“Did you forget to look down the deposits chute before going home?”
“Oops. Ah… now, come to think of it… thing is I had a dental appointment and because it was raining I had to…”
Barclays makes a profit of £16 million a day.
“The lady at the branch tells me they are dealing with it right now, Mr Moore. Are you aware of the excellent insurance policies on offer to our customers?”
‘Diamond’ comes from the Greek for ‘unbreakable’. He will tell them precisely nothing.
We pay banks to look after our money. They keep it locked inside impenetrable vaults, along with other valuables: secrets and lies, for example.