Magazine article The Spectator

Fly Your Friendly Bank, in First Class or Steerage, When What You Want Is Modest Comfort

Magazine article The Spectator

Fly Your Friendly Bank, in First Class or Steerage, When What You Want Is Modest Comfort

Article excerpt

CITY AND SUBURBAN

An eminent tax accountant of my acquaintance was moved to write to a High Street bank's chief executive: `Dear Sir, Is your Hampstead branch still open?' All his attempts to attract its attention had failed. On his client's behalf he had tried his luck with the bank's telephone system (which, of course, does not any longer go through to the branch) and had written politely and often, but he might as well have been posting his letters in a hollow tree. Luckily, the chief executive could work the oracle. Others find it harder, for this is, or can too often be, modern banking. Its pioneers told us how much better off we would be once they took the paperwork out of the branches, so freeing the staff (or so we were told) to look after the customers - and, of course, cutting costs. In the process they cut the lines of communication. …

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