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Banks behaving badly

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A nice ad in the papers today from Nationwide Building Society with the following strapline:

Even as the lockdown eases, we want everyone to stay in their homes.

It is the right sentiment and the right tone. It’s slightly jocular — not too much — and a promise of future good behaviour.

Since it is a building society, I think we can assume it is sincere. It really doesn’t want to go on a repossession spree, it wants us to stay in our homes.

This comes as the FT reports that lenders fear “a PR disaster” if they pursue small firms for bad debts.

We get it, is what they are trying to signal. We mustn’t be beastly.

That’s the right message, but it doesn’t tally with many consumer experiences.

My bank lately sucks. It spent most of last week a) leaving me on hold and b) apologising for everything.

Its excuse was the virus. Two months ago that was reasonable.

As employees, none of us are saying we can’t do such and such because of the virus. We figured it out weeks ago.

If individuals can do it, gigantic institutions like banks really have little excuse.

Citing Covid-19 as a reason for failure won’t cut ice with customers or the media from here on.

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