Banks and Bank Managers

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Most people have the same kind of relationship with their bank manager as they do with God. They live in awe of him, feel that he is watching everything they do, and every night they pray that he will forgive them their sins and give them their daily bread.

Far from being gods, bank managers are actually no more than junior under-gods in banking circles, let alone the heavenly hierarchy. They have to answer primarily to their local head office, to the General Manager at head office in London and ultimately to the Financial Services Authority (the FSA). As the financial regulator for the UK, The FSA have a wide range of rule-making, investigatory and enforcement powers to fulfil their statutory objectives.

I’ve always owed my bank manager too much money to dare to complain about him, but if I wanted to put the screws on him,

I would do one of three things, depending on how much he had upset me.

  1. I would threaten (a) to take away my account, and (b) to write an e-mail to the District Manager at the local head office telling him why I had done so. (Banks are very sensitive about losing even the smallest customer, so this ought to bring all but the stroppiest bank manager to heel.)
  2. I would actually write to the District Manager. (Anyone at your bank will tell you who – and where – he is.)
  3. I would by-pass them all and write straight to the bigwigs, the General Managers at the bank’s head office in London.

Banks, their managers, and their computers make many mistakes, but about the worst thing they can do is bounce a cheque when you actually have money in your current or a deposit account to cover the cheque.

By returning your cheque with those dreaded words, ‘Refer to Drawer’, they are in fact libelling you. Mr Geoffrey Downham, a property dealer, sued the Post Office’s national banking system for doing just that, and was awarded damages against them.

If one of your cheques is bounced in similar circumstances, you should see a solicitor and insist that the bank writes an explanatory e-mail of apology to the person to whom the cheque was payable.

Personally, I think the trouble with bank managers is not so much how to complain about them but how to get money out of them. This is a subject I know a great deal about and I have a sizeable overdraft to prove it. This is how it is done.

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