Friday, 16 August 2013

Complete Bankers

Last week I lost my debit card.

Panic ensued as I'm normally super careful with cards and wallet and money. "Brasso Intacto Infisto" is the family motto.

It was the card for our business account which is a joint account between myself and Mrs Rine as the two partners in the business. I can't tell you what the name of the bank is but it has a reference to Father Christmas in it.

Anyway, Mrs Rine, who does all the accounts and financial dealings for the business, rang the Father Christmas bank to report the missing card. We were anxious that it hadn't fallen into the hands of n'eer-do-wells, International Identity Thieves or Russian Smugglers.

A few minutes later I heard her say, "OK, he's in the next room, I'll pass you over to him".

"They want to confirm it's you", she said, handing me the phone.

"Hello yes, it is I", I said brightly with as much enthusiasm as I could gather.

"I just need to take you through security", said the unenthusiastic voice at the other end. "Firstly, when did you open this account?".

"Er, I think....", I started looking across to Mrs Rine searchingly. (With my massive packing responsibilities and running an entire photographic studio as well I can't be expected to retain all these trivial details about our activities).

"....six years ago...", she whispered.

"OK I think it was approximately six years ago", I offered brightly.

"I'm sorry I can't accept that answer", came back Mr Monotone. "I heard a woman in the background helping you with the answer".

"That was no woman, that was my wife", I retorted as a light-hearted joke.

"I cannot accept anything other than your own independent answers. Now what is the current balance on this account?".

The mood was starting to get chillier. I looked across at Mrs Rine searchingly and gestured for her to write the answer down for me. She whispered that she would just get a pen.

At this point Mr M. from Father Christmas said "I'm sorry, I heard a woman's voice again. I can't take you through security as you have failed to answer the questions properly on your own".

Chillier to freezing. "What?!!", I said with open-mouthed incredulity (I tried closed-mouth incredulity but nothing came out). "'That woman' you keep referring to is my wife, the joint account holder of this account, the person who looks after all our banking! This is ridiculous!".

My dander was at the end of the runway at take-off speed and ready to pull the stick back.

"I'm sorry but my rules are quite clear. I can't take this any further. I am only following protocols".

"That's what the SS said".

"I can't believe you said that".

"I can't believe you are being so ludicrously pedantic. So you haven't cancelled the card at all then?"

"Oh yes. Your card is cancelled. I just can't process the application of a replacement as you have failed security".

It was at this precise point in the conversation that I noticed a small piece of rectangular coloured plastic poking out from underneath the chair next to my desk.


Z said...

Fab punch line. Otherwise, I'm incredulous.

Sir Bruin said...

The bank is your enemy and should be treated as such.

Nota Bene said...

OOH! I said that to the bank once...they were quite upset! Anyway, Banks were mentioned in Dante's work I believe...

Rosemarie Blackthorn said...

Oh. Dear. Gods.

I just want to crack open a bottle of vodka on your behalf.

Having rang my bank recently to re-issue my pin number, I feel your pain.

They greeted me with "Hello Ms Blackthorn, please can you confirm your name for me."

I shit you not.

Rog said...

Z: It was absolutely true - including the punchline!

Sir B: Whereas the Banks are your friends!

Nota: They were using free trainee labour then. Dante's Interno.

Rose: They were testing to see if you'd been paying attention throughout the sentence.

broken biro said...

I started my working life as a bank clerk. People could ring up for their balance in those days - but we still asked security questions like this, and we do it a bit in the library if someone has forgotten their card, something no-one else would know: previous address, recent account activity etc. I always like to finish the stream of questions with: And what is the capital of Uruguay for light relief. I think your bank could learn a thing or two from that!

Mike and Ann said...

I can believe almost anything of banks since being told, a few years ago, that I wasn't the sort of customer the bank wanted as I didn't owe them any money!!!!!

John Greenwood said...

Completely ridiculous, but expected these days!

Curry Queen said...

Sadly, I have read nothing but badness in the press about Father Christmas bank, so you sorry tale doesn't surprise at all. Glad you found the card, but if it had already been cancelled, I imagine you still had a heap of ordure to endure in getting it replaced?

Curry Queen said...

Sadly, I have read nothing but badness in the press about Father Christmas bank, so you sorry tale doesn't surprise at all. Glad you found the card, but if it had already been cancelled, I imagine you still had a heap of ordure to endure in getting it replaced?

allotmentqueen said...

Bet that was an "oh shit" moment at the end. All banks refuse to take answers if they think someone else is telling you what to say. I failed security a couple of weeks ago when, on enquiring about something to do with the business account I was asked questions relating to my private account. When asked if I had any direct debits or standing orders on the account other than mobile phones and utilities I couldn't think of any and so I said none and failed. On looking it up online a few minutes later there was about a dozen there - but mostly quarterly magazine subs and other very occasional things. But I was locked out by then.

Rog said...

Broken Biro: The Uruguay thing may have lightened the tone...

Mike & Ann: Usuary is their schtick!

John: Sadly.

Curry Queen: Funnily enough, I rang back (after cooled down) and ran through it with a charming Scottish lady who couldn't be more helpful. I think the old codger I'd got first was attempting a charm offensive but had forgotten the charm.

AQ: I still don't see why a joint account must be independently verified - it's a joint account!

Zig said...

brilliant! Given me the best laugh :)
I once rang up to tell the bank that they had spelt my husband's name wrong on our joint account and they wouldn't accept me telling them only him, I was equally bemused.

Z said...

Not long ago, when our internet connection was a bit up and down, I wasn't able to pay my credit card bill online. I phoned up to pay it and was told that I'd made too many unsuccessful attempts and was frozen out for 24 hours. Since it was the last day to pay, I was none too pleased. They gave an extension and, unasked, a fiver for having complained.

Have to say, I haven't a clue when I opened any of my bank accounts except the first, which was when I got married. I wouldn't know how to find out, either, except by asking the bank, but I'd have to be logged in to get the information...

Various companies have it on their books that I have permanent authorisation to speak for Russell, btw.

Jay said...

Ridiculous, but not unusual!

savannah said...

*sigh* i feel your pain, sugar! here in the us of a, my bank has, for my protection of course, cancelled my card because "it was used for a purchase in another state without us (the bank) being notified of travel plans." i did not KNOW they'd cancelled it until a week later when i tried to USE the damn thing. now, while i am glad they "monitor" the account for possible fraud, one call to me would have informed them that the purchase was A GODDAMN ONLINE PURCHASE by ME! *sigh* xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

My old Dad would have cancelled your card and seized your assets. Then he was a very old fashioned Bank Manager.

Pat said...

I would have thought your mother's maiden name would be sufficient.
Glad I'm not the only silly billy:)

Timorous Beastie said...


mig bardsley said...

Well that's weird.
I suppose the idea is that you might have run away with another woman and wanted to spend all the joint money without your wife's permission.

Actually Barney once failed security too and nothing I suggested helped. But they didn't accuse us of cheating in an exam :)

Anonymous said...

Some months ago I asked a customer to put money into my account directly (last of the month etc.). She agreed and wanted to pay cash into my account.
They refused to accept it. When I asked them if they finally had lost the last marble, I was told it would be against the law against money laundering.

Some lousy hundreds of Euro. I'm customer there for circa 15 years. Money laundering - that what banks normally do.

Mike and Ann said...

Surely it MUST be against the law for a bank to refuse to accept cash - legal tender - coin of the realm?

Anonymous said...

bwaahahahahaha I can so relate to this post - brilliant last line