The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… Bank Stories

Here are a few of the ones I can TELL…

Back in the Eighties, a number of smaller banks began offering “free banking”. Their blurbs said your account would be free while you were in CREDIT. But what they didn’t mention was that if you went into the RED – even by a few pennies for a few hours – or because a cheque got held up during “clearing” – they would hit you for an ENTIRE QUARTER’S charges.

Thus in theory, a penny’s debt could cost you fifty QUID. This happened to me. After having removed the balance of MY money, I wrote to them, CLOSING my account. The letter they sent back was hilarious. They “thanked” me for my “request” to close my account and said they would be pleased to do so – once I had cleared my “overdraft” (THEIR charges).

I figured if they could write funny letters, so could I. Mine informed them that my last contained a statement of FACT – not a “request” – and that my “overdraft” was in their imagination. It closed with, “If you have any further enquiries, please address them to [a real address in Connecticut I had obtained from a magazine]”.

Of course, I hadn’t actually said I’d MOVED there – but their letters stopped at that point anyway.

Then in the Seventies, there was the time I (grudgingly) owed a REAL debt to an associate. £15 (about £100 in today’s money). I had to pay it, so I went to the bank to withdraw the funds and when the teller asked how I wanted the money, I had an idea. Without missing a beat, I answered, “Half-pennies, please.”

The teller looked a bit nonplussed, but pulled out 15 bags, each containing 200 of the tiny coins, then put these into a larger cloth bag. This I eventually handed to my creditor – but AFTER I’d taken out the bags, REMOVED the contents from each and returned them to the bag. Thus he HAD the £15 all right – but in the form of THREE THOUSAND LOOSE half-pennies!

In fact, I later learned that this was not actually legal. Apparently there is a LIMIT to the amount of coins one is forced to accept as legal tender. It seems I wasn’t the first to use this ploy – maybe someone had once grudgingly owed someone fifteen THOUSAND pounds and had sent it in a tipper-truck! Anyhoo, my associate did not know this, so accepted the HEAVY bag.

He later told me the teller at his bank had nearly had a FIT when he’d presented it to her. This was in the days before automatic counting machines and she’d had to count the three thousand fiddly little coins BY HAND. She was NOT happy!

By the Nineties however, banks began fighting back. If you were a shopkeeper wanting change, they now CHARGED you for it. I found this out when I went into a bank to get coins for a parking meter. All I wanted was ten ten-pence pieces for a Pound, but from the look on the teller’s face you’d have thought I’d come into a Christian Bookshop and asked for a copy of the Necronomicon.

It took THREE tellers to come up with just TEN ten-pence pieces.

Of course now, banks are no LONGER fun. They are major-league RIP-OFF artists worthy of our contempt. But In The Good Old Days, you could still have a laugh at their expense. If I ever find I have terminal cancer, I may tell you a few OTHER stories…

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2 Responses to “Damien on… Bank Stories”

  1. If you think being a bank customer is tough, you should see the rules that they apply to the STAFF!

    Not, of course, the million pound bonus type staff but the minor cogs who do all the work – like wot I was.

    As an example, when wife1 left, and before I realised it was permanent, she emptied my account (containing £49.99) by cashing a cheque for £50. So 1p in the red!

    At 3.40pm (they closed at 3.30) this TWAT from Barclays phoned me THE DAY BEFORE PAYDAY to inform me that a report was being sent to my manager recommending disciplinary action and asking me what I intended to do about it!

    I told him, “Nothing – in the morning the problem will have gone away!” whereupon he told me that he had to “wield the big stick”!
    Not a good thing to say in the circumstances as I told him in exact anatomical detail where I would put his big stick if he tried it!

    My Manager then got a call telling tales about THAT but I’d got my story in first and I was able to listen to dear old Eric telling this berk to “find yourself something useful to do and stop upsetting my staff over petty matters!”

    I wouldn’t mind betting though that the report sent to Head Office stayed on my record for the next 24 years and MAY explain why I never got to be a manager myself.

    Actually, if the silly mare had only waited until AFTER payday she could have taken a lot more and I would have been in REALLY deep doodoo! By then, however, I had taken no chances and put the account into my sole name!

    Alfie

  2. ‘Tis pity said twat didn’t get DOWNSIZED for spending more on that phone call than your “unauthorised overdraft” – but at least you dodged a bullet from wife1!


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