Ok. So, those of you who know me know that I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I adore the way it has rendered everything available. The entire world is accessible from the sunshine patio in the back garden. A swift click of a key and money changes hands, things are bought, people are contacted. I adore it! However, I become swiftly infuriated when said technology fights back. I have very little technical understanding, being a 'point and press' sort of girl, so the moment I cannot access/communicate/do I have to wait until someone wiser and more experienced can come and rescue me. It drives me insane! You have seen me rant, on more than one occasion, about the muddles I have found myself in when dealing with unresponsive technology. Well, this time I shan't be ranting.
I have a technological relationship with my bank. I feared it, initially, but it has turned out to be the longest lasting and most productive of all relationships I have had through electronic means. My bank are wonderful!
I have Internet banking – which is simple, effective and glitch free. I have telephone banking – which is cheerful, professional and English (oh the joys of a Scottish accent [so trustworthy] or a lilting Norther accent [so honest] when telephoning a helpline). I have access to over the counter banking, if I want it. My bank know who I am, react to me according to my treatment of them and are always (and I mean 'always') pleased to hear from me! Bloody wonderful!
My bank is The Co-Operative Bank. I would urge anyone looking for a new bank, or fed up with rudeness, inefficiency or lack of 'get-at-a-bility' of their current bank (did ya see what I did there?!) to immediately open a
Co-Operative Bank account! Do it! You'll love me for making the introduction!
I chose The Co-Operative Bank, in the first place, because they refuse to invest in military regimes or deals. Look. They won't fund Arms deals, they won't fund terrorist regimes, they won't be part of nasty things. I loved that my money (such as it is) would never find its way to hurting another human being by political, military or violent means through my bank. How many people reading this can assure us of the same of their bank? Do you even know? I'll tell you something else, too. My bank is the only one I never heard mentioned in the recent Credit Crunch. They didn't suddenly need squillions of tax-payers pounds to float them out of poor investment slumps. They didn't start bleating on about surprising deficits. They didn't run off with anyone's pension or savings. My bank is still clean after all the counting, lending and bemoaning has been done.
They have a wonderful contact, on the Co-Operative Bank web page, with which to check any dodgy emails you may receive purporting to be from the bank. You have all probably received such emails, telling you your account has been compromised and you just need to click this link and enter all the relevant details and all will be well. Well, firstly - do not click the link. On no account do it. The only point at which your account will be compromised is after you enter your details in the page that link takes you to! Go to your bank's web page and start from there. Secondly – I forwarded this email to my bank and they replied explaining that it was a scam, I was not to give anyone my details, and they would be following it up. It left me feeling like Dad had taken a hate-letter from me and gone round to see the bully's parents. Fabulous!
Earlier in the year I needed an overdraft extension to see me over an immediate hump. I decided what I needed and spoke to my bank. The lady on the other end of the phone (Northern Accent – just lovely) quickly explained to me that what I wanted wouldn't sort out my problem but there was a much cheaper, simpler and immediate way of doing it. I followed her advice and saved time, money and worry by doing so! She didn't try to sell me anything. She didn't try to trap me into the most expensive route. She didn't let me make a simple and expensive mistake. She took care of me.
I have just been on the phone to my bank. A nice man (Tom) with a soft Northern accent just dealt with my issue and left me feeling like I had had a short conversation with an old friend. It's how I feel (in various shades of Northern British accent) every time I ring them. I was confused and concerned about something. He had a look on his computer and smoothed out my queries. I feel lovely and relaxed and safe in the knowledge that Tom has sorted my problems and I had nothing to worry about, anyway. Although he certainly didn't mind helping me reach that peace of mind. They never do at my bank.
And yesterday, just to complete my joy, I receive a letter from my bank telling me that they shall be sending me a whole new piece of technology – absolutely free – with which to do my online banking. I, Ladies and Gentlemen, shall be receiving a card reader through the post. Gratis and without charge. With which to do my online banking safely and securely. So there!
So – look – you should know. I love my bank. I know they love me, too! They speak to me nicely, they offer me choices and they look after my money (such as it is) securely, morally and honestly. Like the accents at the end of the helpline, The Co-Operative bank has something old fashioned, dependable and Northern about it. There'll be no silly messing about, no unpleasant behaviour and no dishonesty. This is a bank born of a Co-Operative Society, after all. It's very people friendly.
And their technology works. Properly!