The Big Banks...and Manners. Compatible or not?....

Always read the fine print

After reading an interesting article in a weekend paper which encouraged depositors to “shop around” for good Term Deposit rates, I did just that this morning.

Armed with newspaper ads from the business pages I approached my usual bank and asked for the best rate they could give me. A very polite Gen Y assistant advised me of the figure 5.20%  When I advised him that the advertisements from competitors offered better rates he rang his superior...”OK, Madam, 5.60%. He then suggested that I see other banks to compare the rates! All of this service, and with a smile and a professional manner.

So, down the highway I went and offered my business to another of the Australian “ Big Banks”. The portly and pleasant assistant quoted the published rate and I suggested he might like to explore the opportunity of me moving all my banking needs to his institution....again with a smile, “Certainly, Madam, please excuse me while I check with my Manager...” . “OK Madam, if you use us as your primary bank we can offer you 5.70%

And again down the highway to a slightly smaller, but very competitive bank. “Yes, Madam, how may I assist you?” asked a young Gen Y assistant of Asian background. After hearing of my request he checked the published rates and then consulted with his manager, having requested information about the previous rates I had been offered. He appeared a few minutes later with a forlorn face. “Please accept my apologies, Madam, but we are unable to assist you with a competitive rate”. Then with a smile, he said: “Perhaps our E Saver Account could help even out the differences in your interest rates for some of your other accounts?” A great suggestion I am likely to follow through with.

Spare Euros from my recent visit to France

I regularly hear that the Big Banks are unfeeling and ungracious to those of us that wander in and don’t only use their ATM and internet banking facilities. It has certainly not been my experience today.

However, a fellow customer of my initial bank to which I returned, armed with the competitor information, made me squirm in the queue. He was dressed in “Stubbies” and thongs, with a large gut poking through a dirty red tee shirt. And he was not only gesticulating rudely to the very polite Gen Y assistant I had spoken to earlier, but also speaking in a tone which was not only threatening but could have been seen as abusive. And the problem for “Sir” was that he hadn’t read the date on his notification from the Bank about his Term Deposit rollover and so he felt that they had “scammed” him in order not to pay him a higher interest rate. He wanted to remove his funds and they didn’t try to dissuade him.

And Which Bank did I remain with? My initial bank which, after the Gen Y assistant made another call to a superior, offered me a rate of 5.70% and the sweetner of fee removal on currency exchange. And a very pleasant “ It is has been a pleasure doing business with you; is there anything further I can assist you with?” 

The lesson in all this....common courtesy goes a long way...and so does “shopping around”.