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Merry Christmas or Season’s Greetings

Merry Christmas or Season’s Greetings, depending upon your personal preference.

To finish 2007, I thought I’d share with you a few of my nice little collection of Christmas ecards:


Eiger Systems



Diamond Consultants


If I missed you out, it’s either because:

(a) you sent me a real card, in which case thank you, I like people who live in the real world; or

(b) because I didn’t get your email or didn’t rate your ecard, in which case better luck next year; or

(c) you didn’t send me anything, in which case I think you might be considered to be a complete banker by me now.

Anyway, I thought I’d end the year with a small personal highlight which was a letter published in The Times* this year, received from an elderly lady and sent to her bank manager.   He thought it funny enough to send to the paper. 

Here it is:


Dear Sir,
I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I
endeavoured to pay my plumber last month.  By my calculations, three
nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque, and
the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it.  I refer,
of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my Pension, an
arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity,
and also for debiting my account with a £30 charge, by way of penalty
for the inconvenience caused to your bank. 

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and
letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal,
overcharging, re-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

now on I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.
My mortgage and loan payments will therefore and hereafter no longer be
automatic, but will arrive at your bank by cheque, addressed personally
and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.
Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other
person to open such an envelope.

Please also find attached an
Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to
complete.  I am sorry it runs to eight pages but, in order that I know
as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no
alternative.  Please note that all copies of his or her medical history
must be countersigned by a Solicitor, and the mandatory details of
his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities)
must be accompanied by documented proof. 

In due course, I will
issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in
dealings with me.  I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits
but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required
of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.  As they
say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further.  When you call me, press buttons as follows:

  1. To make an appointment to see me.
  2. To query a missing payment.
  3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
  4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
  5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
  6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
  7. To
    leave a message on my computer (a password to access my computer is
    required, which will be communicated to the Authorized Contact at a
    later date)
  8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7 again
  9. To
    make a general complaint or inquiry.  The contact will then be put on
    hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

While this may on occasion involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an
establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.

Your Humble Client   


On that note, see you back here on 7th January, and here’s to a great 2008.

Your Humble Client-Server, Chris




* for the true story about this letter, click here.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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