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My favourite banking screw up stories

There are so many examples of banks messing up customer accounts around the world that it would be tough to know where to start … except that as I live in Britain, that’s pretty good place to begin.

There media here love to regularly report banks messing up, and so here are some of my favourites.

Bank Demands Mum Put BABY On Phone

A stunned mum was ordered to put her six-month-old BABY on the phone to speak to a telephone banking operator.  Jenny Nicholls, 31, had called the Halifax to talk to customer services about an error on her baby son's savings account.  But the operator insisted he could only deal with the account holder – in this case, six-month-old Harry.

Church bell ringers told to fill out US tax form

In an appalling red tape case, bell ringing group had to fill out a 'Fatca' form, obtain a reference letter from the vicar, and declare they had no nuclear power connections.

'When were you founded?' bank asks church

A small church treasurer was asked to complete a whole set of forms with questions including: “What is the weekly footfall?” (This is not known because the church usually remains open); “What is the average 'spend’?” (church collections are anonymous and always erratic); “What is the church’s postcode?” (the church doesn’t have a letterbox or a postcode and the correspondence goes to the appropriate church officer); and “When was the business founded?” (some time before 1244).

Families let down by banks over Power of Attorney

The 89 year old in a care home whose children were told he had to come to the branch to open an account, even though they had legal power to do this for him (this is a regular issue).

Red-tape overkill: why your bank assumes you're an evil dictator 

Members of the House of Lords had a good moan about their personal finances, and with good reason as a new European directive aimed at reducing money laundering would categorise all British parliamentarians as “politically exposed people”.

Of course, all of the above are more to do with regulatory reqruiements than with banks pliceis but hey, try telling the customer that’s the issue.  The real solution is effective identity management, which still proves to be as elusive as finding Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev.

About 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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