The abysmal state of banking in the UK

At the moment I am in the process of fleeing from the island of Ireland. It is a gorgeous landscape, but since the government ‘rescued’ the banks, the country is on a downward spiral to a slow death. So I decided to move to the neighbourhood island and thus settled in the UK.

Heaven, I thought Ireland is stuck in the last century. But Britain is even worse.

Banking is a highly complicated matter here. It may be OK, if all you ever do is pay in money and take out paper cheques. Paper, for heavens sake! Paper! As if the electronic revolution had never existed! I assumed that civilized nations agreed on no longer using paper as means to transfer money in the last century! I was so wrong …

But the worst part: Try to make or arrange an international payment. It feels that the British people think that outside of the island there is nothing noteworthy. And you feel this – every day.

Except for the UK branch of the Bank of Ireland, I have not found a single bank that allows you to send money overseas via their internet banking. If you want to send money (and haven’t died of a heart-attack after seeing their ridiculous fees for this service), you have to go into your local branch, fill out a long winded paper form and then hope that the money travels well.

Receiving money is even more “fun”! At least with Lloyds TSB there is no sane way to get your IBAN and BIC out of them. You have to either go through a painful telephone system entering number after number just for getting to the main menu. Screw that! Or given that they shielded themselves from Telephone enquiries, I can walk into a branch, assuming I hit their tight opening times. Organize your life around the needs of your bank! That is so wrong!

I would change banks if the other ones were not equally bad.

For me that means now: In a few weeks time I will make a trip to Belfast, walk into one of the Bank of Ireland branches to open an account with them. Then at least I can get modern internet services for a UK bank account and have means to send money around the Euro-zone without having to pay extortionate fees.

Britain, when did you loose the “great” in your name?

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About Thomas

After working as all-hands guy and lead developer on Pentaho Reporting for over an decade, I have learned a thing or two about report generation, layouting and general BI practices. I have witnessed the remarkable growth of Pentaho Reporting from a small niche product to a enterprise class Business Intelligence product. This blog documents my own perspective on Pentaho Reporting's development process and our our steps towards upcoming releases.