Switching banks

a china piggy bankFor reasons of location accessibility I decided to switch from the Cooperative Bank in the city centre to Lloyds Bank which has a local branch within walking distance of my house.

Not only do the banks claim switching is easy, which hasn’t been my experience, but now Lloyds is axing thousands  of employees and closing the majority of local branches.

I know we can’t turn the clock back and that many people bank by mobile or online, but with VI or other disabilities it can be easier to bank face to face with a real person.  I should also add that I do bank online for basic transactions.

For the switch I visited my local branch with identification and they very helpfully filled in and explained the switching forms.  So far so good.  I could not have asked for better service.

A few days later I received two new cheque cards in the mail and an empty envelope which had been slit open and the contents removed.  For safety, my local Lloyds immediately stopped the cards and informed me that new cards and PINs would be issued within the week.  Again I could not have asked for better help.

When I received the cards and PINs my branch helped me register them and change the PINs to ones I can remember.

I simply don’t know if I  could have negotiated this process online, but it would have been difficult.

Banks please note these points below:

1.  People with VI cannot always access banking forms because of small print and complexity.

2.  If telephone banking is to be effective, the telephone operative needs to be specifically trained to deal with people with disabilities.

3.  Cards should be different colours so that they are easily identifiable. I accidentally cut up the wrong one because I could not differentiate it from the defunct one.  I have to mark each of my debut cards so I can tell them apart.  Barclays Bank provide this facility but as I mentioned in a previous blog post, their customer service at my local branch was poor when I made enquiries.  Please note that staff need special training and information.

4.  Numbers on the cards should be non reflective so that the can be seen with a magnifier.

6.  All paperwork should be available in large print ..At present some is and some isn’t.

7.  No unsolicited advertising material should be sent as this may be ignored and difficult to distinguish from important documentation.

8.   There is no substitute for a physical banking presence.

I would like to commend the service I received from the staff at my local Lloyds Bank .  Sadly, according to today’s news, this will not exist for much longer.

As a rider, I would not want to go back to the intrusive old-fashioned bank manager!  Thank goodness the days of Captain Mainwaring are gone.

Do any of you have comments on the reduction of face-to-face banking experiences?

AOB (Any Other Business!)

Visited the German Exhibition,  Germany:  Memories of a Nation, at the British Museum in London.  A fascinating walk through history.  Durer’s imaginary Rhinoceros and the Gutenberg Bible were my favourites.

Visited the Tower of London to see the garden of ceramic poppies installation in the dry moat .. more than 800,000 representing the fallen Commonwealth soldiers.  I know that this installation has been very controversial, but for me and,  I think, most of the crowd, the feeling was one of immense sadness, both historical and contemporary, at the grief war brings.

This entry was posted in Art, Birmingham, Communication, low vision, technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Switching banks

  1. Liz Dexter says:

    I think banks really do need to pay more than lip service to accessibility, especially now issues are more widely known and discussed, and especially when they’re considering closing branches. Maybe mobile banks (like mobile libraries) could be a solution.

  2. Like everything else I think it comes down to personal service which varies from place to place. The technology also varies between banks and it has to be said that Barclays seem to have got this right. I dread the loss of local banks and like the idea of a mobile service as long as it was available on a frequent and regular basis. Good idea! Thank you for your comments.

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