Bank CounterOK, so this might be a bit of a petty blog entry, but I want to have a rant about that most simple of everyday tasks: going to the bank. I do most of my banking online so manage to avoid bank branches whenever I can, but Friday was an exception – I had to go to a branch of Barclays and a branch of Nationwide.

Gripe 1: Staff at the desks, but they don’t serve you
This is probably illogical, but I find it deeply frustrating. Bank staff have plenty of tasks to do other than serving customers, but why do they do those tasks at the public counters in full view of all the customers waiting? At Nationwide I was in the queue to cash a cheque. One counter was open for service, yet three members of staff were sat there shuffling papers, chatting amongst themselves – completely oblivious to the annoyed queue of customers waiting. The same happens at the Post Office as well. Can’t they just put a blind down, do the work elsewhere, or just say ‘I’ll be with you in a moment’?

Gripe 2: Staff who have no idea what their jobs are
This seems to happen all too often in Barclays. I arrive at the branch and speak to a personal banker: I have a letter from Barclays central office explaining how I can close my Euro account. Can you do this for me? No, you’ll have to queue at the counter. I queue at the counter. First person I see: oh, no, sorry, you’ll have to see my colleague at counter 5 for Euro accounts. Person at counter 5 then tells me: oh no, you have to speak to a personal banker. When my jaw dropped quite a way she got the message, and I managed to get the counter person to speak to the personal banker and manage to resolve the issue. I imagine that staff recruitment and retention in London banks is quite tricky. So why don’t they have some sensible systems in place to allocate who does what?

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