Tuesday, December 08, 2009

LLoyds Bank: the fat cats that got the sour cream

Lloyds Bank always enjoyed a reputation for being staid and stalwart - the last sort of bank that would do anything foolish. Indeed, when its champagne socialist Chairman, Victor Blank, did a deal with Gordon Brown over a cocktail party to save what amounted to the entire Scottish economy and any hope of Labour ever winning another seat in Scotland, by bailing out HBOS and its various allied disaster zones, there was an air of triumphalism that the cautious tortoise had won some sort of race with the reckless hares of the banking industry.

We now know rather better. Lloyds' many small shareholders reflected the prudent and conservative nature that the bank had always projected up to that point - and now after 85% dilution, they have been and truly sacrificed on the altar of Brown's cunning, and Blank's hubris.

Many Lloyds customers are similarly dissatisfied with the performance of the bank at the basic functions of being a simple bank, never mind all that nonsense about wheeling and dealing and saving nations - and political hides - including us. So TMP went googling for alternatives business account providers - and the site linked below at the top of the google search for reviews of business banking - and lead to this page where Lloyds is rated by its customers: "1.2 out of 5", with respondents complaining that they were not able to rate Lloyds service with "0" - because the range on offer was 1-5.

However, the same site largely confirms that the mainstream clearing banks are pretty much regarded as equally dire by all their victims. Alliance and Leicester appeared to score better than most and always boasts winning customer surveys - but a call through to them suggests that they are no better, and about to become fully "Santander, and thus imbued with the same "maƱana" attitude that now seems to blight O2 since Spain's Telefonica took it over.

So it's the devil we know for a while longer until someone comes along with a really different and better proposition. Most banks seem to think that free banking is a big deal; but trust us, you grotesquely overweight felines, we're perfectly happy to pay for competent banking - so try and see if you can still remember how to provide it?

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