I wandered the streets of London imploring every bank I could find to give me an account. Nationwide said no. Barclays said no. Royal Bank of Scotland said no. Even some weird savings and loan said no.
After all of that, I sheepishly entered an HSBC and asked if they could maybe one day give a bank account to a poor immigrant like me. They said, "Of course, friend".
So I stayed with HSBC. Over the years, I saw all of these enticing offers from competing banks with their high interest rates but I said, "No. HSBC was there when I needed them. I'm sticking by my buddies at HSBC".
Then in about 2008, HSBC reduced their savings account interest rate from 1.5% or whatever to something like 0.01%. I'm not even joking. That was the rate and it's still the rate today. Their current account rate was reduced to 0% and that's still the rate today.
Hey, HSBC is hurting. They can't afford to give those juicy 1.5 interest rates any more. The Asian billionaires who own the bank are at risk of having to sell one of their private islands. I'll stick it out.
Every time I go to deposit a cheque at this bank (because most of my clients are living in the distant past and still pay by cheque) the bank teller says, "Why don't you put this money into a saving account? You're getting 0% interest." I tell him that the difference between 0% and 0.01% is effectively nil so not worth the effort.
They also repeatedly try to flog other services whenever I go there. Want a mortgage? A loan? No, thanks. Just deposit the cheque, please.
Then I went to my local branch (the only branch in the city, by the way) with a question. I had an overseas client who was asking for some bank international account number that I didn't know. So this rude woman tells me to take a seat and somebody will speak to me.
Thirty minutes go by. This woman is just avoiding eye contact with me. She's standing there doing nothing. At this point, I have tens of thousands of pounds in the bank. I just need this number. Then she goes on break.
So I go downstairs to talk to my friends the bank tellers. I explain what happened with this rude woman and they apologies. They give me the number in about 10 seconds.
Wby on earth was I told to sit and wait to speak to the guy who does mortgages? Why did this woman go out of her way to avoid eye contact with me? Why did she refuse to do any work at all?
But this is a bank who gave me an account when nobody else would. I'll stick with it.
Then I stop getting statements in the mail. For years, the HSBC website would nag you to switch to paperless billing every time you logged in. I always declined.
Then one day, I stop getting statements. So I send the good people at HSBC a strongly worded complaint. Are you not getting enough money from my 0% account to pay for postage?
They send a reply in the mail BLAMING ME for not reading the most recent change to their terms and conditions where it states that by agreeing to continue to use internet banking you're also agreeing to use paperless billing. But since I've switched back to paper statements, they're happy to continue to send paper statement.
Are you fucking kidding me? They're giving 0% interest on my tens of thousands of pounds and now they can't even send a fucking statement in the post every money? They took away the one thing that they provided - mail. That's all that I was getting out of this account. Free mail every month.
So fuck them. I opened an account with the Royal Bank of Scotland. This isn't just any bank. This is a royal bank. Royalty have their current accounts there.
I remember Royal Bank of Scotland being the absolute worst, rudest, pieces of shit when I went there all those years ago to try to open an account. But they do have a savings account that pays a whopping 0.6% interest on balances over £25,000 as long as you don't make any withdrawals in the month. It beats HSBC's 0%.
So see how it goes. I applied online and was accepted. There's also apparently a £150 switching bonus. These are all all piddling amounts which is why I didn't really care about the 0% interest but taking the statements by mail away by hiding it into some terms and conditions that nobody reads? Fuck HSBC.
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