By my own petard, hoist.

I hastened to the bank today to open an extra deposit account. I thought I’d pretty much anticipated the beaurocracy involved. I bought scads of identification. I had my ducks in a row, as it were. It wasn’t enough.

The bank officer wanted to do “relationship banking” with me. She wanted to talk to me about my aims and financial position. All I wanted to do was open an account. I knew which type, I knew the terms and conditions and I was ready to sign the form on the spot. But she wouldn’t let me.

“I’m sorry, everything’s on computer and I have to follow the procedure.”, she insisted.

So, we sat while she paged through screen after screen asking me questions – which I invariably answered with “I’m not interested in that”, or “I’m not giving you that information, it’s none of the banks’ business”. Which meant that she got rather sick of typing “not applicable” or “Not supplied”

Then we got to the section where she typed out the information on the account I wanted to open…. she selected the appropriate account from a list, then she opened up a paper brochure, and (with me watching gobsmacked), actually physically typed a whole paragraph of account description into a text field beside it. As if the bank didn’t know what their own product was about.

Then, she opened another program, with no link at all to the one that had just (not) captured information on me, and proceeded to enter all the account information again and actually opened the account.

It took a whole hour. I suspect if she’d just opened application no 2, I would have been out of there in 10 minutes.

Why did I title this post “my own petard”? Ironically, at IBM in the late 80’s and early 90’s I spent a lot of time working with National Bank developing just this kind of relationship banking cross-selling application. I hated myself at the time for doing it, and I’m not feeling any better about it now, I can tell you.


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