Express & Star

Andy Richardson: Freedom at last as my de-banking is completed

The last rites have been read. The end is very much nigh. And soon, we will go our separate ways, both breathing a sigh of relief that it’s all over.

I know how Nigel felt...

I’ve been de-banked – or, rather, my doing-quite-well-thank-you-very-much 5pm-9pm endeavour has been struck off. Like Nigel Farage, but without the whiff of UKIP or Brexit, I’ve been de-banked. And I really couldn’t be happier.

The bank that’s been predictably inconsistent, tediously unreliable, that’s patronised and disrupted through a gruelling period of unhappiness and unprofessionalism, is bidding adieu. And, unlike Nigel, I’m thrilled.

I had, of course, already taken the precaution of moving to a different bank, before the bank decided to withdraw its services. Hurrah. Thanks for doing that. I only wish it had been sooner.

And when I receive the sombre notification, I took a screenshot of it and sent it to my mate, along with two laughing emojis. Ain’t no debanking like a was-hoping-it-would-happen-debanking.

My accounts, I should add, are in perfect order. There’s money in the bank, not squillions, but enough to keep a pack of wolves from the door. And my credit rating is 100%, with never a bill unpaid, a direct debit missed, or an episode brought about by poor financial management – or, I should say, my poor financial management.

There was an episode where the bank refused to honour a direct debit with a courier, which represented about 0.001% of the funds in my account. I never quite got to the bottom of that; it was just another brick in the wall in the relationship of mistrust and unease that had built up, like the silent grievances that accrue in a bad marriage.

There’d been a frozen account, twice – and the second time came when the bank had written to me, bunging me £150, and apologising for its own poor service.

Here’s what the complaints investigator, said about his own colleagues: “Consequently, you had to spend more than four hours on calls with rude and incompetent advisors to have the block removed from your account.”

I did, yes, and the funny thing is that by the time the letter arrived from you – late, as ever – the bank had once more blocked the account, only to remove the block when they realised there was no reason for doing so.

“As an apology for the inconvenience and frustration caused here, I have credited your account with £150.”

Thanks, and could you get your poorly trained and, as you say, incompetent and rude staff to stop messing things up? No, of course you can’t, though you won’t have to.

Because before being debanked – whoop – I’d already opened an account and pressed the ‘transfer’ button, to move everything across. The bank, of course, blocked that to, in a fit of can’t-live-with-you, can-live-without-you madness.

So I started the process manually, moving money from my own account into, umm, my own account.

The bank didn’t like that and applied another block, until I endured a tedious, two-part, one-hour call with an unhelpful man, who asked me to tell the truth about, um, transferring funds from my account to my account because I was so fed up with the bank’s – as the complaints investigator put it – incompetence, that I’d decided to leave. The unhelpful man didn’t like that but without a stick left to beat me with, authorised the transfer of funds from my own account to my own account, while failing to realise that he was being the very reason why I was leaving.

And so that’s it. I have a new banking app. I am moving every last penny from the bank that doesn’t want me, and that I don’t want, and when Saturday comes, I’ll have to find something else to rage and froth about for the purposes of what I’ve always called: Man Column.

There’ll be no more rude and incompetent staff, no more £150 sorry notes, no more trying to pay for something with funds in my account only to find they’re frozen, like one of Putin’s mates.

I know how Nigel felt – I just wonder why on earth he wanted his old account back. I’m utterly thrilled to be free of mine.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.