Archives for posts with tag: Bank

Opening a bank account in 21st century Ireland is a tortuous exercise. Let me put this another way: starting a relationship where you are trying to be a customer of a financial institution and give them your money so that they can make interest off it in return for a meagre few services is a tortuous exercise.

I know there are money-laundering regulations to be complied with, and processes to go through, but come on, there has to be a better way. I won’t tell you which bank, but they’re all pretty much the same. I was recommended by my accountant to go with a specific one, which I did, but these were some of the hoops you have to go through to become a paying customer. As someone who advises companies on how to work hard to attract companies to you, I’m always boggled by how difficult life is made for someone who wants to become your customer.

I suppose it’s because they’re all as bad as each other, and they’re pretty set in their ways, but if there’s one industry that’s prime for disruption, this is it. Anyway, here are some of the things I find amazing:

– You can’t apply for a business bank account online. The lady I spoke with in the bank said there’s more paper involved these days than there ever was

– You can’t take the application form out of the branch

– You have to make an appointment to apply in person (I’m not making this up)

– If it’s a limited company, all of the directors need to attend in person, to be verified in person for ID and address. For small companies who have maybe two directors, one of which is a spouse working somewhere else, this means they need to take a holiday to get to the bank, for the next reason

– The bank’s opening house are 10am til 12:30pm, and 1:30pm til 4pm. On Mondays they push the boat out and stay open til 5pm

– Once you’ve negotiated the application process, which has to be done in real time, your time, with the bank person, they send it off to head office, where it takes two weeks – yes, two weeks – to process

As the Irish would say, it’s mad isn’t it? Except the Irish simply shrug and get on with things.

As I said, ripe for change, this industry…


The size of a company seems to be inversely proportional to the quality of service it provides. As markets mature you get consolidation, resulting – in the opinion of this writer – in less choice for the customer and more chance of being lost in the system.

As a case in point I offer you my recent experiences trying to set up online banking for an account I’ve not used in a while. I’ll spare you the details and give you the shorthand. First I had to wait two weeks while they changed one letter – a typo – in the address details they had on file, which of course required a written letter. That done, the website didn’t recognise my bank details so I couldn’t apply online.

So I applied using good old fashioned snail mail, filling in an application form and posting it. A week later, a letter arrived which I expected to be my activation letter. No, it was a letter saying my paper application had been rejected because the address I supplied didn’t match the one on file. Two calls to the bank revealed that – no – the addresses did match, and they would look into it and call me back. The back and forth so far has been between at least 5 different divisions of the bank.

I should mention that this an account I have had for over a decade and which I originally set up over the phone.

Passing my local branch the other day, I decided to pop in and see if they could help. Lo and behold, the system they accessed showed an address that I haven’t lived at for six years, even though I’ve been getting statements to my current address for the entire subsequent period. While the bank hasn’t yet sorted out my online access, my view is that the problem lies with a defunct account I might have had that was with a previously independent bank that the behemoth bank has acquired.

Can you imagine what the back end systems and customer information are like after a generation of M & A activity? It’s hard to imagine how many gremlins are lurking among the mainframes. In this era of multi-channel dealing, where we may choose to interact with suppliers through a variety of media and devices – witness my current issue which I have tried to address by paper, face-to-face, phone, web and chat – they don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of catching up and competing.