Customer service at British banks is a subject of national ridicule.
Being a bank customer in the United Kingdom offers no special perks and customers are often treated as if it’s the bank that doing you the favor.
Opening an account for the first time is a notoriously difficult challenge matched only by the enormously difficult challenge of switching banks.
In fact, the disdain banks and their branch workers have toward their customers is even the subject of one bank's marketing campaign — that's testament to just how widely accepted it is that customer service is terrible.
Most notably, the Nationwide "bank manager" series of advertisements makes fun of the national perception that banks couldn’t care less about their people.
Watch this video of what happens when some mortgage customers ask for an explanation of the HLC charge.
That said, the Royal Bank of Scotland apparently took the lack of customer service to a whole new level.
According to this report in the BBC, RBS went so far as to take their services away from an existing customer.
Maybe I’m a little ignorant on the subject, but a bank returning a mortgage to a borrower doesn’t seem like something that happens here in the United States.
In the BBC report, Lawrence Tomlinson, an RBS customers of 20 years was told by the bank to take a hike after he published a certain piece of bad news.
“A businessman who wrote a government report that criticized RBS has been told he can no longer remain a customer of the ban.
In the 2013 report, Lawrence Tomlinson accused RBS of systematically wrecking viable businesses.
And in 2014, RBS deputy chief executive Chris Sullivan told him he would have to take his mortgage, business and personal accounts to another bank.”
RBS denies the claim, but the problem is that it’s totally believable that a UK bank would pull a stunt like that.
But, then again, if Nationwide is comfortable airing TV spots trying to capitalize on the ill will to UK banks, we shouldn't be all that surprised by the stunt pulled by RBS.