Friday, February 24, 2006


The Co-op: Ethical but Incompetent

Can anyone recommend a bank with branches in London and a good ethical stance that isn’t the Co-op? Having been with the Co-operative Bank for a decade, in the last six months they’ve made repeated and ludicrous errors with my account that – if I didn’t check it regularly and wasn’t fairly articulate and assertive – would have cost me an inordinate amount of money I can ill-afford. This morning I discovered yet more mismanagement, and though half an hour on the ‘phone (including being hung up on by mistake) sorted it, I’ve now lost all confidence in their competence.

I don’t want to open an account with a bank I disapprove of, but let’s face it, if a bank is incapable of doing the ‘banking’ part there’s little point staying with them either. Last year it took several weeks, three branch visits and seven phone calls to resolve an issue that no two Co-op employees could give me the same explanation over; this morning, fortunately, the problem appears to have been corrected much more quickly, though I’ll wait to see if all the charges are re-credited to me as agreed before I swear to it. Again, though, none of the three advisors I spoke to this morning were able to explain or even hazard a guess as to what had happened to my account. It’s as if random chance is going wild in their systems.

There isn’t a ‘make a complaint’ facility on their website, and I can’t say I’m surprised. If it was easy, presumably they must be flooded with them.

More Lib Demmery later, but at present I’m too cross.

Alex, unfortunately they are all as incompetent as each other - whether right-on or rapacious baby-eating b*stards. So hold on to your principles & your co-op account but just keep 'em peeled when statement times rolls around.
I know it's still a part of the co-op but I've now been with Smile since just after it started and never had a problem that wasn't my own fault.

But you mention branches - if they're important to you then Smile isn't the job, unless you don't mind using your co-op branches.

For most other retail banking could Nationwide do everything you want? Still a full mutual and all that.
The Party banks with RBS, don't they?

I don't know what they're like ethically, but I think "better than most commercial banks" is the usual answer.

RBS owns NatWest, and there's no shortage of branches there.
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