As usual, last Monday I visited my local branch of Nat West bank to pay in a couple of cheques and withdraw an amount of cash to see me through the week. Adhering to Covid guidelines, I patiently waited my turn to be grilled about my reason for visiting. The outstretched hand of the griller (a guy who perpetually tries to convert non online users) pointed to the automatic machines with a patronising offer to ‘show me how they worked’. I’ve held an account with Nat West bank for over forty years and I know full well how their equipment works but I prefer to use the cashier desk and have my paying-in book stamped correctly, instead of odd bits of paper that easily get lost. Besides, I wanted to draw out an amount of cash, some of which I needed in coinage. Not to be overridden, the griller insisted there was no one on the cashier desk so I would have to use the machine to pay in and to withdraw the money I needed so that he could change a portion of it into the coinage I required. My frustration was rising but at the time words failed me.
However, on his return I asked if this was a forerunner to cashier desks being permanently unavailable, and if so, I will be changing to a bank who offers a better service to customers who choose not to bank online. His reply was very concerning. He agreed it was a forerunner to doing away with cashier counters and added that all banks were going down a similar route.
I contacted Nat West Customer Services immediately I got home and relayed what I had been told to a guy called Stephen from Belfast who emphatically denied that Nat West had any intentions of closing cashier counters in their banks. So why would a Nat West employee tell me this? According to Peter, some employees become overzealous in encouraging clients to move online, and he added that he would be contacting my local branch about the matter. I too will be making my voice heard when I visit on Monday.