Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Chancellor banks his hopes on service from days gone by


Its official – I have now entered a time warp where shoppers have gone back to having food delivered by grocery vans, china tea cups and “vintage” florals are the rage and now there is a call for the Dads Army style of bank manager, in the form of Mr Mainwaring, from Chancellor George Osborne. He has cited a few movers and shirkers in the banking world with two new banks as leading the way in face to face banking, harking back to a time when the bank manager personally knew all the customers and businesses who banked with them.
Consumers need bank managers to offer personalised banking
This came about as a result of a question put to him about the decision of Lloyds Bank to axe around 1,000 jobs, which are mainly staff working as small business advisers. Advocating the character of Captain Mainwaring as the role model for bank managers, the Chancellor also singled out Metrobank and Handelsbanken as good examples of personalised banking. Banks should concentrate on building on better relationships and getting to know their customers, said Mr Osborne, just as in the days of Dad’s Army, when the bank manager was at the very heart of local life.

I pondered this statement whilst upcycling (another word for reusing) an old chest of drawers destined for the eldest progeny’s first house, and sorting out some recherished, vintage (second hand in other words) curtains she could use for her bedroom. Not that long ago when I opened my first bank account, decimalisation had been around for a little while, and the bank manager we had, did know all of his customers. The banks concentrated on just the one job in hand which was looking after you and your money, the energy companies were all nationalised and there was only one train company and they managed to run on time without costing you an arm and a leg.

The rag and bone man came around every Saturday and we recycled everything possible that hadn’t been put to good use by other members of the family. Most of us went around wearing hand knitted jumpers and cardigans, we had to cycle to school because we only had one car and my father wouldn’t consider giving us a lift, and all the food we ate was cooked from scratch and we grew our own fruit and vegetables.
Slow down to let the next retro bandwagon through
Now here is another generation hooked on the Great British Bake Off and Kirstie Allsopp entering every possible craft and trade fair going, the number of cyclists on the roads are growing, veggie gardening is fashionable and our food consumer habits are changing to the extent that we are going back to the smaller shops and shopping around for a better deal and good quality. As usual this is not going unnoticed by the politicians who no doubt will be leaping on the next retro bandwagon as it rolls into town – what will be the next new trend I wonder? If you have any ideas then let us know- we’re listening!

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