Service! What service?

In the past I have been a critic of the banks and the fact that they weren’t (and still aren’t) lending to potential franchisees to allow the franchise industry to flourish in the way it could.

Then, I changed my stance slightly as I saw evidence that the banks were lending to the better established franchises – although we need more liquidity even now.

But now I find that I have to tell yet another story of the banks’ shortcomings.

A friend of mine is buying into one of those well established franchise businesses – it’s so well established the major banks have a set package just for the franchise and the package is very favourable… or it bloody well would be if the bank could sort out its customer service.

Let me explain what I mean.

My friend needs to borrow £70,000 and is injecting £30,000. He has security and a clean credit history. In short (and to use cheesy management speak), he ticks all the boxes, it’s an easy lend and the bank can make a lot of money very easily on arrangement fees and interest.

He first mentioned to the franchisor that he wanted an introduction to the preferred bankers three weeks ago. The Franchise Manager was excellent and promised a call from the local lending manager later that day… here’s what happened next from the point of view of my friend (assuming that the call was promised on day one):

Day 1: No call received from lending manager.

Day 3: Still no call, so I called the manager to ask for an appointment. He said he was too busy for the next two weeks! He would send me an application form.

Day 5: Application form not received. I chased and the forms were e-mailed later that day. I completed the forms and returned them same day.

Day 10: No acknowledgement that the forms had been received so I called. The manager was out and I was promised a call later that day.

Day 11: No returned call so I chased. Manager promised to look at the forms later in the week but was very busy!

Day 14: No response and it’s now two weeks since I first approached the bank. Still no further on.

Day 17: Called and asked for an update. The manager is now on holiday for two weeks. He’ll look at my application when he gets back. It will be day 23 when he returns.

Forget it!

I’ll go to my own bank.

And this story is by no means an isolated one. And all banks are afflicted by the problem. Customer service, it seems, is no longer a priority.

Why can our banks never get it right?

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