Saturday, July 14, 2007
The Ulster Bank are crap. Simple as that. Rubbish at what they do. Complacent in a finally competitive banking market. Arrogant to their customers. And keen to rip them off at every twist and turn.
As of this moment, I have two current accounts (one of which I pay over €100 a year for the privilege of them minding my money in), one mortgage and a credit card from the Ulster Bank. I've already cleared the horrendously expensive loan account I held.
As of Monday, I'll have none of these things, hopefully.
Because the Ulster Bank are a bunch of shitehawks, and I've had enough of them living off my money and providing nil customer service.
I had a loan account with them for a car. The APR was well over 11%. Yet the bank were offering new customers the opportunity to borrow at 5.2%. Never mind customer loyalty, or the decades I've banked with them. I could go shove myself when I asked for my loan to be switched to the rate they were offering to dogs off the street. So I cleared the loan immediately.
I have a mortgage too, on a house with a low loan-to-value ratio. This means you get a lower interest rate. Only not with the bank that likes to say no. They want me to go out and spend hundreds on having the house professionally revalued before they'll consider dropping the 0.2% differential.
And this while they waive such requirements for new customers, and even bung them a grand as a bribe. A grand of course, they've made out of mugs like me.
Their credit card rates are particularly appalling. On my earnings, I should have been offered what they call their Zinc card years ago. This is the equivalent of a gold card - higher limit, lower rates for good customers. Did they offer it to me?
Did they fuck. They'd rather I stayed on their pissy rate. So it's been cut up and the balance transferred to the Halifax which charges less than half the Ulster Bank rate AND 0% APR on transfers for six months.
Now, you might be thinking what a mug I am for putting up with all of that for so long. But I'm the same as most people. I don't want to have to think about my finances too much. I'm complacent and just let things mosey along.
But when I recently had to urgently transfer funds overnight to another bank account, and paid the Ulster Bank a significant fee for doing so, and then they didn't do it, I got really annoyed. I got more annoyed when I had to go to the branch in person and sort out their mistake.
When I had to send funds abroad to pay for a holiday, and they didn't arrive for well over a week, again despite my having paid extra to ensure a quick electronic transfer, I got even more angry. Now they're threatening my fucking holidays!
But the final straw came yesterday when I had to rise from my sickbed and get a cab to the bank to pay an emergency tax bill. I got to the branch with minutes to go before they shut at 4pm.
However, the lard arse on the door had already locked it and refused to let me in, even though I was waving the time in his face. I called the branch manager from outside the door. She insisted to me it was past four, and during our conversation, I could hear the four o'clock news beginning on a passing car's radio.
The manager suggested that I could wait outside in the pissing rain for a half hour while she checked the CCTV tapes to see if they'd shut the doors early. I asked would she then let me in to pay my bill if it was established they had. 'No,' she said, of course. So why the fuck would I bother?
Wandering back into town I passed the permanent TSB. They were still open. So was the ESB. So was Halifax. I don't know who will get my current account business, but probably it will be one of them. I'll check the excellent Ask About Money website to see who are doing the best deals.
Probably your bank are shitehawks too. The Bank of Ireland and AIB have both been caught ripping off their customers in recent times. I recommend you pop along to Ask About Money and compare the rates and products there to whatever rip-off rates you're currently suffering from.
Then go to your bank and tell them to shove it. And move all your accounts. Like I'll be doing first thing on Monday morning.