Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dilemmas for a Grey Girl in a Grey World

Today's Bank of Piggy post comes from Pike Place Market in Seattle, a place that I'm really excited that I'm going to be introducing to Louis. It's a wonderful vibrant place that has stalls groaning with beautiful fresh produce and crafts and wonderful little cafes. I've had fish and chips there that match the best I've eaten in Britain. To add a bit of drama the fishmongers put on a bit of a show whilst selling their wares, throwing around the fish that they sell with a bit of funny banter thrown in whilst they do so.  Heck, it keeps those tourists like me happy!  I've also just found out that, in amongst the shopping areas, there's low income housing with community space. The money popped into Rachel, for this is what this apparently famous pig is caused, goes towards funding some of the social ventures that go on in this shared space.

Believe it or not this is not a travel post.  I've diverged for a good long paragraph.  No this one is about First Direct, part of the HSBC group, whose alleged tax dodging shenanigans are a far cry from the ethically based venture that I've just spoken about.  Now I've banked with this company for years.  Should I stay or should I go in a pique of protest about this poor behaviour? My dilemma is that they've given me excellent customer service and I'm not alone in my experience.  Consistently they top customer service ratings charts.   There's no waiting about for hours for poorly trained people to answer my calls.  Their friendly, knowledgeable staff are there in a flash and its rare that I'm moved between departments.  In all the years there's been one cock up and it  was sorted out immediately.

I written before about the dilemmas posed by personal dealings with big multi-nationals.   In this ever shrinking world we have little choice about doing so and indeed often actively favour the big guys. What I'm trying to work out in my head is whether HSBC has really gone too far this time. Then I'll feel obliged to take my custom elsewhere.  There's an inner reluctance to do so though. I see the potential for enormous amounts of stress if my telephone experience is poor and there's loads of hassle involved with transferring accounts.  And after all that there's no guarantee that underneath it all, my newly appointed bankers, even those who profess to be ethical, will be behaving themselves!


  1. It is a dilema and I'm first to admit I usually put my needs first if inconvenient to make more socially beneficial choice. Working on balancing action, lack of, and guilt.

  2. Having also banked with HSBC for many years, I considered this problem too and concluded that as my account does not have much money going through it (!) the arrangement works more to my benefit than the bank's. Secondly, the nice local people who I've known for almost 40 years are probably as horrified as I about the disgraceful international goings on. Thirdly, it's my guess that the other major banks have simply not been exposed yet! So I'll stay put!

  3. I have banked with First Direct for twenty years and have never had a problem with them and since their call centre is in England, I won't be moving on.