NatWest push Nora’s buttons

Nora is in what some might call her “advanced years”. She’s a widow and lives a frugal but content life in a village near Woodstock. Happy to partake in village activities organised for other pensioners, she rarely says too much more than hello and good bye. Nora is a mild mannered, sweet and good person. Nora’s done her bit for society and, for many reasons, she deserves to have society do a bit for her.

So how is it that NatWest’s decision to desert Woodstock and the surrounding community could drive Nora into doing something that is completely out of her comfort zone? She left a message on our answer machine! 

Nora’s first telephone banking call!

Oh the irony! NatWest and their parent, RBS Group, have a financial education community project, along with a plethora of other community projects, and yet they have never tried to “educate” Nora. Which means they do not have a cat in hell’s chance of ever getting Nora to make telephone banking calls, let alone do online banking. So NatWest must be very proud that they have pushed Nora’s buttons so far that when she read our flyer, that went through her door on Good Friday, she immediately picked up the phone to add her support to the campaign to stop this desertion and, therefore, she made her first telephone banking call – of sorts. 

“I’m very angry about this”: the message was hesitant. Name. Postcode. Then silence. Just when it seemed it was over, there it was, in as frustrated a voice as I can imagine Nora has ever mustered came: “I’m very angry about this”. Then in haste, down went the phone. How brave. Nora is my new hero.

Why must we do this? How many others like Nora are out there with no voice? No doubt feeling isolated, abused by powerful corporations that disrespect their years of loyalty and like they are no longer included in an ever changing society. They deserve to be represented and heard – don’t they?

What do RBS themselves say about this?  

This is from the very impressive Sustainability Report. It is bold, enlightening, honest and full of hope…how exciting…

Chairman and Chief Executive’s Foreword

In 2013, we were the least trusted company in the least trusted sector of the economy. That must change. We have to restore that trust and be valued by our customers, shareholders, society and our people. Delivering on our purpose to serve customers well will mean running the bank differently. In 2013, we began that journey.

Since 2009 RBS has been cleaning up the world’s largest bank balance sheet by
removing more than £1 trillion in assets. This was a remarkable achievement, born of
absolute necessity. We must now take on a task of equal magnitude: creating a stepchange in the customer service and financial performance of RBS, whilst meeting the needs of society and our people.

We have made a commitment to build a stronger RBS which will deliver sustainable
returns to our shareholders. We will be changing our business to make it easier for our customers to do business with us. We will also continue to meet our responsibility to society by managing our direct and indirect operational impacts, and contributing towards sustainable and responsible growth. Transforming our business will depend on a strong and engaged workforce, so we must make RBS a great place to work. 

It is our job to make sure our strategy translates into value for our key stakeholders.

Ross McEwan, Chief Executive
Sir Philip Hampton, Chairman

The way I read this they have let Nora and her kin down NINE times, maybe more, on these mighty statements. I have one word for these two extremely powerful men – embarrassing.

Addendum: Nora’s response has made such an impression on me that I am going to redouble my commitment to stop this from happening. You know the reason that big corporations do this sort of thing – i.e. write reams on how they are going to look out for the vulnerable in our society and then do exactly the opposite? It is because they have made the calculation and they have worked out that the positive PR this gives them far outweighs the tiny amount of bad press they get, because they realise that the vulnerable generally don’t complain. Basically, Nora is an equation to them, not a person. I think that is disgusting.