NatWest public charter advert

NatWest has apparently made a pledge to the the country’s most helpful bank, as Paul McGann keeps telling me.

But this isn’t some advertising bullshit of the kind at which banks excel. It’s ‘a real commitment’. Well, that’s nice. But by whose standards, exactly, is NatWest going to be the most helpful bank on the block?

There’s some stuff about flexible opening hours and shit, which is certainly helpful, but how to measure something as nebulous as ‘helpful’?

How helpful is it, for example, to charge me £20 when I go overdrawn, despite the fact there’s no significant cost to the bank of me going overdrawn by a few pennies? That’s very unhelpful to be quite honest.

So was the period in the early part of this decade when, once a year, NatWest would simply cancel all of my bank cards without warning. Very unhelpful when stuck on a weekend break in the Lakes without cash.

You know what’s phenomenally unhelpful? The complete inability to move your money around, pay bills and the like via electronic banking unless you have you own titting card reader.

Extending my overdraft to a whopping £2.5K when I’d asked for a hundred quid seemed helpful at the time, but it wasn’t in the long-run. It was more helpful to NatWest, thinking about it.

I don’t really object to any of this in terms of this silly ad; as I’ve said before it’s a bank’s prerogative to fuck you every which way.

It’s this ludicrous idea that, up and down the country, there are people trying to judge whether NatWest is more helpful than Barclays, or Halifax, or Lloyds TSB. It’s just inane.

By the same token, I could make a pledge to the nicest person in my circle of friends; Piers Morgan could pledge to be the smuggest **** on telly and Monica Galetti could pledge to adopt the ‘most surprised’ facial expression on a cookery programme.

A panel of judges will be required, including Stephen Fry and John Barrowman. An audience that boos or cheers whenever another fatuous ‘helpfulness’ target is achieved or missed. A rosette pinned to the chest of a bank clerk in Frome.

And somewhere a lonely printer in a back room at a NatWest branch is helpfully printing off another £20 bank charge.