It looks like I may have finally won one of life’s little battles.
Last year Ulster Bank announced they were thinking of leaving the Irish market. Only thinking, mind you, nothing definite. As the months rolled by, I didn’t see any official announcements, just whispers in the long grass. Finally they confirmed the rumours and said that yes, they were indeed leaving. So what next?
What would have been nice and decent would be a letter telling me they were closing and how sorry they were to put me in the position of having to make alternative arrangements after my forty or so loyal years of custom. It would have been nice if they asked me to let them know my choice of alternative bank and they would then transfer everything over for me. After forty years, that’s the least they could do.
Did they do any of that?
I still haven’t received a single communication from them informing me of their plans. No apologies. Nothing. All my information has come via the radio, television and the Interwebs.
So I made my choice of an alternative bank, then the fun started.
You have no idea how messy a job it is to switch banks. Opening the account alone was a battle. You would think they would be glad to welcome me as a new customer but it transpired that I was just a nuisance. It involved many tortuous phonecalls with a maze of pre-recorded selections and two nightmare trips to Skobieville before they would proceed. I had to produce ridiculous amounts of proof that I am who I say I am. They just kept quoting their irritating mantra about “regulations to avoid money laundering” as if I were a member of the Kinehan Gang or a Russian Oligarch. Even now, having jumped through all their hoops they have got it wrong – I asked for a joint account but they set up a single one just for me. Herself is not amused.
The next phase was an important one. I had to inform all my income sources about the new account. The main one was RTE. I phoned them and they said no problem. Just email us the details and you’ll be sorted but not until the end of April [this was the beginning of March]. Next I had to inform two different sections of Social Welfare. I did one by fighting with an abomination of a website for the best part of a day’s hair tearing. The other section was a blank wall. After numerous phonecalls [that were recorded by some bloke who spoke very slowly first in Irish then in English for every fucking menu choice] I finally discovered they had different rules from the other section. This involved a load more photocopying and another trip to Skobieville followed by another bulky letter to them.
I received the final letter today. The nightmare section of Social Welfare has informed me that my payment is going to the new account! Indeed, I checked and there it is. It was paid in this morning. I know the other Social Welfare payment has been going into the correct account for some weeks so that’s fine. I’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to check RTE but I’m sure that will work.
So that’s that. I have cleared all my Ulster accounts into the new one [bar a few bob in case there is a direct debit I have forgotten]. My only task now is to remember to check I am using the new debit card online instead of the old one.
So Ulster Bank, you can go and fuck yourself.
Thanks for fucking nothing.