It’s not you, it’s me.

Its-Over

I’ve a confession to make. Despite having worked with several financial services clients and having slightly above average financial literacy, I’m your typical, lazy, apathetic consumer. Shop around for the best home loan rates? Sounds like a good idea. Compare insurance quotes between companies? Sure, I’ll look into it. Consider splitting your KiwiSaver investment between two funds to maximise returns? Uh, yeah, totally…

In reality all my financial management products – transaction and saving accounts, credit cards, car loan, mortgage, house, contents and life insurances, and KiwiSaver – are with one company, the same bank I’ve been with for 25 years. And whenever I need something, I just go straight to them – no questions asked.

I know I’m increasing my risk with my laziness and I know it’s not something to be proud of but it’s just how it is. I’m not a very high maintenance customer and I just want the basics. Don’t stuff up and we’ll all be happy.

So it surprises even me that I’m now in the process of moving all my banking from the bank I’ve been a loyal customer of for quarter of a century.

What happened? Did they invest my money in some crooked scheme? Did they cancel my credit card? Rip me off on my mortgage?

Nope, nothing like that. Their sin is even worse: they don’t even know me.

This bank has been part of some of the biggest events of my life. At 5 years old I opened my school savings account. At 11 I got my first eftpos card which gave me 24/7 access to my hard earned (and easily frittered) pocket money. They were with me when I started Uni, they set up my tertiary accounts and gave me my first credit card. My first car was purchased with a personal loan from them. They’re part of my retirement savings with KiwiSaver. Most importantly, they were the business I went to when I took on the biggest debt I will ever have – my home loan.

With all this data and history you’d think they’d know me pretty well, right? Apparently not…

It started when I bought my first house. I was full of excitement and nervousness at this momentous occasion and naively assumed that my good old friend the bank, knowing me as well as they did, would be just as excited as I was. After all, their ad campaign at the time was about celebrating everyday successes. Perhaps we’d receive a bottle of bubbly on the settlement date to celebrate? Or a lovely bunch of flowers to proudly display in our new home? Days passed and nothing. Maybe it was a card that got lost in the post? Nope, nothing. “It’s OK,” I thought, “they’re probably just really busy”.

Then earlier this year I received a call out of the blue from my new ‘personal’ banker. Oo-wee I thought, my old friend is finally recognising me as a ‘highly valued customer’ (their words). But this was a shallow gesture. I don’t hear from my ‘personal’ banker and my aforementioned apathy means I never contact her. So when I recently received a survey asking about my experiences with my ‘personal’ banker, I took the opportunity to tell my old friend that actually I was a little bit hurt and disappointed. They didn’t seem to value the years we’d been together.

Their response to me pouring my heart out? My ‘personal’ banker sent me the following email:

Thanks for taking time to do a survey with <Bank> recently.

As your Premium Manager, my role is to ensure that you get a superior personal banking service from me and assist you by making your banking work in the most effective and efficient way .

You are welcome to contact me on XXXXXXX or you can e-mail me at XXX@XXXXXX.XX.XX if you have any inquiry regarding your banking.

The final straw was a few weeks ago when I received an email from them about ways to get KiwiSaver Member Tax Credits. I’d already automatically qualified for the maximum credit based on my annual contributions (and given they manage my funds, I would sincerely hope they knew this) so the email content was totally irrelevant to me.

But to add insult to injury, at the bottom of the email there was a section entitled ‘We may not have met properly yet’ and inviting me to come into a branch and introduce myself. WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE MAY NOT HAVE MET?! Outside of family you’re my longest running relationship!

So I’ve had enough. I’ve been a model customer for 25 years and I don’t even want to think about how much money they’ve made out of me. But have they done anything to recognise this? No. A small gesture at any of those massively influential times of my life would have forever endeared the business to me.

The sad reality is, I know that the only time they’ll actually recognise my value is when I break the news to them that I’m moving on. “It’s not you, it’s me. I deserve better.”

Stayed tuned for their reaction on the break up…

Author: Amy Watson, Managing Partner