Tuesday, 18 September 2007


A few weeks ago, JP Rangaswami (9th Sept 07 below) replied to a comment I had made on his blog about 'experts'. Basically he said he'd had enough of tech. 'experts' - what he wanted, more and more, were analysts he could 'trust'. Fortunately he put me in that category.

A few days ago the crisis of 'trust' blew up at Northern Rock just as I went on holiday. I have quite a lot more than the FSA guarenteed limit of c£30k so I felt a bit uneasy. As the days went by I began to feel positively sick. I tried every hour of the day to access my account on the Northern Rock website but failed - even at 3.00am in the morning. There seemed little I could do but wait and hope and pray. Last night HM Govt offered to guarentee all 'existing' deposits at Northern Rock of whatever value. I could breathe again.

There will be acres of news coverage around this story so I won't duplicate these. However, the episode really has smashed the faith I had in internet banking. I do everything on the internet and had never doubted its integrity before. But it was the fact that I couldn't get through to my account that really upset me. I think if I had been able to gain access immediately I might have left my money untouched. The fact that I couldn't drove me demented.

I also realised that I had no record of how much was in my account. I don't tend to print out a statement on every transaction - why should I? If Northern Rock's website had crashed forever, there was no way I could prove how much they owed me anyway.

I am very unsure how I can or will change the way I bank. But I can understand the feelings of the many retired people who were scared stiff that they would lose all their savings. They were right to panic. If I had had a branch-based account and hadn't been on holiday, I might have queused up to withdraw my money too.

Regardless, I - like them - have lost one thing in the last few days...TRUST. I doubt if it can be recovered. Certainly not for along time.

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