Banks don’t want you emailing their staff

You went to the local branch of your bank and spoke to a really helpful person there. In the few minutes you were with her you established a relationship with her. You felt comfortable and confident that she would take ownership of your request. But before she could deal with your query, disaster! You left some critical information at home.

Can I email it to you later you asked her?

Silly question.

Have you ever tried emailing someone in the branch network? Chances are the frontline staff don’t have external email. What sort of business is it that doesn’t give its staff email and the ability to communicate on a personal level with its customers? the same sort of business that has centralised all its customer contact and put it behind IVR.

So you give up on email.

Can I give you a ring with the details later you asked her?

She shakes her head. She doesn’t have a number. you see the branch doesn’t give out its number to the public. Go through the 0845 central switchboard, and let someone in the call centre pass a message to the person in the branch. (With no formal process to get this to happen, good luck if your messages ever gets passed on).

In fact the only way you will probably get a message to the person you talked to this morning is if you send a fax. One step removed from the telex, two away from the telegram.

What is it with the banks that they don’t want their staff to have external email access?


  1. Tom Koschate · Wednesday, 2 July, 2008

    “What is it with the banks that they don’t want their staff to have external email access?”

    It would be futile anyway. The chances of the same person being in the same role at the same branch in six months approaches zero, and you just know that they wouldn’t know who’s taken over their accounts since they left. When I bought my house a number of years ago, the file was handled by three different mortgage officers in the interval between first applying and finally closing the sale.

  2. Josh E. · Wednesday, 2 July, 2008

    Very interesting assertion. And why couldn’t she email me all the info I need to carry out my action without starting over next time I come back to the bank? The salespeople at the Apple store can email me a receipt…why can’t bank tellers do the same?

  3. Bob H. · Saturday, 5 July, 2008

    I asked my (Canadian) bank(s) this. They claim it comes down to confidentiality — and since email is hardly secure, I suppose it does.

    On the other hand, two of my banks had a little declaration I could sign (in person), which I did, after which they are allowed to communicate via email. I don’t know about in the branch staff, haven’t tried, but I do all my off-line banking through ‘personal’ reps anyway. I have to say, doing everything via email is great.

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