NatWest blocks funds for cancer patients

NatWest blocks funds for cancer patients

NatWest and its dictatorial, inconsiderate, put-customers-last approach leaves increasing numbers of customers stranded and now a cancer charity without funds and cancer patients waiting for treatment.

Last weekend, Natalie Kay and Adam Siddle featured in the Mail on Sunday’s damning review of how NatWest unilaterally and without any comment or explanation simply shut customer bank accounts.

Jeff Prestridge, Personal Finance Editor of the Mail on Sunday, described NatWest’s approach as ‘robot banking’ adding, “Usually triggered by computer systems … the closures leave customers bankless, bewildered and angry”. The article and the Editorial talk about Banks – especially NatWest – doing this with increasing frequency, with those targeted being given no explanations, no reasons, having to file complaints, and having their money blocked for 60 days or more. Prestridge adds, “In an attempt to catch the money launderers, innocent tiddlers are being ensnared,

Well, exactly this has just happened to me, but it had potential life-threatening consequences.

For four days, every time I went online to NatWest International, it said my account was ‘undergoing maintenance’. This is not unusual – NatWest have a consistent, and pretty awful record with Internet banking and computer systems. On the fourth afternoon and not being able to pay bills, I called one of the ‘customer service’ agents in Jersey. I have been with NatWest International for over 25 years and before that sister company Coutts. It’s all part of the highly incompetent RBS group who had to borrow billions of taxpayer pounds because they failed to see a financial crash coming in a market that was dealing in worthless mortgages.

That afternoon, I spoke to Kay, then Tay, then two others. All claimed they could not see my details on screen either, all claimed my account was blocked, with three putting me through to a non-existent fraud line (where a robot voice said “This line is no longer in use”) and the fourth personal service manager giving me two phone numbers, neither of which turned out to be in the slightest bit relevant to an offshore account.

The following week, I went through to NatWest International again and was told by another robot to press 3 for the Fraud Department. There I talked to Lizzie, who didn’t know of any fraud on my account, and admitted she couldn’t see my screen either. When I contacted personal customer service again, Kay said she had never heard of a Lizzie in Fraud and accused me of calling the wrong number!

A week later I got to speak to Angela Clark who is head of this shambles. She knew nothing. Waste of space.

Larry Brooks, the Chair of CANCERactive, then wrote to Ms Clark and called her, as I had earmarked funds for the charity – to pay people and fund a couple of patients’ treatments.

According to Clark, asking personal customer service representatives for 10 days if they regarded my treatment by NatWest as ‘good customer service’ is rude. However she said she had an e mail from ‘Fraud’ and would call me the moment she put the phone down to Brooks.

A week later, I had a nameless minion from the Fraud Department call me in Thailand to tell me that the issue was not being dealt by the fraud department and she couldn’t tell me any details of what was going on. A further week and a girl from NatWest in the Isle of Man sent me an e mail; I called her. Eureka - She could see my screen; I had £3400 in the account. Someone had sent me a small check from Australia, but it had been recalled. “Yes, it’s my book sales lady sending me a repayment of printing costs. I told her to recall the cheque as you have my account blocked”. We agreed to send the cheque back down under. 10 days later it has not been received.

A week later, more than 5 weeks in all, I still have no clue what this is all about. I cannot access my account – it’s still ‘Shut for maintenance’ - despite two formal ‘complaints’ in writing, which ‘will be replied to within 10 days’ I have received nothing. But reading last week’s MoS, I discovered that apparently, your bank can shut your account without giving any reason, and then deny you access to your cash for 60 days.

NatWest is apparently so bad at doing this Adam Siddle has set up a complaints Website Petition.

When he spoke to Customer Service Representatives at NayWest and asked what he was supposed to do to feed his 4 children during Covid and without access to his own
money, he was told to ‘borrow some money’. It’s disgraceful.

Clearly, NatWest somehow believe it is their money not yours. And all this in the middle of a global pandemic. Adam has chased NatWest, filled in a ‘Funds Release Form’ and is now waiting for his money to be returned and has been told it could take a further 60-90 days.

As far as I am concerned NatWest have, in effect, stolen my money. They have still made no comment on which person I should be talking to; I have received no e mails, and no phone call explaining exactly what is going on. Nor has the charity who wrote to NatWest.

Please be clear - I don’t want any decision reversed. I wouldn’t dream of continuing to bank with NatWest. They have shown themselves to be completely incompetent and totally shambolic with no one having the faintest clue what anybody else in the Bank is doing. But then, they have been so unsuccessful in recent years they are still owned 70% by the tax payers of Britain.

I’m lucky; I have other income. I’ve paid people helping the charity; and for two people needing some help to fund treatment. But be clear – and I think all readers of this blog would agree – NatWest’s silent but dictatorial approach to what Siddle describes as ‘thousands of people’ – is despicable and I urge all readers to move their accounts
(personal and business) out of RBS.

I am also going to contact the Advertising Standards Authority; I know them well from my former life. “Legal, honest, decent, truthful” are the requirements of all advertising in the UK. And NatWest’s current message during Covid is “We’re here to support you”. An empty claim if ever I saw one.

I will be sending this blog to the Chairman at RBS. If his CEO can’t run the place properly, the buck stops with him.

For information –

Mail on Sunday[email protected]
Petition NatWest -

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