I would have been proud to put together for my banker
Bank manager on receiving end.
On the basis that I don't need an overdraft just at
the moment I am venturing to print this letter this week.
It's an actual letter sent to a bank in the United
States. The bank manager (bless him) thought it amusing
enough to have it published in the New York Times. (I've
left most of the American spellings also).
Bear with it, as it's a fraction longer than my 17
readers are used to and some of the words are a bit on the
adventurous side for this column also!
I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which
I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations
some three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting
the check and the arrival in my accounts of the funds needed
to honour it.
I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of
my entire salary, and arrangement which, I admit, has only
been in place for eight years. You are to be commended for
seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting
my account by $50 by way of penalty for the inconvenience
I caused to your bank.
My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident
has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. You have
set me on the path of fiscal righteousness.
No more will our relationship be blighted by these unpleasant
incidents, for I am restructuring my affairs in 2003, taking
as my model the procedures, attitudes and conduct of your
very bank. I can think of no greater compliment and I know
you will be excited and proud to hear it.
To this end, please be advised of the following changes.
I have noticed that whereas I personally attend to your
telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you,
I am confronted by the impersonal, everchanging, prerecorded,
faceless entity which your bank has become.
From now on I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh
and blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will,
therefore and hereafter, no longer be automatic, but will
arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and
confidentially to an employee at your branch whom you must
nominate. You will be aware that it is an offence under
the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.
Please find attached an Application Contact Status which
I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it
runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about
him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.
Please note that all copies of his or her medical history
must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory
details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets
and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.
As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Let me level the playing field even further by introducing
you to my new telephone system, which you will notice, is
very much like yours. My Authorised Contact at your bank,
the only person with whom I will have any dealings, may
call me at any time and will be answered by an automated
voice service: Press buttons as follows:
1. To make an appointment to see me.
2. To query a missing payment.
3. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
4. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending
6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at
7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access
my computer is required.
Password will be communicated at a later date to the Authorized
8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1
9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will
then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated
answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve
a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration
of the call. This month I've chosen a refrain from
The best of Woodie Guthrie'. Oh, the banks
are made of marble, With a guard at every door, And the
vaults are filled with silver, that the miners sweated for.
On a more serious note, we come to the matter of cost. As
your bank has often pointed out, the ongoing drive for greater
efficiency comes at a cost which you have always been quick
to pass on to me. Let me repay your kindness by passing
some costs back.
First, there is a matter of advertising material you send
me. This I will read for a fee of $20 per page. Inquiries
from the Authorized Contact will be billed at $5 per minute
of my time spent in response. Any debits to my account,
as, for example, in the matter of the penalty for the dishonoured
check, will be passed back to you. My new phone service
runs at 73 cents a minute. You will be well advised to keep
your inquiries brief and to the point. Regrettably, but
again following your example, I must also levy an establishment
fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.
May I wish you a happy, if eversoslightly less prosperous,
Brought to you courtesy of Eddie Coffey from the Carlow