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Banks strive to outsmart us – but it’s not a clever choice

It’s typical of the contempt for the little man in our banks

Banks must be possessed of some gene, the like of which is only seen in those of a self-destructive disposition.

How else to explain the mealy-mouthed behaviour of Lloyds in not awarding full compensation to victims of its PPI mis-selling because they would have bought a cheaper policy elsewhere instead?

You can picture the scene inside Lloyds HQ. They’re all sitting around a table, facing another PR humiliation – one costing the company an astronomic sum. Suddenly, some bright spark, the nerdy guy down the far end, shoots up his hand. He’s spotted a fiendish way in which they can reduce the pay-outs – by saying that as the hapless customer would have bought PPI cheaper somewhere else, they only have to pay the difference between the two.

Genius. Cue celebrations all round. No matter that the victim – sorry, client – did not want PPI in the first place, and was persuaded to sign on the dotted line by the Lloyds sales force. The wheeze they’ve come up with now is the same as someone demanding the money back on a car that was sold with a dodgy milometer, bald tyres and faulty brakes. The garage turns round and says, “well, you would have got a car anyway so we’ll only hand over the extra you paid by coming to us.” What?

It’s madness, and cynical. But sadly, it’s all too typical of the contempt for the little man that passes for customer service in our banks. Instead of confessing to flogging some rubbish dressed up as essential payment protection, and coughing up the full amount of compensation, they have to chip away at it

What’s sad about this is that even now, six years after the crash, when their greed almost brought down the world’s economic system, the banks still don’t get it. Their bonuses have aroused the ire of politicians and public everywhere. What’s their solution? Reward their people less? No, you must be kidding. They’ve only gone and dreamt up more opaque ways of paying.

Same here with Lloyds and PPI. Yet again, they’ve displayed their arrogance, highlighting their belief that they’re smarter than the rest of us. Stupid Lloyds. Anyone with a normal brain can see that this may make for good business but it isn’t clever.

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