Banking Is Not About Relationships - It’s About Secrets

Britain’s Got Talent is running right now in the UK and I really enjoyed a recent comedic sketch by Baptist Minister Allan Finnegan. 

Here’s the script:

I’ve been married for thirty years, which means my love life is a bit like my bank card …

… contactless!

There are other similarities.

The fact that I don’t have to press any buttons, transactions are quicker than they used to be, and I’m constantly getting declined.

It wasn’t that way in the beginning. It was all welcome gifts, high interest and instant access. Now it’s flat rates, no interest and I need three to five days to get clearance.

It struck me, as I laughed at his lines, that this is the heart of what banking is meant to be about: relationships.

I’ve heard all my life about relationship management and the idea that, at the heart of banking, it’s all about relationships.

Relationships.

Relationships are like marriages. They’re tough. You have to work hard at them. It cannot be one-sided. It has to be equal and equitable.

Then, I think about the relationship I have with my banks. It’s not equal or equitable. It’s basically they keep quiet as long as I have funding, and then give me a beating the minute I need funding. It’s that old way of thinking: a bank is a company that gives you an umbrella on a sunny day and takes it back when it rains.

Now, this is inflammatory and anti-bank, and I don’t even necessarily agree with this sentiment, but it does seem appropriate at the point we are at today. Many banks are not offering umbrellas right now.

Relationships.

Maybe when we open a bank account, we should have a ceremony like the ceremonies people celebrate in church.

I, Christopher Skinner, take you, ABC Bank, for my lawful financial partner, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.

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