Money 🎶 money 🎶 money 🎶

Gibraltar has a lot of things for a small place. What it doesn’t have is a lot of banks.

Or rather, it doesn’t have a lot of banks for plebs. If you have a couple of hundred grand to plonk in a current account then there is Lloyds TSB International, Jyske, Hambro, Schroeders, and various others.

When I first arrived there was NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Barclays. One could open a current account with these. Within certain parameters of course. RBS told me I needed to be a resident first.

Barclays on the other hand, would waive the residency requirement if one could stick a suitable wedge in a deposit account.

I never did find out what NatWest required. Patience, presumably, judging by the lengthy queues out of the door on occasion.

First RBS went. Then Barclays announced it was closing its doors to ordinary customers, although it would keep some sort of service for clients with mega bucks. At this point, NatWest stopped taking on new customers.

So, we have all the Barclays customers and any other new people without a bank. But wait! The Gibraltar government steps in to announce a new local bank. Trouble is, setting up a new bank takes a bit of time.

Barclays extended its proposed closing date into this year, presumably to time in with the new bank setting up.

The new bank started giving appointments for clients. There was a HUGE Internet form to fill out before one could get the appointment, although to be fair, it was next day appointment service. But, it was miles away. Well, twenty minutes walk away for a person without a rubbish ankle. Apart from anything else, there was no option for Ms on the form. What sort of antiquated thinking is that?

Fast forward to the end of May when Barclays closed its doors and the Gibraltar International Bank opened for business in rather tastefully restored premises.

First appointments for new accounts? Mid August!! A couple of days later, that had become September. And that woman was running a business taking hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds a day. Last I heard it was January, and that was a few weeks ago. Could be February or March by now.

Ever tried going back to a cash economy, cancelling all your direct debits, having to pay bills on time in person, not having the safety fallback of a debit card on journeys so needing to carry sufficient cash for emergencies? Having to open new building society accounts to draw out cash but can’t use it like a current account? Nightmare. Absolute nightmare. Let alone Barclays giving us the wrong closing balance as they didn’t check a cheque in transit so we ended up having to repay them money. Which then incurred charges because it was overdrawn, although they eventually disappeared. Just as well. They wouldn’t have got paid.

Banks are an evil necessity. Although after living surprisingly painlessly in a cash existence for some months, I am thinking maybe they aren’t necessary after all. No PIN number. No card to lose. No bank to visit to draw out cash or deposit cheques/cash.

In the UK cheques were due to be phased out by 2018, but opposition to this, not least by older people like me who really can’t remember 21 million PIN numbers or secret codes for this that and the other, put the nail in that coffin and it seems they are to remain. For now.

The earliest cheque in the UK dates back to 1659. So they’ve been around for 350+ years.

In 2008, 45,000 trees were cut down to produce cheques. It’s always good to know the government is concerned about trees isn’t it? Let’s cut to the chase. Getting rid of cheques would be estimated to save banks £200 million by 2018 and large companies and the public sector would save £750 million. So much for tree hugging.

Maybe bringing back cash should be an option. Although it’s not quite so easy to track what people are doing. We wouldn’t want that, would we? After all, it’s still the biggest currency option according to this table:

image

From UK Parliament files.

Back to the new Gib bank. The government has been criticised for turning part of a cultural complex into a bank. Ever since I’ve lived here, the beautiful Georgian building used originally for military purposes has been run down and neglected. Now look at it.

Night view
Night view

Even more importantly, it’s just across the road from me. Like all governments, this one makes some arsey decisions. But, setting up a bank, for a population of 30,000 people, refurbishing a historical building and keeping it in daily use, is to be applauded. Let’s hope it lasts.

Boo to Barclays for withdrawing from Gibraltar, boo to NatWest for refusing to take new clients. Boo to banks generally really. Nothing new there eh?

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99 comments on “Money 🎶 money 🎶 money 🎶

  1. What an absolute nightmare. Banks are such horrors, yet as you have said, once their useful services have been removed, people are left with a thousand extra headaches and worries. I like the building, and agree – “Boo to banks generally really” – and would add a ‘hiss’ to boot!

    – sonmi and her button collection upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    • No banks on the cloud eh? It is a lovely building. And, although I didn’t think to take photos inside, that is gorgeous too.

      Banks, can’t live with them, can’t live without them :(

      I grew up with a cash rich family, my mother loathed cards and cheques, so I guess I’ve always found cash easy.

      But I still haven’t worked out why banks get bailed out when they have stuffed it up and the rest of us don’t. I am sure there is a reason. I just haven’t found it.

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  2. I have not had a proper bank account for over 30 years now. Here we have Credit Unions that perform many of the same functions of banks but with less hassle and lower fees (but fees nonetheless).

    For a while, I tried an Internet-based bank but got concerned with the security issues. Regardless, we live a fairly cashless life (except we always have cash with us) as I prefer using credit cards for everything. We write a few checks to government agencies and to one or two companies we use who do not have auto-pay options.

    We have debit cards we never use and we have ATM cards we use once every six months to keep active.

    It did not occur to me that a place like Gibraltar might not have financial institutions to cater for its residents. It does not sound like a place with a healthy economy, but then I have zero familiarity with it, so I don’t know. A comparison of the cost of living between the US and Gibraltar shows a mix with many big-ticket items being costlier and some necessities being lower.(http://bit.ly/1N9TZJX)

    For an expat the cost of living in Gibraltar is ranked higher than many other places:
    http://www.xpatulator.com/cost-of-living-review/Gibraltar-Gibraltar_84.cfm

    All this was interesting to read, but I’m not likely to consider Gibraltar as a potential residence . . . and the Gibraltarians . . . Gibraltarites? . . . whatever; people who live in Gibraltar rejoice.

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    • I think we had a sort of Internet bank thingy years ago, but it got closed by them due to lack of take-up :D But I do agree with you re security.

      Basically neither current accounts or building societies (like credit unions?) charge fees for personal accounts. At one point, banks gave interest on current accounts. Those were the days.

      The economy here is strong. It used to be based on the mil, but is now largely finance, gambling, tourism, shipping etc. But, it is a strange economy.

      Those figures are way, way out. The biggest cost in Gib is accommodation, because as with all small places, it’s at a premium. But a two-bed flat in my block can be had for £700/800. Not £1300. That’s mega bucks in posh land.

      Coffee isn’t £1.75. It’s £1. Depends where you go. Public transport is free with a Gib ID card. Etc etc.

      Might make a future post out of it though :) thanks for the links.

      Liked by 1 person

        • That’s fair enough, and I don’t know if they are averaged either. Averages don’t help anyone. But still, I can provide an uptodate one. Question is, did you think the American costs were remotely real? I mean how big is your country? Costs have to seriously vary across the USA.

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        • The US prices are not out of line with my experience (except booze and cigarettes as we don’t partake and hence don’t know).

          I think the numbers are averages and based on the last 18 months (see the bottom of the list for the stats).

          That alone can change a lot of the numbers as the economy fluctuates. And yes, the US is a big country, but it’s sort of understood that as you go to the boondocks certain things are cheaper (lodging, food) and others are higher, gas, utilities.

          I would assume these numbers encompass a large percentage of what one might encounter and blend those variations into a reasonable estimate.

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          • And being a much, much, smaller place it’s easier to price everything. Seriously. It was an interesting read. You will always win out on fuel. after all, isn’t that why America invariably invades half the world? :) [ducks]

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          • Oh, we have plenty of oil that we don’t really have to invade anywhere.

            Besides, America just as often invades in hopeless attempts to fix what Europeans mucked up in the first place, usually at the request of said Europeans. Also, because Europeans don’t have the balls to actually do anything and take care of the problems they created.

            Frankly, I and many others would be very happy if we let the world take care of itself, you know, like before America got called upon to “fix” things by whiny and forever complaining European wish-they-actually-where first-world-countries. But, that’s just me.

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  3. Oh my, how crap is that!!! And the ankle is still troubling you? That sucks even more.

    Am with the Santander, and they piss me off on a monthly basis. They keep calling me to sell me crap I don’t need, but are unable to provide simple services I do want. And their charges just keep going up and up :(

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      • I was going to stay with Barclays (more out of habit than anything) but was then told that Barclays in Spain and Barclays in the UK are two entirely unconnected businesses, so I could not just transfer my account. I then went with the Santander, assuming that their international presence made them “friendly” towards complicated expat financial affairs. How wrong can you be…!

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        • Barclays. Tell me. Did I have an account in the UK? No. But I was a shareholder. Doesn’t count. Weren’t Santander the ones who took over Abbey (National)? Can’t remember which appalling Spanish bank we used, Atlantico I think, became Sabadell. Introduced charges without telling people so we closed it muy pronto. Shitheads.

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          • Yes, Santander did take over Abbey National, and totally confused my late mum in the process, she ended up tying her savings up in a five year bond in her late 70’s 😡

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  4. I would love to live without banks….but divided as we are between three countries and three currencies I’d be hauling a lot of suitcases across the Atlantic.

    We use cash as much as possible…but we always have done so. I try to avoid using my cards after two run ins with La Banque Postale who managed to allow others to buy products on my card while not honouring my airline ticket purchase ‘because it was an unusual payment’…..

    And for once a government doing something useful…setting up banking facilities for its citizens.

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    • Well you could always drop the Atlantic (suitcase). I’m not even sure if I like the Euro convenience. Takes away from the excitement of currency change. I’ve still got lots of defunct notes of course.

      I never did work out if VISA reimbursed me for an erroneous train ticket, in France of course. They cancelled my card not long after. Presumably because I wasn’t using it enough. Or something.

      Yeah. A bank for the people. Most odd. Must want to get re-elected.

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  5. Heh, I used to work as a bank teller for what is now a medium-sized bank here in the United States. It was the least satisfying job I ever had. Still, they’re kind of a necessary evil, at least until we can figure out ways to move money without needing an account somewhere.

    At any rate, does the U.K. have credit unions at all? I’m kind of surprised I don’t hear about them in Europe at all. Over here, banks hate them because they can lend out money at lower rates, have fewer restrictions on minimum balances, and can offer higher rates for deposit accounts. The restriction for credit unions generally used to be that a person was a member of some kind of organization, lived somewhere, or had a family member affiliated with a specific group.

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      • So you have to have an altar boy to get one then?

        Sorry, I couldn’t resist the obvious joke.

        Do you know if Britain has different kinds of banking establishments? Because in the U.S., credit unions and banks are handled separately.

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        • Hahahahaha. Yes, you do.

          And yes again, the 18th.c. Friendly Society movement saw the introduction of mutual societies and credit unions, which both are member owned, but which come under different regulations to so-called High Street banks (HSBC, Barclays etc.) which sell debt far in excess of their assets. The latter came into existence as a result of the early goldsmiths of London being the only places with safe vaults where people could store cash and valuables. These goldsmiths began to offer promissory notes against the collateral they held for customers in their vaults. In time, these promissory notes became equivalent to what we now think of as bank notes. Also, these nascent banks began to introduce the so-called fractional reserve system of banking in which only a small proportion of the debt they sold had to be collateralised with real assets. And that’s how all the trouble started.

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        • I think credit unions are more widespread over your way, basically the alternative to banks in the UK are building societies, mutually owned, for what that’s worth. However years ago they were able to basically offer banking services eg current accounts, cards and cheque books, so in practice the difference between the two was minimal. For personal accounts there are no charges.

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          • . . . and so are New Labour hopefully. My own old dad was a true blue (like your own?), and since mum opposed absolutely everything he thought, regardless, she sort of sided with the left, but didn’t really understand what it meant. They’re both long gone now, to either sides of heaven, of course. Anyway, Corbyn is in with a chance, so at least we’ll have an opposition party at last. And who knows, maybe a nationalised railway which, apparently, even will have women only carriages! What do you think of that idea?

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          • Actually my dad was moderately radical. His family was traditionally liberal although him attending a Trade Union course at Cambridge was not popular. I followed in those footsteps and went to Ruskin on a TUC course. My mother was the true blue, again, familial. But broadly speaking, I think my parents were caught up in the fear of communism bogey that seemed to infiltrate everywhere post WWII.

            Corbyn is interesting. And old for these days! I agree with a lot of his views. After all he cycles and is vegetarian ;)

            Women only carriages? Good question. In India, I enjoyed them. If it would mean lots of screaming kids then definitely not. And I’ve used women sleeper compartments in Spain. With non-screaming kids. But I’ve slept in mixed compartments too. Not the same atmosphere, less friendly. I’d probably say, no in England, yes abroad, but I’m talking sleepers and how many night trains does the UK have :D

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  6. No banks? That is so different from here. In one direction, within 4 blocks from me, there are at least three. And in the other direction, about 1 to 2 km away, are two — one is a branch of the closer banks. And the hours of at least one are pretty convenient. When people purchase a property, do they have to use cash, too? Or is it possible to get a mortgage? And, if so, how long does that take?

    I love the idea of free transit for locals, though. Here it costs what I consider a fortune. Mind you, if it were free, it would instantly be overloaded with passengers, I think, because some of the car commutes are really long, and transit, when it works well, is able to cut some of those times down.

    And yes! to the refurbished building and actually using the beautiful thing, rather than watching it decay.

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    • You are all questions Diana!! No, a property is usually a bank cheque to the solicitor who handles your purchase. Hence needing a bank account. Yes there are mortgages, and tax allowances for a mortgage and also for first time buyers in Gib. No idea how long it takes.

      It doesn’t matter that transport is free, people still drive :( The worst times on the buses are school times.

      Inces House looks good doesn’t it? I was amazed wandering out one night to see how lovely it looked.

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      • Oh dear. That was only 4 questions. If you think that was a lot, I will have to watch myself. I have (literally) won awards (somewhat tongue-in-cheek ones, mind you) for my questions, and one of my friends calls me “Queen of Questions,” so you got off easy. However, I am going to take a risk and ask more: When there was/is no bank in Gib for the common folk, where did the money come from? Did everyone get paid in cash? .

        One of my many brothers is convinced that the monetary system will collapse in a few months. One of my fewer sisters is a banker. We tend not to discuss banking when we get together — at least not if we can help it.

        These comments have been informative, and interesting, although there are a few points that are over my head. The only thing I’m rather puzzled about — and this is an aside — is a comment about America having to jump in to fix European problems. As a neighbour of America, I’m not aware of too many occasions this has happened.

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        • Don’t know what everyone else did, but we just closed the account and took the cash out which kept us going, plus partner got a couple of jobs which paid him cash. One of the building societies here doesn’t deal in cash, but another one does, so that would have been an option, but using it like a current account would cause problems. Common folk in construction get paid in cash, again, don’t know about other people. In fact a lot of the common folk are with NatWest presumably because a) Barclays was snooty and b) more relevant, quite difficult to get an account with.

          I find banks an annoying pain. The closure has been incredibly inconvenient for people, I don’t know how businesses have managed. It’s one thing running a cash float for a household, but running a business 5/6/7 days a week and no bank?

          Don’t know either. Marshall Plan? Which Europe would have been better off without.

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  7. It all sounds so frustrating where you are. I do like what they have done to the military installation. It looks nice. Sometimes I think I should go to all cash, but that would be almost impossible as everything seems to be online these days. I have been with the same credit union for 30 years. I love them. Such nice people, never had a complaint about them, always helped me out. Hope it all gets worked out for you and your banking (or lack thereof) issues.

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    • Frustrating wasn’t the word. But yes, haven’t they done a great job? I hate seeing good buildings rundown and unused. Daren’t take pix inside but equally as good with stone archways still visible. Cash works. Depending on your life. Lack of money is worse than lack of banks!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I still have to get my head around no banks, no credit cards, etc. We seldom carry cash here but I have to pay the gardener who comes from another African country in cash because he has no bank account.

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  9. As you will know Australia is awash with banks. Because they make so much money off us. And with credit card debt… last Friday nights news mentioned the incredible amount of $33 billion. I can’t complain though, with very few minor exceptions I’ve found the banks easy to deal with and very convenient. I think the government as well wouldn’t encourage a cash economy as financial transactions are so much easier to quantify electronically.
    But even cosmetically the new Gibe bank premises are lovely. Reminds me of the old bank buildings here, some of which are still in use, somehow when a visit is required so much nicer than the new generic shop fronts.

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    • Can’t remember who we banked with, he seems to think it was ANZ. All I remember was insisting on a joint account in separate names. Not easy in 1985. But still, I won. After that, life was easy.

      The new bank is beautiful. I really think it is a great use of old premises. A bank sees far more use than cultural premises. People go in every day. It’s a real working building. And, at night, it’s beautiful.

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  10. We haven’t used cheques for years and saved zillions. On the other hand we pay our bills by hand, withdrawing cash from an ATM, walk to the post office and get the bill to be scanned and just cough up the cash. I am surprised how many banks there are even in a small community that we live in. They must be doing OK.

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  11. Very interesting reading! The building is absolutely gorgeous! Better it’s a bank than neglected by the military or whatever, huh?! :)
    It is an interesting thought, going back to cash. I’ve often thought about it. We’ve made ourselves so vulnerable with all our electronics.

    Banks are a necessary evil — nothing could be more true. 2011 on my first visit to Sweden, after eight years away, I learned that banks there don’t handle cash anymore!!! It took quite some time to convince me that this was true, not some type of bizarre joke. I still haven’t managed to fathom the whole concept of it — what they do in certain situations et cetera.

    One bank was clever enough to stick with cash, and they have gained lots of new customers … elderly people in particular. The following year, when I went back, I moved whatever little money I had in a bank there, to this other bank. If for nothing else, so in protest. https://www.credit-suisse.com/ca/en/news-and-expertise/news/banking.article.html/article/pwp/news-and-expertise/2015/03/en/sweden-we-dont-accept-cash.html

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  12. Wow! You took amazing shots of this beautiful architecture and I am glad they fixed it up, even if it is for a bank. I also hope this bank will be much better than the ones you used to have. And you’re so lucky to have it just across the street from you. The night shot is so gorgeous!

    I also have Abba’s song in my head now. Thank you for the earworm. :lol:

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    • Thanks Sonel :) it’s a lovely building so easy enough to photo. It’s really nice to see it so well used now with people in and out all day.

      The other song I’d thought about was Money makes the world go round from Cabaret. But Abba’s was shorter to write :D

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  13. Great way to use an old building. Should be international law – no new buildings may be built until all derelict, historic or not, relics of the past are restored and occupied. What a lame thing to complain about. Clearly not enough going on if that is a focus in local news…anyway, good that you are able to appreciate it. We are currently relocating to Bahrain for a bit so doing the whole bank / expat thing too. Quite a movie! Good luck with yours.

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    • It’s just the opposition party to the current government. That’s how politics work in Gib. Complain about trivia. Good idea though, I’d totally agree with that. I hate soulless new buildings anyway.

      Bahrain!! Eek!! You’d better blog about it. Or else. :D

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      • Mmmm Blogging about Bahrain. Dust and Malls….and nice enough people. Will have to settle in a bit and hopefully the inspiration will come…I understand the appeal (it is rated by the international expat community) but coming from the South East Coast of South Africa with holidays in Mozambique and then relocating to here – is bad planning really ! Fortunately I am an optimist and am sure that I will come to find my way…good to be together as a family for a bit though – which sort of over-cedes everything else at the moment.

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        • Yes, it’s not a good comparison. Not sure Bahrain would attract me too much. Dust and malls :( specially the malls. You can usually find something good in most situations, I say, most. Still, I’m looking forward to some photos and your impressions. Big move indeed.

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  14. I just followed that link to the cashless Sweden article. Scary stuff — primarily because there is such potential for abuse. IF certain groups become the target of persecution, it would be so easy to cut off the supply of money to them. IF cybercriminals break into the data banks, life could be made very difficult for pretty much everyone. And even without either of these things happening, having every single purchase or transaction monitored and collected is a great invasion of privacy. Even having my pay deposited directly to my bank account (no choice in this) went against my better judgement — although it has been a great convenience, too. I rarely deal in cash these days, but may have to start again, just to support my belief that cash is necessary and good. (And I also like cash — the physical look and feel of it. Some bills are beautiful. I fell in love with a 100 Guilder bill many years ago, and would have loved to have kept one — but couldn’t justify the “cost” of doing this.)

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    • Fascinating read I thought. I totally agree with both points about potential for crime and invasion of privacy. If you look at the table I included the actual figures for cash usage more than exceeded all the other forms of transaction combined. Figures from 2009 were projected so it would be interesting to see actual ones and if cash usage has actually declined.

      The trouble with dealing in cash is that it’s too easy to forget your PIN when you do need it! My mother much preferred cash, my parents were of the generation that got debit cards, never used them but wrote their PIN numbers down for all the world (well, me) to see.

      Cash is a necessity here. A lot of people expect to be paid in cash, and one of the builders merchants only gives trade discount for cash. Some places have stopped accepting cheques eg the water/electricity payments office. I’m lucky in terms of block management that some residents pay their charges in cash, so that at least gives me a cash flow for paying bills.

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  15. where I live we call it mattress banking. No PIN, no cards and no queues. The biggest risk is rats and fire and robbers.
    Banking is big business here. They make so much profit. When I was younger, only moneyed people could have accounts at Barclays or Standard Chartered Bank. All this has changed. They are so many banks to chose from, maybe you could come and bank in Nairobi.
    Putting old buildings to new use is always a great idea which should be commended instead of letting them be run down

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    • There’s probably quite a bit of mattress banking goes on here too. Not in my flat as we don’t have a mattress though.

      Banking in Nairobi! Ha! Do they deal in sterling?

      Gibraltar governments are a bit cavalier with our local heritage which is extremely silly as the older buildings are part of the attraction of the place given its colonial history and mix of cultures.

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  16. How popular are peaceful organized civil protests among Gibbies/Gibraltarites/Gibraltarians? Are protests socially acceptable in British colonies? HAH! lol ;)

    P.S. Admittedly I know nothing about Gibraltar’s banking or civil laws or social nuances for “organized” change. :/

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  17. The idea of a cashless society has been bandied around for ages and haven’t we all heard the doom and gloomers prophesising an Orwellian type future with numbers or codes indelibly stamped somewhere about our person.
    How easy the walls come crumbling down, as John Cougar Mellencamp once sang.

    I cannot stand the idea of any bank having the right to debit my account.
    I don’t mind using cards but in all honesty quite like the idea of cash.
    If it weren’t for the threat of theft from mugging and/or burglary I would prefer cash any time.

    The restoration looks lovely.

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    • Thanks Ark, it does look nice, although the construction expert moans about the poor quality at the side and rear, as per usual. He’s even more picky than me, OK, AS picky as me.

      I have yet to write about the new Gib Orwellian ID cards. Do you have them in SA?

      We don’t have a bank acct in Spain. Utilities, electric, water, Telefonica, plus govt have a nasty habit of depleting your account. Many Spaniards we know use a Spanish building society, with a basic book, and keep a minimum balance. Others, like us, pay cash for bills. Can’t do that now for utilities, they insist on bank payments. One of the perks of being here for years.

      Cash is much cooler. I suspect I/we spend less (if that’s possible) using cash.

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      • I’m sure the quality of the side and the rear are just fine. Remind the construction expert he should consider himself lucky.
        ;)

        We have ID books and ID drivers’ licence cards. Haven’t heard if we will be getting proper, full on ID cards yet.

        You’re probably right about spending less when paying in cash. One tends to be less blasé than when handing over the plastic.Fortunately, we can still pay cash for pretty much everything as far as I am aware, and I suspect this is because the bulk of our population is, sadly, still ”catching up”.

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        • He finds fault with everything ;)

          Can’t say I’m in favour of ID cards but they are a virtual necessity in Gib if you want state health care and free travel on the buses or free entry to the national park etc etc

          Theft/mugging crime is low here, I think there’s some tourist pickpocketing goes on in summer, but a lot of people here still use cash anyway.

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          • Need proof of where you live, either rental contract or own your own house, can’t remember if we needed a copy of deeds.

            Either a permanent contract of employment, or enough money to fund yourself plus private health care.

            We worked on a house that was either three or four bed, pool, pool house, double garage, sold for around £1.4 mill.

            One-bed kennel flats like ours at more or less the bottom end of the market start around £130/140 grand. Rental starts around £700 a month, maybe slightly less with deals. It’s a strange economy and a strange housing market – shortage of space = relatively prices compared to the average income. Many Gibbos just can not afford to buy.

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  18. In the small town that we shop in there are almost as many banks as eating places and there are a lot of them. That building is beautiful and the night picture is breath taking. Hugs

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    • Thanks Mags. In our Spanish pueblo there are as many banks as they are in this city, ie two. And two supermarkets. And six bar/restaurants (I think, as we don’t go). Which makes it all the sillier that there is a bank shortage for ordinary people in Gib.

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  19. The entire banking industry has gone to the dogs in the modern era. From inside, I remember when a healthy profit was made on giving lots of personal service, charging minimal fees, and paying interest on any balance no matter how small.. It might take to the following day before you could get an up-to-date balance on the account, but the handwritten ledgers worked amazingly well. Now we have all the benefits of progress …

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    • Totally agree. When I was a kid I loved going to the bank with my dad. Beautiful wooden furniture, no screens, no queues – people did what they do in Spain still, which is to look and see who was before them, and take their turn appropriately. One of the reasons I’m griped about Barclays is that a lot of the cashiers were very good and of course one gets to know them. If you didn’t have ID with you they’d just write KTM (known to me not an airline) on the slip. Very old fashioned but it worked.

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  20. Bloody hate banks… like you said, an evil necessity. What a nightmare chasing up direct debits and changing payments! I feel for you there. I’ve been ripped off by banks too many times… don’t give ’em the satisfaction anymore. Checks? What are those? Last time I wrote a personal check was mid 90’s USA. They really need to drag their arses into the 21st Century if they still give out personal check books! I like using a debit card and cash. Don’t use credit card, loans and all that jazz… bad choo, choo. I won’t even accept an overdraft. All money in my account is my money, not borrowed.I used to have an overdraft, but you become to dependent on it. I don’t like being dependent on anything, hence the change. :D

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    • The USA actually uses cheques more than the UK as I found out when reading around, hence the proposal to phase out cheques in the UK. Barclays provided cheque books, but on request only, and Gib Bank provides them for businesses, obviously a charge, £15 a month for business account I think, and I think the oldies account comes with one. Oldies = 65+ so no, I don’t qualify.

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      • That’s interesting about the USA… I’ve always been ahead on things. :) … but honestly mid to late 90’s I quick using them. I can still see corporate uses for them, but beyond that. This day and age we should be doing away with paper trails. …save more trees! :)

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  21. You reminded me that my very first bank/savings account (about 3rd grade) was at a Gibraltar Savings and Loan. Parents were very big on saving and drove me there about once a month to deposit money I saved. They gave you little blue books with amounts updated I was very smug as no other girls or boys even had bank account books (And the book had the outline of a giant cliff/mountain shape on it stamped in gold). Gibraltar was bought and re-bought over and over so it no longer exists. We lived on strict cash budgets, checks mostly for bills first of the month, and eventually one or two store credit cards for fall/spring clothes and Christmas. Balances had to be paid off at the end of the month. They eventually got an American Express card when they started traveling at retirement.
    Changing banks is a nightmare. I like the old ones where you knew the tellers and loan officers because they lived near you or in your church or something. Now go in a bank here and you get really young kids who are unclear that they are there to work. (often who have no customer service training or make eye contact or even talk clearly). All utilities, services, companies want you to sign up for direct deposit/payments which I’m not really happy about. We’ve had incidents where they didn’t put deposits in the correct accounts or took out wrong amounts or took money out for other people’s bills. You have to watch them like a hawk – and if there’s a problem, you have to call, go through long phone trees before getting a live person…who probably doesn’t have the authority to help and passes you on (eventually) so you have to explain it all over again. We try to use cash and one credit card. The banks charge now if you write check! Arrrgh.
    Shells. Shells and feathers. Ready to just go back to swap and trade.
    Oh, lovely lovely building. So glad it’s saved ( even if not perfect restored properly up to someone who knows constructions standards). And so close.
    (Darn ankles take a long time to heal…especially if large dogs seem determined to crash into and stand exactly where you wish they didn’t. Who knew all those little muscles in that small area did so much?)

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    • Can’t remember my first bank account! When I was a kid, it was mostly cash apart from my parents’ business cheques to suppliers. My mother had this great metal box with compartments in and holes in the lid, she would put something in each one for gas, electric, TV rental, telephone, rates etc, and then when the bills came she had the money. Think people should go back to that.

      We’ve been paying bills by direct debit for years, saves time in those busy busy lives, so it’s a shock having to turn up in person every month with cash. Still, at least the offices are close :)

      There’s no going back … shortage of shells here too. Would need different currency.

      It’s nice. I’ll make a note of the history next time I’m inside, there are plaques and things.

      Everything takes a long time to heal as we age. Never mind dogs. What about busy people too busy to look where they are going? I feel like I need a walking frame, let alone crutches when the streets are full!

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      • Mom’s compartmentalized box is very clever. Direct deposit/pay is convenient when it works – or I should say, when the people involved work. Last month we had on place insist they hadn’t been paid, the bank and our online statement showed it had. Multiple conference calls ( arranging that is a nightmare as the company dis not want to give out direct phone numbers of people) and finally an “Oppsie” by the company – the money was there, just “delayed” in their offices being “posted in right spot” after being received from the bank. So we thought it was fine – until a week later we got a notice we owed a late fee – how can we be charged a late fee – when they are the ones stalling things. So more phone calls and conference calls going over the whole thing all over again. We’ll see this time. Sigh.
        Temps are in the 80’s F here. Dog walks so much nicer…even if it means dodging rain. We’ll be able to walk the beach again soon with the tourists otherwise occupied. YEA. (Harder to trip over stuff on the beach, so that’s good news. A sidewalk crack jumped up a few weeks ago resulting with skinned knees (I really should stop with the flip flops, but it’s been so hot)..What’s next? A nice little Sicilian donkey to ride while exercising Molly? I used to ride on of these at the zoo when I volunteered there in high school and we herded animals to the petting zoo. developed a fondness for them

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