The Full English Accompaniment – What’s in a bank?

What’s piqued my interest this week?

As part of my monthly goals I’ve been investigating new banking options. Banks seem to be going through a tumultuous time at the moment. We’re over a month into the TSB online banking fiasco (1), with customers still not getting adequate service and some now complaining of fraud which has been facilitated by the botched move. Not entirely surprising, given I assume most high street banks IT sysadmins take their design prompts from Heath Robinson.

In response to this TSB have increased their interest rates to 5% although it’s not clear if this is for new customers too (2). They’re also waving overdraft fees and various other charges. Tempting, but many other banks are also increasing rates. As discussed in this BBC reporter comment article (3), banks are upping interest rates to compensate for the loss of the Bank of England’s Term Lending Scheme, which closed in February this year (4). This was providing cheap finance to banks to offer to customers, and has now been withdrawn. With it’s withdrawal banks need to find other sources of cash to lend… our pockets.

It’s therefore worth checking out moneysavingexpert’s best switching offer page (5), as between switching bonuses and current account interest, there’s lots of perks to be found. Savings account interest rates are also being upped (6), predominantly at the smaller banks and building societies but also for some of the high street banks.

The linked BBC comment piece before also discusses the new ‘challenger’ banks: Monzo, Atom, Revolut and Starling to name a few. I’m looking into these to switch to, and I’d also point to an older Telegraph article which explains a lot about them (7). All of this means it’s a great time to be a banking customer (unless you’re with TSB).

Have a great bank holiday weekend,


Side orders:


What I’m reading:

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanathi – Useful for a sense of perspective

Enchiridion by Epictetus – Bedside reading for a bad day


5 thoughts on “The Full English Accompaniment – What’s in a bank?

  1. I read about the known IT issues prior to the Banco Sabadell take-over. You can only assume their directors stuck their fingers in their ears and repeated “la la la I’m not listening”.

    Some of my closest friends work cyber-security. It sounds like most high street banks are so monolithic it becomes a nightmare to update or change systems. One of the reasons the new competitor ‘challenger’ banks look so competitive to my eyes.


    1. I think a lot of the issues were because politicians were involved. Lloyds were being forced to carve-out and sell TSB due to competition rules. The whole thing was ploughed through despite all the concerns. Either the directors and politicians being ignorant of the potential problems or intentionally ignoring them.

      My experience sounds remarkably similar to your friends in cyber-security (as a forensic accountant, so some confirmation bias as I’d only being involved when things went “wrong”). These projects are huge, sometimes comparable to the GDP of small countries. They take so long, that half-way through, the tech is out of date or the reason for the change is redundant. The purpose and spec gets changed, adding significantly more cost and complexity. The whole thing ends up in disaster. Often there are legal and emotional (pride!) reasons which prevent starting from scratch. Resulting in heaps of money being thrown away.


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