Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bunch of bankers

    "I suggest you talk to your diversity department before you say something you may later regret."
    I was standing in my bank on a hot August lunchtime, a young couple with a very cute but very bored little girl seated in the waiting area to my right and a couple of bank employees in front of me. The obviously rather inexperienced woman on desk duty and a young man with spiky hair and an earpiece, dressed in a shiny suit.
    I'd gone in to process my name change. On paper an easy process, British law being what it is and names having no legal status here. Just tell them what your new name is and that's it!
    Of course, it's not that easy. Aparatchiks like paper, so I'd come armed with my stat dec. "No problem", said inexperienced woman, "I'll get right to it". On to the second screen in the bank name-change system: "Have you got any ID?" I proffered my employer's photo ID with my bloke picture, like a Gold Card in this town. She had the decency to look embarrassed. "I mean, have you got any ID with your new name?"
    I pointed out that since I had just changed my name I was hardly likely to have any such ID, and suggested she look again at the very obvious likeness on the photo ID I'd just shown her. She looked confused, and scuttled off.
    The cute little girl had started playing a game, improbably with a five pound note from her mother's handbag. How the other half live, I thought.
    Inexperienced woman reappeared, with spiky haired man in tow. He peered suspiciously at my stat dec. "Have you changed your name by deed poll?" he asked. I pointed at the stat dec and as politely as I could informed him that a stat dec is functionally equivalent to a deed poll. He looked perplexed and started to say that a deed poll was necessary. At this point I sensed this needed a little focus, and made the suggestion at the start of this piece. At which point I was told to wait while they returned to their lair with an admonition from me that they couldn't take the original stat dec as it had cost me a fiver, a copy would have to do.
    Ten minutes later, inexperienced woman returned. We filled in a form, and I'll have to go back next week to order my cheque book and card. The Action Bank, cajoled into action.
    I don't expect a small branch of a big bank to know everything about gender changes. They probably see us pretty rarely after all. But I did get the sense that they started from a position of "You can't do this!" when they should have been thinking "How can we do this?".
    In a couple of weeks, new regulations will make changing your bank in the UK as easy as changing your cellphone provider or your washing powder brand. Depending on how this lot perform over the next week, I may just take up that offer.

10 comments:

  1. Hmmmm pretty rubbish that you have to go back next week. Personally I would call their Head Office feedback line and tell them of your experience. You might well find that you don't have to go back to order your check book and card and you might also find yourself a tad richer by way of compensation ......

    ReplyDelete
  2. Every bank and every employee is different and my experience with a major Scottish bank was excellent especially since I was not only changing name but buying a house at the same time in my new name. They just looked and found ways to make it all simple. The only minor complaint was that the young man twice used the wrong pronoun but I forgave him given that this was all new to him.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh the fun is about to begin Jenny. Banks are only one of the organisations that baulk at the idea of anyone wishing to change things. Now you will know why the rest of us (trans-folk) are all nuts! They drove us this way....LOL

    Shirley Anne x

    ReplyDelete
  4. I first obtained the Deed Poll, plus a number of 'legal copies' then, armed with all this Magic Documentation, experienced no hitches at all. It wasn't a cheap approach, but I had no faith whatever in anyone knowing the strict legal position on names under English Law, and wanted to get the changeover accomplished without any argee-bargee. It worked perfectly, but I know that most trans people in my Brighton circle have relied on Statutory Declarations, or have simply adopted a new first name (with the same initial as the old one) without any formalities at all. But then they haven't the need for a passport nor a driving licence.

    Lucy

    ReplyDelete
  5. I must admit, doing things abroad I tried to make things as easy as possible for myself. A Deed Poll was needed for most things, and whilst I obtained a number of legal copies as Lucy did, when doing things from abroad they are not accepted (for some reason - and explicitly mentioned "When applying from outside the United Kingdom the original Deed Poll is required and not a certified copy".

    But the kind souls in the Inverness HSBC branch were amazing. Very pleasant, not just polite but pleasant, and everything was sorted in 5 minutes. One of the good experiences of the process.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The days of training staff seem to be long gone then again that training starts at home and a good upbringing. Why do people who do not like serving others take up jobs in the service sector?

    I had no problems changing everything in our bank but when my partner got a tax refund from the government using the name she has never used in real life or on her bank account they treated her like a criminal and mad her change the account to one which does not have her name on it! Would she listen to me and quietly open a savings account somewhere else in that name for such stupid occasions? NO!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I took my Deed Poll into my bank when I saw my account manager. She took a copy of it and then we went through everything online there and then. Had a nice chat while we did. New bank card, credit cards and cheque book all ordered there and then.
    No problems until for some reason the internet banking reverted back to my old details but I just popped in to make sure that there wasn't a problem and she got it sorted.

    Still the name change is one of the most tedious things to do. I didn't realise just how many people I had to update until I had to start notifying people.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The other day I went into y bank and asked about getting a card in a different name, the cashier (who knows me) looked at my card and said "but this one is in the wrong name, of course we can change it" it was only when I explained that I still use both names that the problems began.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm happy to say the card and cheque book arrived in the middle of the week unprompted. So I didn't have to order anything.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wrong bank! I went into my bank and said I wanted to change my name. The "adviser" disappeared and was rapidly replaced with a t-girl "adviser" who knew all about it from recent first hand experience.

    Yes there are a lot of organisations to tell. The first 30 or so were fairly straight forward, then I started finding odd ones I had overlooked.

    Don't forget Inland Revenue (Income Tax), Inland Revenue (Pensions) and Inland Revenue (National Insurance). They don't talk to one another.

    ReplyDelete