To Be Frank, by Frank Edmonds, january 13, 2015

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I have a look at my bank balance online every day. I’m good like that. Or maybe just scared. Yes, thinking about it, at this time of year, definitely scared.

Anyway, I keep checking, because it’s the responsible thing to do. Sometimes two or three times a day, if cash flow is a bit, you know, iffy.

Hey, you never know these days how fast a big bill is going to smack your bank balance in the kisser (is it just me, or do debits seem to be made from your account faster and faster these days?

Come back cheques, all is forgiven. “Your automatic payment is in the post” doesn’t seem to cut it, somehow. I nearly cried when my garage finally got a card machine).

Checking your balance is a bit like reading a murder mystery. You know something awful is about to happen. It’s just a question of how soon. And how many times.

But with my bank, it’s just become endlessly frustrating. It’s not so much a twist in the tale, as, well, a smack in the kisser ... every time you look.

My bank has become obsessed – way past the point of reason – with trying to get me to take out a loan. Which is quite ridiculous in financial management terms, because they know better than anybody else how great is my inability to pay the thing back. Perhaps that’s the point.

“This Edmonds chap – he’s not paying us anywhere near enough money in bank fees and charges!”

“I know! Let’s keep on at him to take out a loan, over and over and over again, until he cracks! Lots and lots of lovely interest payments!”

“Brilliant idea! Fancy a game of squash?”

So here’s the routine. I go to my bank’s website. I enter my “passcode” (sigh). I enter a couple of letters from my “memorable word” (come on, come on! Getting fed up, now!). Finally, I’m in! But JUST as I go to click on the link to see my balance ... POW! Right over the top of it comes a pop-up screen demanding I take out a personal loan!

Not just now and then. Not even every day. But every single bloomin’ time I go on the site! These people just cannot take no for an answer!

In fact, they won’t take no for an answer. Do you think there’s a “Don’t ask me again” button, like there is on some menus? Of course there isn’t. There’s a whopping great big colourful “Apply now” button, or two tiny little miserable-looking “Close” buttons. And that’s it.

So time after time, over and over again, whenever you want to do any kind of online banking, you have to swat this thing out of the way first.

It’s like the financial equivalent of a mozzie attack.

Do these people not realise that you get so fed up with it, that there’s no way in the world you ever WOULD take out a loan with them – even if you wanted one??

Do you think if I changed my “memorable word” to “bankrupt” they’d get the idea?

Mind you, financial madness is everywhere. I got an e-mail on Christmas Day saying: “Amazon’s biggest ever BOXING DAY Sale – starts December 25 at 4pm.”

How does THAT work?!