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Online banking isn't all it's cracked up to be

As I have recently retired, at the ripe old age of 86, I am now finding this growing obsession with making everything paperless and online rather ridiculous.

Perhaps this is because I closely resemble the actor Norman Lumsden, who played the part of the character JR Hartley looking for his book on fly-fishing in that celebrated 1983 Yellow Pages advertisement.

Recently, I had to visit my bank over a direct debit, since I didn't receive a reply to my letter to the manager.

I tried telephoning the bank, but I ended up lost in call centre wonderland. To make matters worse , my branch (in Newtownards) has been closed; apparently few customers were visiting and most were switching to online banking. This is especially tiresome for those who live in rural locations without internet access.

As my branch had closed and moved my account, I decided to drive all the way to the Bangor branch. Imagine my surprise when I entered the bank; it seemed as deserted as the Marie Celeste.

After waiting for about 10 minutes, a member of staff approached and I explained I was one of the customers who had been moved from the branch in Newtownards and that I had written a letter to the manager about cancelling a direct debit, but had not received a reply.

I was told - amazingly - the bank does not send out letters anymore, but they could confirm the direct debit had been cancelled.

Like JR Hartley, I do think the world in 1983 was more efficient than today; even though it was slower, at least they could reply to a letter.

CADOGAN WEST

Strangford, Co Down

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