HSBC Bank / lousy treatment for small businesses
This is a fair warning to all small business owners who are dealing with the HSBC Bank here in the UK or - as I suspect - worldwide.
I have recently restructured my business (dealing with the rather unstable collectables market), moving from partnership to sole trader. I've banked with the HSBC since 1991 and had my business account - which is in EXCELLENT order - since 2000.
They informed me that I would have to open a NEW account for the new sole trader company and then point blank refused to do it. Why? Well - apparently I am the very spawn of Satan ... or so it would appear... I have 2 current accounts with this bank, both having small overdrafts - one for £800 (for personal bills ) and the other for £200 general expenses. Any small business owner IN THE WORLD knows that personal finances often suffer for the smooth running of a business - especially in lean times - and for the past 18 months (during which I have been extremely ill by the way) I have exceeded my overdraft limits on several occasions.
HOWEVER - each time this has occurred I have replaced fees - often within the same 24 hour period...often with great difficulty and not a little ingenuity on my part, and the HSBC (naturally) have profitted from each indiscretion by charging me their usual over-inflated fees. (Poor HSBC - how they suffer...*ahem*)
The ridiculously ineffectual manager of my local branch informed me that I had been 'naughty' and that I was a bad credit risk! - Again I point out that all excess borrowings were paid back quickly and my business account was immaculate. She refused me a new business account and told me that in order for her to reconsider I would have to...
GET A JOB !!!
Yes - the HSBC's solution to my continued healthy business trading was... a job. When I pressed the point that I already work all the hours the gods send she told me that yes, but that was only to make money...
yeeeeeeeeessss... Then - that if I had a job I would have a healthy income so wouldn't have to work so hard in my business ...
THIS is a MANAGER??? Granted she blatantly has the brainpower, personality and effectiveness of wet bread but DEAR GODS!!!
She went on to refer to small business owners as simply wasting time on what was, after all, an expansion of a hobby...????????? Sorry - but this is 8 years of my LIFE we're talking about here...? How patronising can these people be?
Further to this, when consulting my accountant I overheard the area business manager of the HSBC referring to my immaculately-trading-within-limits account as a joke !
So - in short - The HSBC consider small businesses to be a joke and small business owners to be wasting good wage-earning time on a mere hobby. Be warned!
Thank the powers that be that there are other banks with actual human managers WITH BRAINS, not some puppet of a corporate abuser like the HSBC.
I am currently collating as much evidence as possible on the dealings of the HSBC and their lack of assistance regarding financial development and dealing with problems. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything you wish to add to my ever growing file as I will pursue this further.
Thank you for reading - Louise :)xxx
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