I’ve been a NatWest customer since I last had to boycott a bank. In around 1999 I left Abbey National because they refused to allow me to access my money without the rigmarole of using a stupid red pass book. I could, however, show them photo ID and remove all my money. So I did, and took it all to NatWest. I’ve been a very happy personal banker with NatWest for many years and have never had a major problem.

No more though, because tomorrow I’m going to close every single one of my NatWest bank accounts, move my savings out, cancel my credit card and when my mortgage comes up for renewal in January, move that to another bank too.

I’m doing this because NatWest has failed spectacularly to provide me with a business account. I should explain more though, because this could affect other potential customers.

Firstly, NatWest splits its business banking in to two separate entities. You can pick a business account that’s online, and over the phone or you can select a branch-based system. The online model worked for me, but sadly NatWest is selling it to Santander. People who read the first paragraph of this post will remember that Abbey National, is on my boycott list. And as such, I won’t ever bank with Santander –my boycotts are nothing, if not comprehensive and long-lasting.

That left the branch approach. And that’s why it all went wrong.

I applied online for my business account. This worked fine, and I was contacted and asked to choose if I wanted the online, or in-branch service. I then had to sign some forms, and drop them off at the branch. Which I did. Then came the silence. The endless, never-ceasing silence. No bank account, and money being paid to me by clients, but with no way for me to pay it to myself. Which in turn means soon, I won’t be able to pay my mortgage. I wonder if NatWest will understand that when I default on my payments, or if they’ll send threatening letters.

I’ve spent hours on the phone with call centres trying to get this sorted. I’ve called the “branch”, in as much as it’s possible to do so with the useless NatWest phone system. I’ve even spoken to the manager. He promised to help me sort the problem. But his idea of sorting it was to promise to get me a meeting on Thursday night, and call me back to tell me if he’d been able to. He did neither. So I wasted more of my precious business time going to a meeting with the business manager who wasn’t there, and was never going to have been there.

Worst of all, I don’t even seem able to make NatWest care about any of this. Their phone banking people are good, but none of them can help me with what is a branch cock-up.

Had a similar experience? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it!

NOTE: I sent this blog post to the NatWest press office. It, apparently, couldn’t care less. I didn’t even get a form response.