George Orwell wrote that ‘In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act’. It seems that in announcing its less-than-perfect customer charter results today, NatWest may just have become the revolutionaries amongst banking’s ancien régime.
NatWest achieved its targets in 20 of the 25 criteria it had set itself, falling behind in the key area of complaint resolution, amongst other metrics. The fact that the announcement of the results came a little later than promised may indicate that there was some debate at senior levels in Bishopsgate about the wisdom of admitting that the institution is less than perfect.
I reckon the right decision was reached in the end. The banks failed to make a public apology at the time of the credit crunch. But this announcement may be evidence of a new culture of openness in retail banking, and not before time.
It’s good marketing, too. For as Bill Bernbach said, ‘In advertising, there is nothing more powerful than the truth.’
Rare roast beef on good bread, Plymouth Gin, thunderstorms, Autumn, a long sea voyage.