Harrogate businessman takes battle with NatWest bank to London

Guy Tweedy
Guy Tweedy
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A Harrogate businessman whose bank continually denied him a face-to-face meeting with a business manager has taken his fight to the company’s London headquarters.

Guy Tweedy travelled to London to hand out more than 2,000 leaflets outside NatWest headquarters, condemning their ‘anti-customer’ policy this morning from 9am.

For the last four months Mr Tweedy has been seeking a face-to-face meeting with his branch business manager to discuss extending his overdraft.

But Mr Tweedy says the bank's preferred option is to direct him to a call centre in Birmingham and said Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Ross McEwan, had 'forgotten about customer service’.

Mr Tweedy said: “I’ve been a loyal NatWest customer for more than 30 years, yet when I ask to speak to a local business manager face-to-face I’m refused this courtesy.

“They are saying I must speak to a faceless nobody in a Birmingham call centre who knows absolutely nothing about me. This is not good enough. Because I’m a ‘little’ customer, they think they can treat me like this.

“Well they are wrong! NatWest needs to understand it is the ordinary customer – plus the British tax payer – that are keeping it going.

“I’m sure I am not alone in my views, and the bank and its directors need to know I will not take no for answer, hence today’s protest.

“All I want to do is talk to someone face-to-face, in Harrogate, where I live, and where my local branch is. Is that too much to ask?

“Mr McEwan, who last year pocketed a salary of more than £3m, has forgotten about customer service. I’m here to today to remind him of it!”

As one of the country's leading Thalidomide campaigners, Mr Tweedy is not a stranger to fighting for a cause, and helped to secure millions in compensation for thalidomiders from the UK government.

Mr Tweedy said he has not only written and called his own branch on numerous occasions, but has also lobbied CEO Ross McEwan, all to no avail.

However NatWest said that a director from the company did visit Mr Tweedy in an attempt to resolve his concerns and that they would be making contact again to take things forward.

The company also claimed it had invested in 73 'Business Growth Enablers' across the UK, who work to support large numbers of small businesses by covering their questions and concerns, including how to access finance.

A NatWest spokesperson said: “Our customers are changing the way they bank with us. To be able to focus more time on helping customers with more complex needs we have moved basic services such as account opening and loan applications to be handled over the telephone or online.

"Our Telephony service provides business expertise over extended opening hours, ideally suited to cater for smaller businesses when, during the day, they are most likely focusing on their own customers.”