Also, I planned to visit the Hereford HSBC branch while we were there. My old Mum was kind enough to send me a cheque for my recent birthday, scraped together out of her meagre pension, and I wanted to pay it into my account. Since the The World’s Local Bank has closed its branch in Presteigne, it has proved really quite difficult to get to do my little bit of banking. The cheque had been in my wallet for a couple of weeks.
You’re supposed to do banking all by yourself on machines, but I pretend I don’t know how to do this, and I make the HSBC apparatchik who is always hovering around fill in the paying-in slip, write down my details, put it through the paying-in machine, etc. while I explain that all of this had been done by Gwennie in Presteigne before her bosses closed the branch for not being profitable enough. Not loss-making, you note. Not profitable enough. She explained that there was a counter upstairs, and that I’d probably have to use it anyway, since my cheque was too curly. I didn’t like her, and she didn’t like me.
And yet, I found myself strangely uplifted. I felt as though, no matter what struggles I might go through in life, there would always be somebody there for me. Then I realised that these good feelings were being caused by the HSBC in house radio station (really), which was playing Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terell’s classic ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’.
‘This is great. ‘ I said to my new friend. ‘Now I can listen to the radio while operating machines in a bank 25 miles away from my house. How much does this cost? About as much as you saved closing your Presteigne branch?’
‘I doubt it sir,’ she said. But I’d be really interested to know how much HSBC radio does cost. So I’ve written to the customer relations team at HSBC and to their press office to ask, and I’ll let readers know what they say.