Rock in a hard place

There’s been quite a scare over the Bank of England providing emergency lending to Northern Rock bank. Out of curiosity I wondered how my building society the Chelsea might be responding online. High on the home page was the link shown here:

And what about Northern Rock itself? Absolutely nothing on the home page, except a scrolling reference to possible delays in processing online transactions. If you dig deeper, there’s just the po-faced press release about market conditions.

Good grief. Here’s a bank who’s shares have plummeted 30%, with customers lining up at branches this morning. Do they have no clue about damage limitation? Do they not get that by not really acknowledging what’s happening and talking to customers about it, they make the situation worse?

Now if they’d had a corporate blog, they might have had someone in there with the wit to write something in plain English that could have been reassuring. But no, it’s the stony silence of denial. That just adds to my sense of their incompetence.

Sighing Disclosure: Years ago, I got a small windfall of shares when I used to be a customer of Northern Rock. Easy come, easy go, eh?

UPDATE (16 September) Northern Rock has got its act together at least a little, with a prominent link on the home page to a pdf file Q&A. Pity they couldn’t have made it a webpage too; surely they want this to be accessible as possible? Again, I think an inhouse blogger might have known better…

4 thoughts on “Rock in a hard place

  1. annette

    Johnnie – you beat me to it with this post. I have money in Northern Rock here in Ireland and the lack of information is really contributing to the hype – bulletin boards are full of posts from people looking for some kind of reassurance and there’s silence from NR…The web site is now not allowing customers to check their accounts and nobody is answering the phones…

  2. Chris Pearse

    Well I’m looking after some of Northern Rock’s money for them in the form of a small mortgage. They gave me a cracking 15 year fixed deal (maybe that’s why they have a problem) and they can’t have it back.


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