Mother is not impressed. Not one little bit. Halifax beware, she is on the warpath. 

A few days ago, while I was still marvelling at Rod Stewart hurling himself around the O2 Arena in South London like a 21-year-old, she rang. I knew there was trouble brewing as soon as I answered.

‘What is Halifax up to?’ she demanded in her sternest voice. What indeed is the former cuddly building society – now owned by Lloyds – up to, I wondered, as Mother worked up a marvellous head of steam.

I received a call from my mother while marvelling at Rod Stewart hurling himself around the O2 Arena in South London. She proceeded to tell me that Halifax had called her up to tell her the interest rate on her Instant Saver account would be halving from the middle of February

I received a call from my mother while marvelling at Rod Stewart hurling himself around the O2 Arena in South London. She proceeded to tell me that Halifax had called her up to tell her the interest rate on her Instant Saver account would be halving from the middle of February

Although now in her early 80s, Mother can still cut up rough in spectacular fashion, especially when she feels financially scorned.

She then proceeded to tell me that Halifax had written, informing her that the interest rate on her Instant Saver account would be halving from the middle of February. 

Instead of receiving the princely rate of 0.2 per cent, she would be getting 0.1 per cent – £1 for every £1,000 she has saved. ‘Why, Jeff?’ she asked. ‘What have I done to deserve this? It’s an outrage.’

‘Nothing, Mother,’ was my reply. ‘It’s called a bank making profit at your expense.’ The phone went dead.

Mother uses Halifax because, like many elderly people, she prefers to do all her saving and banking face-to-face – in a branch where she can talk to someone. 

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And the town where she lives still has a Halifax branch – as well as a NatWest where she also does her banking. Quite remarkable given the town centre is a shadow of its former self, not helped by Marks & Spencer’s recent decision to up sticks.

The truth is, Mother has never used a computer in her life, doesn’t trust the internet as far as she could proverbially throw it, and has no intention of changing her ways.

So, she won’t touch Marcus, Goldman Sachs’ online savings account, even though it is paying 1.35 per cent interest to new savers – and this is even after a recent Xmas haircut from 1.45 per cent. 

Shawbrook, currently the most competitive easy access provider at 1.41 per cent, is also off Mother’s shopping list because it is online.

Mother won’t touch Marcus, Goldman Sachs’ online savings account, even though it's paying 1.35 per cent interest to new savers – and this is even after a Xmas haircut from 1.45 per cent

Mother won’t touch Marcus, Goldman Sachs’ online savings account, even though it’s paying 1.35 per cent interest to new savers – and this is even after a Xmas haircut from 1.45 per cent

Sadly, Mother is very much at Halifax’s mercy and other high street banks which offer branch based savings accounts – and which all pay the square root of nothing. 

According to Anna Bowes, co-founder of Savings Champion, Santander’s Everyday Saver is the pick of a bad bunch, paying 0.35 per cent interest.

Thankfully, Santander has a branch where Mother lives – and I have informed her of the opportunity to effectively triple her interest payments by taking Anna’s advice. ‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ she said, rather grumpily on Friday.

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Didn’t I hear that line at the O2 the other night from 74-year-young Rod?

Like Rod, I’ll keep persevering until Mother heeds Anna’s advice.

A couple of goodbyes and one potential cheerio before I hurtle North to spend Christmas with Mother.

Halifax Bank

Santander bank

Sadly, Mother is very much at Halifax’s mercy and other banks which offer branch based savings accounts – and which all pay very little. According to the Savings Champion’s co-founder, Santander’s Everyday Saver is the pick of a bad bunch, paying 0.35 per cent interest

A big goodbye to Alan Brett, 76-year-old proprietor of a newspaper stand on Kensington High Street, London (close to where I work). He is retiring after 23 years of early mornings and cold hands.

Alan has given me more sound investment advice over the years than most financial advisers and is living proof that investing for income in UK shares is far more lucrative than being a Halifax saver. 

He’s now off to enjoy the regular dividend income that his investment portfolio provides him with.

It is also farewell to Vanni Treves who died last month aged 79. It was Vanni who was brought in to chair Equitable Life in March 2001 after the insurer teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. Equitable, for sure, would have gone down the proverbial pan without his drive and negotiating skills.

Finally, it seems disgraced fund manager Neil Woodford has travelled to China to test if there is any investor appetite out there for his investment expertise in early-stage companies. You couldn’t make it up.

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If Woodford had done in China what he did to investors here in the UK, he would now be in some penal centre doing hard labour.

 

 

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