You really have to laugh sometimes, even though you often feel more like crying.
I had a call yesterday from a company doing a survey on behalf of AIB, with whom I have an account. The survey was basically aimed at finding out how the bank has been performing in terms of customer service, etc. In general I find the bank to be absolutely fine, I am in a very small branch where most people know you and I find the staff to be courteous and efficient (a branch which has been closed subsequent to this article, but that’s a post for another day). Not so many problems there then. There were also a number of queries about my ‘Relationship Manager’, which I think is an absolutely hilarious term. This is the person formerly just known as the Manager. In my case the ‘Relationship Manager’ hasn’t been in place for very long, but so far she’s been fine, so I told them so.
One of the questions, however, was “on a scale of one to seven, one being very unlikely and seven being very likely, how likely would you be to trust AIB with your investments in the future?” Oh, my, God. One, one, one, actually if there’s a zero, I’ll have that.
For heaven’s sake people, have you not read the paper over the past couple of days? Well if you have you’ll find this – http://tiny.cc/caadb. In case you’re too lazy to read that it refers to the fact that AIB has just sold its Bulgarian operation for a whopping €100,000, having purchased it for a paltry €216m – and these guys have the cheek to ask me if I’d trust them with my investments. No, no, no – for as long as I can go on saying no. I would never, ever, ever trust you with my investments – ever.
This is added to the fact that the bank foisted its shares on unsuspecting citizens when they were valued at over €20 a pop, now they reside at the princely sum of 15.6 cent per share. AIB, your track record stinks.
It is also added to the fact that when visiting Berlin some years ago I was taken on a tour of the city by an Irish property agent. We saw the good and the bad of the city. In one particular area, which shall remain unnamed, I passed comment that I wouldn’t want to own property there. The agent agreed, but said that it seemed to have been good enough for AIB, which had purchased something in the region of €50m worth of property there – apparently without ever having seen it. It must certainly have been without seeing it, because nobody in their right mind would have purchased anything there having seen the place.
Banks are supposed to take your money, keep it safe and invest it wisely when asked to do so. There is no evidence that AIB has any idea whatsoever how to invest money, so they should just stick to keeping it safe. They certainly won’t be asked to invest any of mine.