So who offers the worst business banking in the UK?

The Co-operative bank business banking service has been under fire from the Radio 4 Money Box programme, with bank customers complaining that the system is difficult to login to, data is often lost, and sometimes information is just not available.

It sounds familiar to me, though my business banking service is with Abbey – which is now Santander and is about to be rebranded entirely so the old Abbey brand will vanish.

I’ve used Abbey for business banking for six years. One of the things anyone running any kind of business will know is that you need to be able to go back and check on transactions from some time ago. Accounts are often filed a year or more after transactions take place.

The old system Abbey offered was very good. I could enter a date range and export all my banking activity to a spreadsheet, then format it for my accountant.

When Santander took over, they implemented a new business banking system. Suddenly it was not possible to enter date ranges for statements. I could no longer export easily to Excel. In fact, I could not look back at transactions beyond the last 70 on my statement. So, it was not possible to look back more than a couple of months at most.

When I needed to start getting my accounts in order for annual filing with Companies House, I asked Abbey how I could get the information for the previous year. They told me they could send me the paper statements in the post and it would take at least six weeks to get them because they need to go to a microfiche archive.

PAPER STATEMENTS?

SIX WEEKS TO GET A STATEMENT?

MICROFICHE?

How do I get that on a spreadsheet? They told me I would need to retype everything myself. Why can’t I get it immediately? Because all the data has been archived. Why on earth are you using microfiche rather than a datacentre? We use it for all our archives…

What on earth is going on with Santander? I called several times about this issue and I was told that a lot of businesses are complaining about the same thing. Of course they are. Companies need to be able to go back and look at historic transactions. Don’t deliver a personal banking solution to businesses and expect us to be happy – you idiots.

I’m in the process of sorting out my company accounts for last year right now. As soon as I’m all set, I’m in the market for a new business bank account, but it won’t be with the Co-op or Santander.

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