UK bank Lloyds TSB rips off customers with huge new overdraft charges

Lloyds TSB (41 per cent owned by UK taxpayers, which include me) has sent customers of its Premier Account (which also include me) a note about ‘important changes’ to the aforementioned account (for which I pay about £10 a month), supposedly to our benefit.

And what does paragraph two say? I quote:

From 2 October there will be changes to how we charge for using an overdraft. If you use an overdraft beyond any any interest and fee free period you’ll pay interest and a Monthly Overdraft Usage Fee which is increasing from £5 to £6. You’ll only ever pay this fee in any one monthly billing period and you won’t have to pay for just having a Planned Overdraft in place. The interest rate charged on overdrafts is also increasing from 12.43 (variable) to 15.43 per cent.

I think this means up.

But there’s more.

These charges will apply whether you use a Planned Overdraft or an Unplanned Overdraft. As the enclosed booklet explains, Unplanned Overdrafts also carry additional charges. It also highlights the smart ways we can help you manage your money, so you can stay in control.

What a masterpiece of the direct marketing copywriting art (snake oil as we used to call it) this is.

So we’re going to stiff you anyway, whether you’ve planned your overdraft or not (if you haven’t we’ll stiff you even more, we just won’t tell you by how much).

I’ve banked with Lloyds for about 30 years, personally and professionally. They’ve been OK mostly and you even used to meet the manager sometimes. Some of them were muppets but most of them were pretty good.

But this shit is completely out of order.

I don’t have an overdraft now (although I have had on many occasions). Lloyds borrows money for nothing (yes, nothing) from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank and others sources for, at max, four per cent.

Yet it’s upping its overdraft rates to a credit card-like 16 per cent plus other charges, to characters like me who are paying them £120 for the privilege of having one of their fucking useless (as my friend George Parker would say) ‘Premier Accounts.’

Lloyds has just sold off 600 or so branches to the Co-op at a knock-down price as penalty for being bailed out by the UK government when it bought the gigantic can of worms called HBOS.

I’m a Lloyds TSB shareholder too (don’t ask).

For the last couple of years the bank has been run by £10m a year former Santander banker Antonio Horta-Osorio (left), who spent the second six months of his reign on sick leave because he couldn’t sleep.

Well I’m not fucking surprised (pace George), if this is the best he can do.

The best thing the board of Lloyds TSB (which means the Government in effect) should do with Signor Horta whatsit is remind him of that old Spanish entertainment the auto da fe.

And when he’s stopped sizzling get somebody in who’s mindful of their duties.

Meanwhile I think I’m off to the Co-op.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.


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    You tell ’em Steve!

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    Wait a minute… A British bank run by a Spanish wanker… I thought the Spanish economy was deeper in the shit than the British (Well… Until the bills for the Olympics come due!) Still, it makes no difference… All Bankers are Wankers. As Willy Horton the famous bank robber said when he was asked why he robbed banks… “‘Cos that’s where the money is!” And, it’s all our fucking money. Just seven days to Olympic Shitasmogoria… Good luck Britain, and all who sail in her. Cheers/George.

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    Speaking as both a customer and someone who has previously written copy for them, I have to agree. Complete rip-off merchants