Several years ago when I first transitioned I changed my name on my bank account. It  seemed to go through okay. A few months later when I tried to use telephone  banking – something i’d been doing frequently – I was told very abruptly by the  operative that “I didn’t sound like the account holder”. Before I had the chance  to remonstrate he hung up on me. I had entered all the security questions  correctly so the only problem was the operative’s perception of my voice coupled  with the “gender” associated with my name. As if I would deliberately try to  access a “female” named account with a “male” sounding  voice.
Next time I tried to  access telephone banking I discovered I was permanently locked out and the only  way I could access my account henceforth was through the branch. This was at a  time in my life when I was genuinely afraid to go out in public and walking down  to the bank was not something I relished. I decided I would do it just once  – to shut my account.
On reaching the  branch I was taken to a desk in a public area where I was made to explain my  situation within earshot of other customers before they managed to – so I  thought – approve the closure of my account.
This month – three years later – I received a new debit card from them.
So I called the number to report the problem as I  didn’t much want a dead bank account generating things like Debit cards and  sending them out. None of the phone lines I tried had an option for “bank  screwups”; the most likely option then went into voice recognition software  which is a no-no for me due to insecurity about my voice (see above) so I  hung up.
I eventually got in  through the internet banking helpdesk and was put through to an operative in the  banking section who listened to my problem and promised me all sorts of  financial compensation for the phonecall and distress and then told me that the  account was in fact still open and that i’d have to go into the branch and  close my account again… hold on hadn’t I done that already? If they  hadn’t been able to perform this simple task the first time, how could  I be sure that they’d manage it the second? And this is the branch where i’d  previously felt humiliated and had resolved never to cross the threshold again.  I dug my heels in. She went to talk to her manager and put me on hold. She  came back and told me she was really, really sorry but i’d have to go into the  branch. I dug my heels in. She went to her manager again and put me on hold for  ages… when she came back she said i’d have to continue on hold and before I  could say another thing I was back on hold… so I hung up. I was at work  and so I couldn’t justify any more time holding.
This’ll be the  legendary private sector efficiency then?