Monthly Archives: March 2014

Management Speak nonsense from Co-op Bank

Today I received this letter from the Co-op Bank, some of which is an assault on the English language.

Dear Mr Stent

I wanted to write to you personally to thank you for standing by us during some of the most difficult times in our history. Whilst we still have some challenges ahead, I now want to update you on the progress we have made.

I am pleased to say that we have strengthened both our capital position and our management team. We have also put in place a business plan which we intend will restore us to longer-term sustainable profitability over time. This means that we are now able to look forward and begin to reshape our business around what’s important to our customers.

For over 140 years the ethics and values of The Co-operative Bank have set us apart and I’m proud to say that these ideals are now enshrined in our constitution. We would like to build on this heritage and want to do this in partnership with you. As such, this spring we will be engaging with you around what’s important to you going forward.

I would also like to reassure you that we remain focused on providing great customer service and meeting your day-to-day banking needs. We
are committed to delivering products and services to make it more rewarding and easier to bank with us. We will improve our online banking service and our mobile banking application as well as providing exclusive product offers for existing customers.

Whilst delivering our plan remains challenging, I hope I have given you a sense of some of the steps we have taken both to strengthen the business and begin to reward the faith you have shown us. Thank you once again for your loyalty and for banking with The Co-operative Bank.

Yours sincerely

Niall Booker
Chief Executive, The Co-operative Bank

Several parts of the letter are written in opaque management speak, but the part that struck me the most was “engaging with you around what’s important to you going forward”. Engaging around what’s important suggests that engagement will involve everything but things that are important. I’d much prefer it if the engagement were about what’s important. Also why must I be “going forward”? What if I want to talk about things that are important to me and stay still? Or is it the bank that’s going forward, if so where are they going? It’s all very confusing.

Aside from the management speak and poor use of English I’d be interested to know how they will be improving their online banking, because in the 15 years since they launched Smile, their online banking has changed very little. During this time the other banks have launched their own online banking, which in most cases started off better and has continued to improve. So I will believe it when I see it.