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Until recently I had a very low opinion of banks. I hated them in fact. Bunch of bankers.
My opinion had been soured by years of bad service and downright incompetence at the hands of two of the biggest high street banks, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Then, last summer, a friend suggested that I should get a Virgin One Account. I had started temping a few months earlier which meant that, potentially, I didn't have the same money coming in every month and, potentialy, I could have times when I wasn't earning so trying to make regular mortgage payments could be difficult. Also, as an accountant I could see the financial benefits in the flexibility of the account so I logged on to their website to find out more.
The One Account is a combined mortgage and current account, this makes your statements look a little scary as they show an "overdrawn" balance of whatever your mortgage borrowings are!! The upside is that interest is calculated on a daily basis so on the day your salary goes in you have a lower balance and so pay less interest.
It was all so easy and friendly! I filled in the on-line form and a few days later got an information pack and an application form (pre-filled out with the info I'd registered on-line). I sent back the form and after one phone call with them that was it. I couldn't believe it, after only about two weeks from the time I registered I got confirmation through that my mortgage had been transferred to them and I received my chequebook and welcome pack.
I was amazed as the previous year I had transferred my mortgage from RBS to Bristol & West and it had taken several months, my solicitor and an independent financial advisor to sort it out!
I am now about to get married and buy a house with my husband-to-be and when I phoned to ask how I went about sorting the One Account out I was told that adding another person is as easy as calling them up when he's around to answer some questions, running a credit check and adding his name.
The flexibilty of the account is fantastic. Basically, you borrow say £100,000 and you're given a payment program which says how much you should aim to leave in the account to have paid the mortgage in full in 20 years time. However, you can if you want borrow back up to the facility at any time over those 20 years as long as you've paid it all back by the end. So, if the central heating falls over you know you can pay out for it. Each month your statement tells you how far ahead or behind you are and what your new budgeted monthly amount should be.
I am a Virgin convert and my faith has been restored - not all banks are the same!
This is a very good op - dteailed and thoughtful. It also shows that Virgin Direct may have got the service right this time, something that cannot be said for all Virgin ventures. I wish you all the best of luck for your wedding!
ImogenW 26.03.2001 18:37
HOw nice to read about a positive banking experience for a change... thanks. Get your fiance to write a review too...