I get all sorts of e-mail from visitors to this site. But these messages were very intriguing because they came from a former Coutts employee, or so he said. Of course, I have no way to verify that he did work for Coutts (although he seemed very genuine, and wasn't reluctant to give me his name). And I have no way to independently verify his story. Heck, I'm not Bernstein or Woodward, and this isn't the Washington Post.
In view of our own experience with Coutts and their rather fuzzy interest calculations, I thought his cautionary tale was worth passing on. (But, as I said, I can't vouch for its accuracy.) If you are a past or present Coutts customer, it probably would be worthwhile to have the interest calculations checked. If the bank's figures are correct, that's great. And if they're wrong, in our experience Coutts was good (albeit a bit slow) at refunding the overcharge.
I personally recommend the Charge Checker software from Surrey Software because it worked well for us.
Ex-Employee X e-mailed to tell me:
"Without going into too much detail, there was a very large cover up within the bank, with regards to interest calculations being incorrect. A large number of teams & certain members of staff were asked to work a whole weekend and then some in overtime (for which they got paid well) in a bid to amend all the errors the bank had made on their clients’ accounts.
"The errors ran into the region of £13+ million! You were correct in thinking this has gone on for many years.
"It was decided by the powers that be within Coutts not to advise the clients of their errors & only refund the clients who were intelligent enough to spot it! (i.e. You), as the bank would be in serious financial trouble if everyone was to notice & they had to reimburse everyone and add any interest they may have lost because of the banks error.
[Craig's Comment: I wouldn't think £13 million would be a big deal to Coutts or the RBOS, and certainly wouldn't cause "serious financial trouble."]
"As far as I’m aware though, not many have spotted the errors, leaving Coutts with extra money to play with in their ‘limbo’ accounts.
"Obviously some people have far too much money.
"As an ex-employee, I can confirm that the wages for non-senior staff is exceedingly poor, as it’s supposed to look good on your CV to have worked at such a prestigious bank.
"There are also some absolute morons who are in charge of teams/departments, who have only been promoted as they have been there so long, although, I found most of my colleagues very intelligent, polite & competent (not my immediaate boss though!)."
If there are other Coutts employees out there (ex or otherwise) who have information about this, please get in touch. You can e-mail me in confidence, or can post a comment below. For obvious reasons, we won't publish anything on this site that would breach customer confidentiality at Coutts.