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We live in financial times – and I’m being stalked by it.

Yes, it’s true, the venerable Financial Times is stalking me.

I have been approached twice in as many months. I open my email in-box in trepidation.
Will there be another email from Eunice, the head of corporate sales?

Apparently I am a ‘loyal reader’ and Eunice, newly appointed, is ‘reaching out’ to me. In January she ‘reached out’ to me to suggest a meeting to discuss ‘corporate offerings’. In February, still wishing me a ‘Happy New Year’, she ‘reached out again.

This bothers me because I usually associate the mainstream financial services industry reaching out to me with reaching out to remove my wallet.Stock Shares Image

It’s why those of us involved in the mutual sector feel good about our work there because we are driven to do a good days work by helping customers, rather than looking at them as profit generators.

Of course, mutuals have to be careful not to be caught up in our own rhetoric and become complacent. One of the ways we do that is by innovating and here I think the sector, and particularly the Family Building Society, can take a small bow.

The Family Building Society has just introduced an offset mortgage with new features such as allowing other family members to contribute to the offset, rather than just the borrower. We have just had another winner in our Windfall Bond monthly draw – and unlike the government’s recent old age pensioner-only bond, ours is open to savers of all ages.

The other thing we strive for is being clear in what we offer. Finance is complicated but we take pride in trying to make it as jargon free as we can. Often we think others take delight in making it as complicated as they can.

These are dangerous words because they invite you to point out where we fall down on the job. We are ready for that and to hold our hands up. Indeed, we intend shortly to start a campaign to stamp out financial drivel and concentrate on good, plain English. 

Which takes us neatly back to the FT, whose doughty columnist Lucy Kellaway regularly takes to task the authors of management speak. I wrote to her about Eunice in January and got a reply in which she promised to sort it out. I haven’t yet had a reply to my second email to her.

I’m in a quandary – should I reach out to Lucy a third time?

Jonathan Haslam

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

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Family Building Society
Ebbisham House
30 Church Street
Surrey KT17 4NL
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