The past ten years has seem a revolution in banking in this country from a period of reasonable interest rates, stable bank institutions and a recognisable inflation rate to a period of zero interest rates, turmoil across the banking sector and deflation coming our way!
At its recent meeting in the Palace Hotel, Peterhead Probus Club welcomed John Hamilton, HSBC Bank PLC to give some personal insights into his banking career and life in the North-east of Scotland.
John traced his roots to a farming background, one of three children, growing up at Carnwarth, with the misfortune of his father dying at the age of 39.
The beginnings of his banking career took off at Motherwell with the Royal Bank of Scotland, followed by experiences in London, East Kilbride, Edinburgh and Portree.
In 1993, with a likely move to Peterhead offices, it was sad wrench to leave Portree.
However, that decision taken, the next priority was to find somewhere to live and a chance encounter led John to acquiring a Grade B listed building, Millbank, at Longside.
This comprised of a ruinous house and steading, with three and a half acres, and unable to get any local firms to commit to renovating the building, John took photographs back to Skye and persuaded a firm there to take on the task!
Against this personal background, the banking sector was becoming more aggressive in its approach to gain more and more customers, with bank staff coming under increasing daily pressure to meet sales targets through any means possible, mortgages, loans and ‘cold selling’.
John provided members with personal experiences from within the banking world what is was like to be a member of staff at this time being part of a whirlwind of events over which no one in this area had any control.
Following retirement with the RBS, John continues to work with HSBC as an agricultural manager, covering Grampian, Moray to Caithness.
In his vote of thanks, David Urquhart thanked John, on behalf of members, for taking time and effort, from a very busy schedule to give an enjoyable and very personal view of the banking sector.