As Christmas approached, a leaked internal memo from RBS’s managing director of branch and private banking, Jane Howard, revealed just how far the UK state-owned bank was prepared to take the season of goodwill.
For an initiative called 'Branch Force', 1,683 RBS and NatWest branches were asked if they needed any help with 'technology or property issues'. They did – more than 400 of them. Howard’s memo subsequently called for colleagues across the bank to sign up to help by painting, tidying up or general DIY.
“If you would like more information about how you can give some of your spare time to help spruce up your local branch, register on the dedicated intranet page” Howard's memo urged.
RBS’s financial woes are well-documented but relying on volunteers to spruce up its branches seems to redefine the concept of being a team player. The memo emphasized, rather sheepishly: “Plans are already underway to deal with the more complex and technical problems such as IT issues or updating central heating.”
If you are an RBS employee, and mopping the floor or putting up shelves is your thing, branch maintenance has just been added to your job description.
Why stop there? Maybe other roles within the bank could be undertaken on a voluntary basis in a similar festive burst of generosity. Head of small business lending? Risk management? Mortgage origination? If you have any spare time over the weekend, the job is yours…