David Parkin on the bad and good of banking, Spygate and staying power

David Parkin on the bad and good of banking, Spygate and staying power

THEY say that moving house is one of life’s more stressful experiences. Given I organised my house move five days before Christmas I was prepared for a good dose of chaos in the run up to and during the festive holidays. But the move itself was pretty smooth considering and Christmas went well, despite mislaying my favourite cravat during the house move. A dry sherry just doesn’t feel the same without a silken cravat and smoking jacket. The stress in the situation actually came from getting a mortgage. Advised that NatWest Bank was offering good deals and a customer-friendly approach to lending to home buyers, we applied for a mortgage. It required a fee of over £500 for the bank to have its own survey done to ensure that the value of the property we were buying justified what they were lending us. As far as I’m aware the most that was done by the surveyor NatWest sent was a tick in a box saying the property was unmortgageable because it has its own water supply from a spring rather than a mains water supply. We appealed, pointing out that there are many rural properties which don’t have a mains water supply and asking if the bank had ever provided a mortgage before in such a situation. NatWest dismissed the appeal, refused to refund us our fee and also refused to provide any evidence that their surveyor had even visited the property never mind completed a survey. Our adviser, the impressive Andrew Milnes of Mortgage Advice Bureau, was as perplexed and frustrated as we were and offered to waive...
David Parkin gets turned on to Brexit by Channel 4 and ponders the bear facts of Nookie

David Parkin gets turned on to Brexit by Channel 4 and ponders the bear facts of Nookie

“THAT’S a nice scarf,” said the chap who served me a cup of tea yesterday. “He always looks smart and important,” said my companion. “Yes he looks like the main man, are you his bodyguard?” said the man behind the counter as he gave us our tea. Now given that my companion was Tom Riordan, the chief executive of Leeds City Council, the third largest local authority in the country, I’d imagine he’s had better compliments. Mind you, given my experience recounted in the last blog just before Christmas, perhaps I do need a bodyguard. I was seeing Tom for one of our semi-regular catch-ups. For a busy chief exec he makes a point of keeping tabs of what the business community within the city and region are thinking and his diary is studded with meetings and events which allow him to do that. After a quick tour of Leeds Civic Hall he suggested we pop into the cafe at Leeds Beckett University’s Rose Bowl building next door for a cuppa. Given not all of its students are back from their festive break, the ground floor of the building was a hive of activity. Tom told me that Channel 4 News were holding a Brexit debate on the programme last night to get the views of young people aged 18 to 20 who weren’t old enough to vote in the referendum on the EU but now are of voting age. As we stirred our cups of tea I turned to see a member of the Channel 4 team carefully fixing up a banner with the theme for the discussion:...