Do you have any advice about banks? We seem to have
endless issues with ours.
BANKS seem to be always trying new gimmicks to get new customers
through the doors. We are now used to banking on the internet,
paying our bills online, making deposits with bank cards, etc. But
I regularly come across issues that churches have with their bank
accounts. As banking has become easier for individuals (and even
businesses), the small charities seem to have to jump through more
and more hoops.
For example, there is no online banking for a charity account;
so you are unable to check regularly on what has gone in or out of
the account until a much delayed statement arrives. (I have no idea
why it takes at least two weeks to get end-of-the-month paper
statements in the post.) It used to be the same for everyone, but,
now that we have more instant access to personal accounts, the
treasurer wants it on the church account, too.
More frustrating is the kerfuffle when there are changes to be
made to signatories. It seems that nearly everyone has to turn up
at the bank with proof of ID, and some banks want all the
signatories at the same time. I suppose it is for our safety and
security, but for busy people - especially those who commute, and
are not near the local branch - it is more than frustrating.
One church had a bank account for which no one remembered the
names of the signatories, and this led to endless problems, as
existing signatories were needed to change or add new ones.
I would recommend that, whether you need it or not, you have a
few "extra" signatories, from among PCC members, added to the bank
account when you make any kind of change. If you change signatories
as often as you change churchwardens, the issues recur rather
often. You can always, for the sake of clarity, have an internal
rule that the treasurer - or churchwarden, in his or her absence -
must always be one of the signatories, so that you ensure that
proper procedures for cheque-writing are followed.
It is not possible to get bank processes, with their increasing
complications, to accommodate our busy lives, but it is worth
finding out the minutiae of your bank's ways of working, and
finding a method of fitting that to you rather than struggling
against the tide.
On a similar topic, one church that I knew well had a private
trust that held funds for its repair programme. It was a small
trust that had been set up 80 years earlier by three members. It
was fine in its day, but, by the 1990s, one of the three named
trustees had died, and no one knew where another had moved to. The
money became inaccessible, and it took the church several years to
gain access to it.
Occasional research through past records could help you to find
old accounts, or even old trusts; but do, as soon as possible,
change their quirky, inappropriate processes to something that can
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