Tom Blomfield on 11FS Talking About The BBC Watchdog Report

It seemed pretty obvious that it was an approximation, a ball park figure


Yes. I didn’t say it wasn’t an approximation. You really do have to be right all the time, don’t you. :man_shrugging:t2:


If you say so


Then why mention it all?


Because, as I have been told before, this is a community for discussion and I was making a contribution.

My contribution is valid but I do find that certain people are quick to close down others.

This really has become an extremely unwelcoming and unfriendly place that is dominated by a few voices who gang up on anyone who does not conform to Monzo groupthink.

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I don’t think Tom was bored or disinterested, for what it’s worth.

I think there is a level to where we all feel frustrated that we have to address this subject at all, in this manner, because frankly, the Watchdog hit-piece has framed this entire situation in the wrong light.

As Tom says, 95% of these cases are ones where we’ve made the right decision. This means that actually, the work we are doing in this area protects customers from financial crime. It contributes to stopping drug gangs, terrorists, and human traffickers from being able to fund their organisations. It protects vulnerable people from losing their life savings.

The idea that this could be turned around and twisted into making us the bad guys in this situation, and the fact that the law effectively prevents us from being able to prove this in a public sphere, and thus opens us up to mud slinging, co-ordinated attacks and hit-pieces, is hugely frustrating.

We shouldn’t be forced into a defensive position for actually doing a very good job in this area and being compliant with legislation.

We’d rather be going on these shows to talk about the amazing products we are building, the fantastic services we provide to our customers, the fact that we’re changing the culture of an entire industry.


I thought the discussion that they had had about the wider media perceptions, so at the beginning everyone is uber supportive and Monzo couldn’t put a foot wrong and now that Monzo is much bigger there has been a media mood change.
I thought was a very very good point.

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Isn’t that a little “rose tinted”? - I’m sure every company would like to talk about all of their positives, and never mention the negatives in the interviews they do. But personally speaking, I learn far more about a company when they address the negatives, than when they sing about their positives.

I’m not a body language expert, people can make their own mind up about that side of things. But have Monzo ever released the statistics behind all of this?

Assuming roughly 95% of cases were indeed a “slam dunk” for illegal activity, how many people are in the 5%? And then, how many people of that 5 % were indeed innocent?

But again, the main point of the Watchdog piece was seemingly overlook in the interview, and that is the speed of response, which Monzo themselves have agreed needs to improve.

I’ve also wondered if the two examples who appeared on Watchdog, were actually found guilty of criminal activity in the end? If so, that would bolster Monzo’s position a little.


About 250 years ago when I studied [direct] marketing we were told that there was no such thing as bad publicity. I am saddened that Monzo staffers have to “defend” themselves on TV - on here - on FB - and perhaps elsewhere when Monzo is going about its business in a legal and effective manner. Keep up the good work and never mind the body language - no one cares - if you are speaking sense. R-

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There’s a balance, though, and it’s frustrating when things get overblown and things that are untrue are presented as fact.

I think, given our history, if we were in the wrong somewhere we’d be more than happy to put up our hands and say fair cop, we messed up and here’s how we’ll fix it.

We don’t believe we’re in the wrong in this entire affair. But we are prevented in many ways from being able to prove that. That’s not to say there aren’t processes that can be improved, but the overall optics of how this was presented are frankly so far from the truth that it’s impossible to not be frustrated by it.


He did seem twitchy and but when he was actually speaking all that had gone and he was speaking passionately.

Very likely pain meds though from post op.

Frankly the BBC should be ashamed of watchdog, the Monzo coversge by the BBC means I simply can no longer believe anything they say on the show now.

They destroyed their trust for the sake of a bit of attention seeking.


Oh, 100%, but that is unfortunately par for the course in this day and age.

Playing devils advocate (because I do think the Watchdog thing was overblown), but Monzo are as guilty for twisting the truth in their advertising as well.

“Market leading rate” was a headline this year about one of your new savings products, when in fact, it was market leading compared to the other 3 month fixed terms out there… but I don’t think there was much to compare it too.

It was still lower than a huge amount of accounts offering longer, and shorter term savings products.

Monzo are very good at getting clicks on their blogs, and making use of their SEO skills, and I’m not sure that’s too much different to what Watchdog did (or any of the other negative articles over the past year).

If your contribution is valid (which I guess, while oddly picky, it was) then surely a response to it is also valid, rather closing someone down. It’s not like anyone banned you or removed your post or locked the thread


Why not stick to the topic instead of continuing to have a go at people with different opinions?

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I don’t know what headline or savings product in particular that refers to, so I can’t comment specifically, but there’s a difference between a bit of creative spin on promotion (and, the comment is not inaccurate, even if it only refers to the conditions you mention) - and a major national broadcaster putting out a hit-job in the manner that they did on a topic as sensitive and tightly regulated as financial crime. I understand the point you’re trying to make but I don’t think those are comparable.

Fair and balanced journalism would have involved interviewing someone who was the victim of social engineering fraud or had been scammed into losing their life savings etc and who, thanks to quick action by us or any other bank, had managed to get the money returned. The Watchdog thing (to me) had a tone inferring that we freeze accounts for absolutely no reason.

I’m not sure that the average Joe watching that would understand that, if someone has been scammed into sending out their life savings, for example, then the bank freezing the account of the scammer to facilitate getting that money returned is obviously the right thing to do? Or that we obviously have a legal and moral obligation to stop money from entering and leaving the accounts of drug gangs and human traffickers, etc.


Fair and balanced would also have been featuring customers across a number of different banks, not just Monzo, and pitching the piece as being against a law that is felt to be too much of a blunt instrument rather than attacking just one of the banks tasked with enforcing it. The ‘tipping off’ rules in particular, are perhaps particularly draconian and Watchdog could’ve just reported on that one point instead.

I note recently it has been found that Monzo occupy 50% of the fintech sector in the UK - no wonder they have more customers affected than Starling or Revolut do (to take two examples) in that case! Which is to say, when Watchdog said they got more complaints about Monzo than anyone else, they took the numbers at face value and failed to really look into why. The plural of anecdote is not data.


I have to agree that Tom seemed a little awkward compared to his usual manner but then I guess that since it’s primarily a podcast that might be why. That being said, the others didn’t seem that way at all.

I would be interested to know numbers. 95% of how many?

Also does this mean now we won’t be immediately shot down if we throw caution to the many “sob stories” that appear on here? Since the likelihood appears to be that they are not entirely accurate…


I’m trying to follow the topic and am a bit confused as to what this means. Is the implication that Tom made up the figure, or is this a comment on the media being sloppy and imprecise? Is there something being hidden from us by rounding 94.89% up to 95%?

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It was a comment for a comment’s sake. It has added no value to the thread at all.