Bank sorry after delay to clinic payment

A HIGH street bank has apologised to a customer with terminal cancer after it delayed transferring her own funds abroad to pay for treatment that could prolong her life.

Long-standing NatWest customer Dorothy Southernwood, 61, had flown to Germany for the specialist treatment after first making sure she had enough money in her account to meet the 27,000 bill.

Once abroad, the retired dinner lady from Huddersfield found that the bank refused to transfer the money.

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The bank, which uses the slogan "Helpful Banking", eventually backed down when it was contacted by journalists.

A spokeswoman said: "We sincerely apologise for any stress and inconvenience caused to Mr and Mrs Southernwood.

"The funds have now been transferred electronically to them and we will be reimbursing them for out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred."

Mrs Southernwood and her husband Victor, 65, have banked with NatWest for 30 years but said their branch manager refused to use her discretionary powers to allow the wire transfer.

Instead she insisted the couple post written authorisation from Germany.

Mr Southernwood and his wife's daughter Sarah Gash, 38, also travelled to the St George Clinic in Bad Aibling, near Munich, in Bavaria.

Louise Morgan, 40, the eldest of Mrs Southernwood's three daughters, said the incident had been very upsetting.

She said: "I can't believe NatWest were being so unsympathetic when they have banked with them for so long.

"People shouldn't believe the adverts on TV, they are not the friendly face of banking. It's disgraceful what they have done."