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    Student's suicide over overdraft

    Parents of a student who hanged himself days after his overdraft was withdrawn have criticised his bank following an inquest into his death.

    Swansea Institute computer student Geraint Banks-Wilkinson, 20, from Nantymoel, was found with a cord around his neck at his digs on 13 January.

    Two days earlier, he broke down in tears at his parents' home after visiting the Bridgend branch of HSBC.

    Coroner Philip Rogers recorded a suicide verdict at the Swansea inquest.

    Speaking after the hearing at the city's County Hall, Mr Banks-Wilkinson's father, Geoff, a prison officer, said of the bank: "The way they treated him was appalling."

    "They were hounding us when they could not get hold of him.

    "He was not afraid of a bit of work and was doing his studies as well, but could not do everything."

    Mr Banks-Wilkinson's mother, Marion, also criticised the bank.

    Geoff and Marion Banks-Wilkinson
    Mr Banks-Wilkinson's parents criticised HSBC

    She said: It was not being able to get hold of the right people.

    "There was one department phoning our house and when he went to the branch it was a completely different thing.

    "You can't get hold of anyone to take ownership and I think that's one of the things that was so frustrating for him.

    "He couldn't get anyone who could tell him they could actually make a decision."

    A statement from HSBC read: "HSBC again offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Geraint Banks-Wilkinson. HSBC has not as yet had an opportunity to review the coroner's findings and as such cannot comment on them specifically.

    "Further, privacy legislation prohibits a bank from discussing the details of its customers' accounts, and we certainly would not want to intrude upon the family's grief."

    The bank said it recognised how losing control of debt was "enormously stressful."

    "At HSBC we make every possible effort to reach customers the moment we begin to see signs of financial difficulty," said a spokesman. "Not to do so would be irresponsible."

    Earlier, the inquest had heard that Mr Banks-Wilkinson had a job at the Fabian Way branch of McDonald's but had problems with money.

    Throughout December 2005, HSBC had tried to contact him almost every day and telephoned his parents at their home. the court heard.

    Over the Christmas period, a student loan was paid into his HSBC account, paying off most of his £1,200 overdraft.

    The computer design student then discovered the bank was closing his overdraft and on 11 January he was driven by his mother, who worked for a different bank, to his home branch in Bridgend.

    "When he came back, basically he sat in the car, put his head in his hands and sobbed," Mrs Banks-Wilkinson told the coroner.

    "He said 'They can't help me'."

    'Struggle'

    Mrs Banks-Wilkinson said that she was able to calm her son down over a cup of tea and cheered him up by discussing options available.

    "It was a real shock to him that the overdraft had been withdrawn," she said.

    "We all knew it was a struggle surviving as a student - we could not help him as much as we would have liked because we earned too much to get statutory grants but not enough to give him much."

    She said that later that day she drove him back to his student digs at Watkin Street in Swansea.

    "I would not have taken him back to Swansea if I was not convinced that he was going to be OK," she said.

    Self-harm

    The following day, Mr Banks-Wilkinson went to work as normal and that night went out to socialise with colleagues from McDonald's.

    On 13 January a flatmate discovered Mr Banks-Wilkinson hanging from a beam in their bathroom.

    A post mortem examination found the cause of death was hanging.

    The inquest heard that Mr Banks-Wilkinson had a history of depression and around the time of his GCSEs he had self-harmed.

    He had been prescribed anti-depressants in the past but it was unclear if was still on medication at the time of his death.

    Recording a verdict of suicide, Coroner Philip Rogers said: "This is clearly a very sad case - the death of a young man with a promising future."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/6038086.stm

    Very sad
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    I haven't even got an overdraft given I don't want to rely on debt as a backup.

    The departmental structure of banks nowadays is appaling. Not one section talks to the other, then you end up dealing with not just the bank, but about 10 different sections of the bank. It can all get uber-confusing. I can't see why each customer can't have a database in which all queeries etc are logged and reports are constantly made. Then employ people that can perform all tasks at base level to be on phones / shop floor. Then behind the scenes you could have specialists in certain areas or divisions.

    As it is now, you just get the impression the banks don't have a bloody clue what they're on about.
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    The guy had a history of self harm and may have been on anti depressants. It wasnt simply, "oh know i dont have an overdraft facility anymore how can i live".

    Suicide is something that usually happens at the end of a long period of depression. In this case, the debt may have been the trigger, but its simply a get out clause for the family. I wonder if the family would like to talk about other factors which led to this tragedy.
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    It's a shame he thought suicide was his only way out.

    If anyone has money problems, they should go to their university's student finance office. They can usually help out with emergency loans to tide you by until you can get something sorted.
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    (Original post by Psyk)
    It's a shame he thought suicide was his only way out.
    It wasnt exactly debt, but just not having any money to live on. Is it really something someone would commit suicide over? I dunno, this may be a special case. But i believe that this is just one event thats being overplayed, when in reality there were probably other things in his life that contributed to the depression.
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    (Original post by Psyk)
    It's a shame he thought suicide was his only way out.
    That, unfortunately, is not uncommon with people suffering from depression. People who don't really know about it just think of someone who has depression as being really down. Hell, even I thought that when my mum had depression when I was younger...but that's only the start of it. To put it bluntly, depression ****s with your brain - you begin to look at life very pessimistically, and you often dwell on every little thing that seemed to go wrong for you. This pessimistic attitude brings you down a spiral, and it only gets worse...at the end of the spiral you basically see no positives in your future - you leave yourself with the option of living the rest of this life that will seemingly have no upside to it, or killing yourself and ending the suffering there and then.
    I have been down that spiral several times since I was 13, and I've reached the end not once but twice...on two occasions (once when I was 16 and once when I was 18) I have attempted suicide as a result of depression. As ghost101 said, this thing with the HSBC may have been the thing that tipped him over the edge, but it's not going to be the only problem this kid had in his life at the time.
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    It was most likely a combination of things.

    He possibly had a poor standard of life at Uni and this would have made it worse.

    To be fair to Natwest they send me reminders all the time reminding me I have an overdraft and that I haven't paid anything into it - nothing threating tho - it is a non interest account so I suppose they are not losing any potential interest anyway.
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    (Original post by ghost101)
    The guy had a history of self harm and may have been on anti depressants. It wasnt simply, "oh know i dont have an overdraft facility anymore how can i live".

    Suicide is something that usually happens at the end of a long period of depression. In this case, the debt may have been the trigger, but its simply a get out clause for the family. I wonder if the family would like to talk about other factors which led to this tragedy.
    Agreed. The actual debt was probably minor compared to what was already going on in his head.
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    TSR Community Team
    (Original post by Lib North)
    Agreed. The actual debt was probably minor compared to what was already going on in his head.
    the straw that broke the camels back as they say...

    it's a shame, and is silly the amount of people that take their lives over this sort of thing, when really all they need is a bit of support
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    (Original post by cjmcnair)
    the straw that broke the camels back as they say...

    it's a shame, and is silly the amount of people that take their lives over this sort of thing, when really all they need is a bit of support
    If the depression is serious enough, they may not be able to look for support. As I said above, they feel very pessimistic - they may feel that other people would be unable to help them, or they don't want to bring others down with them. This was certainly the case with me. In April, when I realised that I was at risk of falling into depression again (exams were coming up and I knew I was going to fail at least one if not both of them), I went to the doctor's before the depression kicked in, because I knew I wouldn't be able to bring myself to go once I was depressed.
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    that's awful
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    Have I read that right. He was in about 1.2k of debt? Thats not exactly a lot is it..
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    no not a lot at all. it seems to me that they're trying to make hsbc the scapegoat in all of this.
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    I don't understand how people can 'attempt' suicide. Surely killing yourself isn't hard?
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    I'm sorry, but suicide is not justified.
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    (Original post by DanGrover)
    I don't understand how people can 'attempt' suicide. Surely killing yourself isn't hard?
    Depends on the method you use...but that's not a discussion for TSR
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    (Original post by WokSz)
    I'm sorry, but suicide is not justified.
    Ever or in this case...?
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    (Original post by WokSz)
    I'm sorry, but suicide is not justified.
    And to a suicidal person living is not justified.
 
 
 
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