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Sunday 15 February 2009

A Hero, Nattie

I am proud and humble that I have worked with him in the relentless quest to help those in need from the completely ridiculous charges the banks were charging their customers for even minor infractions on their account. Yes, I know that he has breeched his terms and conditions, but I have read hundreds, no thousands, of posts of people who were trapped in a never ending spiral by the exorbitant charges. I helped in as much as I could but Nattie was able to give us advance warning, wherever possible, of a change in tactics by his bank.

He is the rarest of creatures: a decent, likeable banker. For more than two years Tim Keirman was the mystery guardian angel of the bank charges campaign. While still working for NatWest he helped thousands of customers get their money back by posting anonymous guidance on consumer forum websites, much to the chagrin of his employers. Last week, his identity was finally discovered by the bank. Its revenge was swift, and savage.

Mr Keirman, a 34-year-old cashier and MoneySense adviser for NatWest's Cambridge branch since 1998, yesterday revealed his identity to the IoS. After a disciplinary hearing last Wednesday, he was sacked for gross misconduct.

Mr Keirman dedicated his spare time to helping customers navigate the bureaucracy needed to get their money back by offering targeted advice and leaking internal guideline documents.

Marc Gander of the website Consumer Action Group said: "People see him as a hero. He was tremendously helpful."

Mr Keirman said yesterday: "It was good to get a sense that I was helping someone. I didn't agree with our charging structure and there were a number of times when I heard the charges were ruining lives."

A spokeswoman for NatWest said last night: "We can confirm that a member of NatWest staff has recently been dismissed for gross misconduct for releasing confidential internal information without authorisation to a third party."

The banking crisis is not over. The banks made £3 billion out of their charging regime last year and are most likely to lose the test case that is due for resolution in the next few months. This means that they will have to pay back the overcharging, not just for that year but also forthe preceding 5 years.

We are screwed yet again, as they are bound to winge for more money from the the taxpayer.

Don't you dare say It's my fault