Is not always a bad thing. The amount of paperwork floating around means that your friendly local banker is able to get things done with a quiet word that in the UK is no longer possible, because our systems are water-tight (i.e. inflexible). Cards can be issued within a day and cheque books too. I was wondering how they did the chequebook, and then I saw. The poor fellow took out a rubber stamp, altered its digits to match my account number, and went through a new chequebook stamping every single cheque with my account number. Can you possibly imagine anyone in London being bothered or able to do that?