Treat yourself to an overdraft

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The Independent Online
Calling all new students! May we have a word with you about your banking arrangements?

You may have noticed that although the college authorities have shown a moderate interest in your educational future, the people who have really tried to engage your interest, not to say flirt with you, are the four main clearing banks. But be warned before you accept anything from them. Do you know why they are called clearing banks?

That's right.

It's because they take your grant and clear off with it.

That's why we advise you not to give any money to the clearing banks. We advise you, instead, to bank with Student Direct.

What is Student Direct?

Student Direct is a completely new kind of bank designed for students.

It opens at a time when the average student is rousing himself from slumbers (3pm), i.e. just when all the other banks are thinking of closing, and it stays open most of the night.

All branches of Student Direct are licensed to serve intoxicating liquor. So when you are served, the first question our cashier will ask you, as like as not, will be: "What's your poison?".

There will be no queuing at Student Direct, just beautiful young people standing around in groups holding pints of lager and getting slowly addled. And no money changes hands. The price of the drink comes straight out of your account.

Background music of a rock nature will be played at the level preferred by students, i.e. just loud enough to drown conversation so that the volume of conversation has to be raised, thus leading to a slight rise in the volume of music, etc.

The purpose of the bank will be to enable students to meet other students, to ask them out for a good time, and to provide the funds wherewith this can be achieved.

After eight at night, your local branch of Student Direct will turn into a disco, with a small cinema attached showing first-run trendy films and cult classics, ranging from The Usual Suspects to The Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman.

As in most banks, there will be tables dotted around, with bank employees sitting at them wearing lapel badges saying things like "Business Service" and "Customer Counselling", and a threateningly empty chair on the other side of the table for you.

Except that our people don't have badges like that. Our people have badges saying things like "Hangover Consultant", "Venue Advice" and "What's In, What's Out?" Customer Clothes Corner!

Yes, our people are there to give you student advice. On things you really want to know about.

Like, how to cook a meal for six using only baked beans and what seem to be three left-over leeks.

Like, how to get tomato ketchup stains out of wallpaper without the landlord noticing.

Like, how to get a VCR machine going again when there seems to be nothing wrong with it but it still won't work.

Yes, you're right. It's the all-in-one student service you've always dreamt of.

Plus, we also have counsellors ready to advise you on the intricacies of human relationships. And we don't mean on how to get a mature partnership going - we mean, on how to pull that gorgeous girl at the party, or how to get going with that chunky piece of manhood!

Of course, you may not be gorgeous or chunky yourself, or you may not think you are. We understand. We at Student Direct know about that. That's why all our branch managers have received training in fashion, beauty care and style. Our bank managers are all immaculate and dishy objects. But, boy, you should have seen them when they started work here! They looked just like you look now! Worse, maybe, if possible. No, not worse. But bad.

That's why, when you see your manager on business, the first thing he or she is likely to say will not be something pretentious about borrowing being at unacceptable levels, but more along the lines of "That hat! You're joking! It's got to go!" or "Your friends haven't been telling you about your bad breath problem, have they?".

There's something we haven't mentioned, isn't there? That's right. It's money, isn't it? Why haven't we mentioned our banking arrangements?

Because we don't want to worry you, OK? Most students worry about money for three years, as their debts mount. Well, let's face it, your debts are going to mount at Student Direct, because student debts mount everywhere. The difference is that we at Student Direct take it all on board.

You spend.

We worry.

Fair enough?