Just when you thought the arrogance of senior bankers had reached its limit along comes a shabby little initiative from one of the high street names that should know better. Last month Abbey wrote out of the blue to hundreds if not thousands of law firms across the country saying that they would no longer do business with them because of their supposedly paltry volumes of work (“doh” there is a housing crash out there!). About 6000 law firm offices were unceremoniously dumped off the Abbey panel. Clients who were part way through house sales and purchases involving Abbey mortgages suddenly found themselves panicking about whether or not their deals would collapse, so were their estate agents and anyone else involved in a chain. Why would Abbey choose to dish out such shabby treatment to their customers at this point in time? Cynics might suggest that the bursting of the housing bubble and resultant market crash provides a great pretext for them to channel business through their “preferred” suppliers (who may or may not pay them a referral fee for the privilege) or maybe even take the work “in house”. Why does this matter to Joe Public? Well, just look at how they’ve performed in their core business of banking…… and then imagine them calling the shots when it comes to your housing transaction! Abbey needs to realise that the concept of choice cuts both ways. Those it has inconvenienced may justifiably choose not to do business with it in the future.