Part 1

Teller: Next, please.
Philip: Hi. I’m wondering if I could wire some money to a friend of mine.
Teller: Do you have an account with us?
Philip: Yes. Here’s my card. Oh, and here’s the recipient’s details. He’s in Nigeria.
Teller: OK. Can I get you to fill out this form first, please? And how much is it for?
Philip: (filling out form) It’s for €2000.
Teller: Do you want to send €2000, or for the recipient to receive €2000, because the bank charges a ₤15 transaction fee, and you’ll need to convert your pounds into euros.
Philip: He needs to receive €2000. What is the exchange rate at the moment?
Teller: It’s €1.3 to the pound. So €2000 equates to ₤1538.46. Plus the fee, equals ₤1553.46.
Philip: That’s fine. When will he be able to get the money?
Teller: It should be with him in 3 working days.

1. ‘I’m wondering…’ is used as a less direct/very polite way to say ‘Can I…?’ or ‘Would you…?’ Sometimes changed to ‘I was wondering…”
I’m wondering if you would like to be my date for the wedding.
I was wondering whether you could do me a favour.
2. wire = send money electronically from one account to another


Part 2

Anne: I’d like to open an account please.
Teller: Certainly. What sort of account would you like?
Anne: I guess just a normal savings account. Why, what others do you have?
Teller: For personal banking we also offer a high interest account that gives you 4% rather than the usual 1.5%, but you can only withdraw a maximum of ₤1000 a month. We also have student accounts, and business accounts.
Anne: I think the normal savings account is fine: I need to pay my rent from this account, and I already have an ISA. I need something flexible I can dip into any time.
Teller: OK. Well all we need is you to fill out your details on this form, two forms of identification, and a ₤50 minimum deposit. If you would like internet banking, just tick the box at the bottom. And your card will be with you in seven working days.

1. ‘Why,…?’ is like ‘why do you ask, do you have other information?’
‘You’re not buying that are you?’
‘Why, what’s wrong with it?’

2. ISA = Individual Savings Account. These accounts are special accounts in the UK which are to encourage saving. People can put money into ISAs, and any gains made are not taxable.
3. ‘dip into (savings)’ is a phrase used for taking a small amount out of something you have been saving.
The holiday was a bit expensive, so we had to dip into our retirement fund.
There was so much demand for the drugs the dealer had to dip into his own stash.
4. ‘Tick’ is UK English. ‘Check’ is American English.


Part 3

According to statistics, the average person should make over a million dollars during their working life, and more still if armed with a good qualification. Yet, when I look at my bank account, I find this hard to believe. Where does all the money go? Why do I not have enough? To me, money is like sex: supposedly tons of it about, but I never get any!

1. ‘According to…’ = as stated by…
According to the weather forecast, it’s going to be a hot weekend.
They’re getting married, at least according to what I have heard.
2. ‘and more still (if…)’ = and even more is possible (if…)
You can save a lot of money if you get an ISA, and more still if you combine it with a trust fund.
We can probably get 20 people signed up, and more still if we hire someone to do some marketing.
3. ‘armed’ = furnished with / holding
We were chased by some kids armed with water pistols.
Armed with a strong sense of injustice, he decided to sue the company.
4. ‘supposedly’ = what people say / what people believe is true (but there is no evidence)
We’re supposedly getting an extra day off next week, but the boss hasn’t confirmed it yet.
The British are supposedly to have sold weapons to them, although I guess they weren’t the only ones.
5. ‘tons’ is used as hyperbole (exaggeration)
There are tons of things I don’t understand about the modern world.
He had a ton of girlfriends before he finally decided to settle down.


Part 4

People change their phones, their cars, and their clothes. If they have a bad experience with a restaurant, bar or shop, they are usually quick to withdraw their custom and warn friends away from frequenting that establishment. Yet, on the matter of money, many people show a curious loyalty to their bank, often sticking with a company and branch through thick and thin, sometimes for their entire lives. Despite knowing better products exist elsewhere, and often complaining about customer service, financial greed, and irksome hurdles for seemingly simple tasks, they do not move their money. Even after the financial crisis, a 2012 survey of UK customers found approximately half of 15-24 year olds, and an amazing eight out of ten 55-64 year olds, feel loyal to their bank (the overall percentage across all age groups was roughly 66%).
The psychology of bank customers is important in this: when people think about their money, they are usually more conservative, wanting to avoid risk (making them reluctant to move money) and use names of which they have heard (so remaining with large banks, despite their faults). In many ways this need to feel safe is counterproductive, and foolishly allows banks to reap the benefits of the free market economy without worrying about losing customers to competition. It could even be argued that such customer loyalty has helped create the irresponsibility shown by banks during the late 20th and early 21st centuries: after all, if you can behave as badly as you want, but still not lose your customers, why care? Such loyalty also means that new or ethical banks have a major problem attracting customers, leaving high street names holding a monopoly. However, perhaps the recent spate of ‘banks behaving badly’ will change the public mindset. Time will tell.

1. ‘to frequent’ = to go to (usually more than once)
When I was in Boston I used to frequent this bar run by an ex-baseball player.
2. ‘establishment’ is sometimes used officially to describe a restaurant, shop, etc. It is used semi-ironically (as a sort of joke) in casual English.
3. ‘through thick and thin’ = through the good times and the bad times
They’ve been together for thirty years, and through thick and thin.
4. ‘irksome’ = annoying
5. ‘conservative’ = not liking to take risk
He is quite conservative: he doesn’t like to try new things, and he is usually very careful about any choice he has to make.
6. ‘counterproductive’ = to do something that one thinks is good, but actually makes things worse
7. ‘reap the benefits’ = get the rewards
I’m putting in the hard work now. Hopefully I’ll reap the benefits later.
They’re reaping the benefits of getting into the housing market early. By collecting rents and selling a property or two, they’ve made a fortune.
8. ‘It could even be (said/argued)’ = It is also possible to say / some people might say. This is used when showing the furthest the argument can go.
She made a huge mess of her job before she was fired. It could even be said she sent the company back five years.
A lot of people hate him. Indeed, it could even be said he is the most unpopular man in the country at this moment.
9. ‘after all’ = because of this situation; x situation makes/wants y to happen
He didn’t study for the exam. After all, he knew he wasn’t going to pass.
She decided to get spend the night getting drunk. After all, she only got one birthday a year.
10. ‘ethical’ = trying to do the right thing; trying to do good
11. ‘monopoly’ = the only (or by far the biggest) supplier of a service
The US court decided that Microsoft had used unfair business practices to gain a monopoly on internet browsers
12. ‘spate’ = a sudden rush / a large amount of the same events suddenly happening at the same time
Since that TV show become popular, there has been a spate of copycats.
He was arrested for committing a spate of killings early last year.
13. ‘mindset’ = way of thinking
14. ‘time will tell’ = we must wait and see what happens