Mys­tery blonde be­comes a headache for bank

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA& MARKETING - TA­MARA CO­HEN

THE TV advert with its pic­ture-post­card scene was meant to show how NatWest keeps vil­lages mov­ing.

But the use of a mys­tery blonde woman cus­tomer us­ing its mo­bile bank­ing ser­vice has caused a storm in the nor­mally sleepy Devon­shire vil­lage of Dunsford.

The blonde – who isn’t seen from the front – is fea­tured as a lo­cal shop­keeper, just shut­ting up her busi­ness briefly to visit the bank­ing ser­vice.

How­ever, there is only one lo­cal shop­keeper, vil­lage post­mistress Ilona Lapka – who also hap­pens to be blonde. And she says it’s cer­tainly not her.

She says the advert’s im­pli­ca­tion that she shuts up dur­ing the day to “bank” is harm­ful to her busi­ness and she plans to sue the bank for mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Lapka, 48, says she is not a NatWest cus­tomer and uses a dif­fer­ent bank through her own post of­fice.

In the advert, the NatWest mo­bile bank van pulls up in the vil­lage high street. Lapka’s busi­ness, Dunsford Post Of­fice and Stores, can be seen in the back­ground.

A bank staff mem­ber serves the blonde cus­tomer, who tells her: “I just pop up to the end of the road and look up to see if you’re there yet, and when you are I can just shut the shop and nip up.”

Lapka said: “The advert fea­tures my vil­lage and a woman claim­ing to run the lo­cal shop say­ing she’s clos­ing to visit a NatWest. I run the only shop here. There’s only one shop in the vil­lage and that’s mine. Peo­ple started mak­ing jokes when it first came on air… But then some­one ac­tu­ally com­plained, say­ing the post­mistress should prac­tise what they preach and bank at the post of­fice.”

NatWest this week claimed the blonde woman was a “gen­uine NatWest cus­tomer”. How­ever, she is not recog­nised by the vil­lage’s 688 res­i­dents. A spokesman de­nied Lapka had been mis­rep­re­sented.

“The in­di­vid­ual who ap­pears in the advert is a NatWest mo­bile bank cus­tomer,” he said. – Daily Mail

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