NatWest appears to be getting very tough. Two retailers have contacted me in the past fortnight to say that the bank was calling in the overdraft and demanding full payment of loans. Neither had defaulted on payments, but somewhere in the fine print will be the information that it is within the bank's rights to suddenly change its mind.

To anyone in this situation, I can make a couple of suggestions. First, check your credit rating with Experian and Equifax. If your score is good, try taking your account to another bank. Sooner or later banks will have to start lending again.

If not, ring the grocer's charity Caravan for some free advice. Caravan set up a helpline last summer which among other things can help with money problems. They have access to financial advisors. The number is 0808 802 1122.

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