In these frightening financial times when seemingly safe banking institutions can be reduced to memories overnight, Alvin Hall is a man people instinctively feel they can trust with their money worries.
His immaculate presentation - complete with trademark bow tie - and his friendly reassuring manner somehow entice people to open up and make frank disclosures about the state of their finances to the presenter of BBC 2’s Your Money or Your Life.
And it’s clear from the questions posed to Alvin at a talk given before his book signing at a central Birmingham branch of Lloyds TSB to help launch a new campaign, people are very worried indeed.
Most of the audience are middle-aged people worried about the state of their investments and they lap up the advice he dispenses on staying within their comfort zones.
But talking to Alvin after the event, it’s not the older generation that he is worried about in the current crisis, it’s the young people who have come of age in the “buy now, pay later” culture of the last decade and who are now dealing with a mountain of credit card debt in a tightening market.
“The trouble is parents stopped teaching children the reality of money, they thought if they taught them about money it would take away their childhood.
“By removing that control over money from them it made them feel they could always go back to mum and dad.
“The current crisis is forcing young people to come face to face with a financial reality they never anticipated. It will be a character-building time and will force people to learn some lessons.”
He doesn’t subscribe to the notion that the current crisis is something perpetrated on the innocent consumer by greedy bankers tucked away in the Square Mile.
“Clearly people are looking to put the blame somewhere when we face dark situations like this but we are all to blame, we all participated.
“Yes the banks did probably lend too much money but homeowners still wanted to buy more and more property and people wanted bigger properties than they kney they could afford.
“People felt entitled to get bigger houses, to get credit cards. One of the things I noticed doing my television programme was that the people I was talking to thought that overdrafts and credit cards were actually their own money to spend - I found that incredible.
Despite his mild manners, Alvin has some quite strong words for the culture of speculating on property which had grown up in the UK, encouraged by endless TV repeats on how to make money out of homes.
“In the UK people subscribed to what I call a “mental virus” - the belief that prices would go up and up and they could make money by speculating on their homes.”
“This is something that doesn’t exist in the US. For instance I only own one home and I would never dream of being a landlord.”
Maybe this old-fashioned approach is something he inherited from his grandmother who called him round to see her when she fell ill to reveal she had been carrying $20,000 in her bra for years.
“I call that my treasure chest day,” he said.
Despite her asking Alvin not to invest it in a bank, her sensible grandson did so in secret and paid her a handsome sum in interest every month until she died.
Obviously Alvin is not advocating his grandmother’s particular brand of caution, it is clear his old-fashioned no-nonsense approach to money really resonates with people looking to regain a lost sense of trust in the financial world.