Move Your Money

Bit of a whinge this evening, I’m afraid.

As so many of us are wondering who we should vote for, or if we should even bother*, I got to thinking about those other little things we can do to make a difference and feel empowered. They could make a greater difference than voting for people whom, in all likelihood, will turn out to be just like the fakes that let you down previously (damn it, Tony Blair; will my broken heart ever mend?). I don’t mean an hour spent shivering and twiddling your thumbs in the dark, or any of that stuff. I’m talking about the collective power of the consumer.

You could start, this very day if you like, if you haven’t already, by committing to take whatever money you have left in your bank account and depositing it elsewhere; far away from the evil clutches of those that caused this financial mess through their risky speculation due to carelessness and arrogance, the banks that we, as dutiful taxpayers, had to bail out whether we approved or not. Not that we bail out other failed establishments, of course. We in the UK didn’t bail out dear old Woolworths, God rest her soul, even though its presence on the High Street is missed. We didn’t resolve to have a whip-round to keep Cadbury’s out of the clutches of a ‘plastic cheese company’ that conducts cruel lab tests on animals (Kraft).

Oh, silly me, that’s because banks are different. They are all-important and we must not displease them for fear of upsetting the sensitive souls cocooned within them or else they might pack up their belongings – in very big crates and containers – and leave the country for good, presumably leaving us all horribly downcast and at a loss as to how to continue alone, afraid.

Our money has made the banks rich. We gave it to them to take care of, they gambled it casino-style and created this dire mess, the reality of which they don’t appreciate because they’ve still got plenty of money. Go to them now, cap in hand, and ask nicely if they will, please, lend some of our money back because our debts are suffocating us, our children are miserable, our homes are falling into disrepair and we have struggling businesses to somehow support through these harsh times, and just you wait for the inevitable rejection. That’s because your wretched life, family, home and business isn’t worth saving because you don’t matter one jot to the Big Banks.

Think about it. Aren’t you tired of how much it even costs to telephone your bank these days? Of how long they keep you hanging on, listening to music, going through endless options (‘If you want to stab yourself in the eye to relieve your boredom, press 3’), hoping you’ll give up and spare them the hassle? They oh-so kindly and oh-so helpfully (I’m being sarcastic here, if you can’t tell), suggest you go to their website to find the answer to your question. In other words, do their work for them. But once there, you can’t e-mail them if you wanted to. You can rarely even speak to someone knowledgeable in your local branch any more without an appointment. The opportunistic cashiers try to sell you insurance and other assorted loosely-related services to top up their personal pay packets with commission even if you only popped in to deposit a cheque and don’t have time to listen to their spiel, not least because you’ve heard it before and will hear it the next time you’re in. Then they lay off workers by the hundred and employ cheaper labour overseas to man the telephones, and as polite and obliging as those polite and obliging people may be, their lack of local sympathies merely adds to the frustration you’ve been caused. Then there are the fees, not exclusive to banks, of course; you want to change a simple detail on an insurance policy and they think they should be entitled to charge a hefty administration fee for simply pressing some buttons and printing out new documents. Doing what they get paid to do, I presumed.

Just what exactly are they doing for us which doesn’t involve them exploiting and infuriating us further?

Do they make you feel welcome or valued? No. We are, in fact, something of an inconvenience to them and this contempt they make little attempt to hide. The reality is that banks operate in the interests of their shareholders, not their customers, so we might as well tell our problems to a brick wall for all they care. Yet let’s keep giving them our money to look after.

It was pleasing to observe that shareholders are beginning to revolt against excessive chief executive pay (Barclays last week, insurer Aviva today), although let’s not kid ourselves; it’s not as though they’re protecting anything other than their own interests.

The largest banks don’t pay their fair share of tax, their ethics have always been objectionable, they finance destructive projects that cause great harm to the environment (thinking tar sands development in Canada) and bankers receive substantial rewards even for failure. Ah, the bonuses. You’d suppose that a large salary would be motivation enough to do their jobs well without the need for a six-figure perk on top, yet the bosses continue to brazenly collect their bonuses in these bleak times of austerity. These round-faced, rosy-cheeked white men (with the glued-together teeth, have you noticed?), so often photographed on horseback or with big guns and surrounded by adoring sycophants, appear to have no sense of shame whatsoever. People are struggling right now, the majority through no fault of their own, but the ‘banksters’ don’t care. They’ll never know what it’s like to worry about paying the bills. They’ll never resort to flogging their jewellery for cash when the cupboards are bare. They don’t know about student debt, endure sleepless nights worrying about the ruinous rates of interest being charged, or fret over the rising cost of just about everything. They don’t live in dread of the car breaking down or the pet becoming sick. They haven’t the foggiest idea how any of this gloom is smothering the real world because it’s a long time since they visited that unforgiving place, if indeed they ever spent time there.

Somehow they become ever richer whilst we experience cuts to our pay and benefits and live in fear of job losses as our living standards decline. Why should they care about our failing schools and hospitals when their kids go to expensive fee-paying schools and their families enjoy the best private healthcare money can buy? They don’t need to worry themselves with mortgages, loans or credit cards. Our ignorance and apathy is what allowed these prissy, privileged people to fall into high-paid jobs in the first place. For goodness sake, people. It’s about time we woke up and used what power we haven’t yet allowed to be eroded away and did something.

As many of the people we elected (or not) into office will, I dearly hope, experience their own embarrassing rejection the next time we have the opportunity to democratically demonstrate our displeasure, we too can hit the bankers. It’s not as hard as perhaps we’d like to hit them, granted, and unfortunately it involves no blunt objects, but it’s something. It’s as much as casting a vote, perhaps more. It can send a clear, loud message and, if enough people do the same, the harder the hit.

This is how you Move Your Money, if you haven’t yet done so, in the US and the UK. In the US it is estimated that as many as 650,000 Americans moved their money to alternative financial providers, such as local credit unions and co-operatives owned by and run for the benefit of their members rather than their shareholders, in the month leading up to Bank Transfer Day (5 November 2011) – 40,000 in a single day. I’m sure you’ve seen the footage. More than 10 million have since followed suit.

Here’s an idea. If you have savings sitting around not earning interest worth shouting about, you can pull them out of your wicked bank and invest in a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending marketplace such as Zopa (with whom I have no connections as either a borrower or lender, I hasten to add) or Prosper in the US, Smava in Germany, Communitae in Spain. Apparently it gives you a better return than saving with a bank, you choose who you lend to and the lender gains access to cheaper credit. How nice is that? That’s the type of compassionate, considerate world I want to live in. Much better than your bank spending your money on weapons for corrupt dictators and not letting you have it when you most need it.

Enough’s enough. We don’t have to do things the way the richest and most influential have decided is best for their own good for so long. Just like we don’t have to shop at large supermarket chains or read Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers.

I’m not saying anything new here, I know, but I feel a little better now.

Feel free to have a moan about banks and insurance companies – either here or in the chatroom, which will be open tomorrow from 3pm (UK).

* Please do vote, even if it’s only to spoil your ballot paper in protest. Low voter turnout is terribly depressing and sends a garbled message that is too easily and conveniently misinterpreted by those that really should be listening to us now, if not always.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

34 thoughts on “Move Your Money”

  1. A run on the banks would cause life as we know it to collapse! I wouldn’t recommend abandoning them whatever your view on their ethics.

    Funding Circle is a great and highly recommended website for peer-to-peer funding. Typical 8% ROI and helps fund small to medium sized business.

  2. I am really upset that even if I use my banks cash machine to get money out, they are starting to take a surcharge out for making the withdrawal. I can see if I went to another bank that they would charge me for the transaction, but my own bank! That’s really wrong…

    Take Care,
    Thomas

    1. That is wrong. That they find so many ways to suck money out of you really gets on my nerves.

      The UK is, for the time being, one of only a few countries where individuals don’t have to pay a monthly fee for their current account (other than various fees relating to exceeding your overdraft limit, etc.) However, it was estimated that UK banks made £8.3 billion out of personal current accounts in 2006, an average revenue of £152 per customer per year. That’s scandalous.

  3. … my family and I do business only with banks that are run by cooperatives the last 25 years. I don’t see a reason why I should feed the big commercial banks, even with my “peanuts”.

    I always have to think about Bert Brecht’s quote “what is a bank robbery compared to funding one”, when reading such texts as yours FEd.

    Regards

    Taki

  4. Just like we don’t have to shop at large supermarket chains or read Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers.

    Not having to read Murdoch’s papers I’ll give you (though really, even as a socialist I find The Times is more neutral than The Graundiag!), but where I stay there is no option other than to shop mainly in supermarkets. I live in a town of around 50,000 yet there is no longer a greengrocer or fishmonger in the town centre. I cannot drive so farm shops etc. are not an option. It would cost me over £200 more per year if I bought cigarettes from my local newsagent instead of Tesco.

    It’s unfortunate that independent businesses are suffering but few have both the means and option to buy solely from them these days.

    1. I hold my hands up, because that’s a fair point. As they’re up, I’ll confess to shopping at supermarkets (and reading Murdoch’s newspapers from time to time, though never buying them). As you say, farm shops and independent retailers of all sorts are often tucked out of the way; I wrestle with the guilt of using more fuel and producing more emissions in order to reach them (not to mention the extra time and expense), and, as you say of local newsagents, they are hardly competitive. It’s probably already being done in many localities, and is something for the middle-classes more so than the working, but an affordable, local delivery service would be the way to compete.

      Off topic, but on the subject of smoking: I don’t smoke myself but have a few friends and family members who are trying to give up at the moment. Has anyone tried electronic cigarettes? I’m hearing lots of good things about them – and can recommend this brand – and aside from the most important health benefits, the tobacco industry is another that I’m sure many of us would similarly like to hit.

    2. This is my first time visiting the blog here. After reading about your friends and family trying to quit smoking, I feel compelled to share my use of sunflower seeds to break the hand to mouth movement associated with smoking. Granted, I ate a small package of seeds per day while quitting, but it worked.

      Good luck to your loved ones on their attempts to quit.

  5. Following on from the last post, songs that changed the world.

    Mike Oldfield with Tubular Bells certainly changed Richard Branson’s world and as we all know he has since done really well and deserves his success. But does Virgin Money perform any better than the other banks for savers, account holders or borrowers?

  6. Hey there, I gave up on banks awhile ago and moved my little amount of cash into a credit union. Supposed to be controlled by the depositors and it is run locally. Therefore, they loan to the small guy starting out in business or home etc. Has to be more positive then the greedy banks and their vulture ways.

    As far as grocery shopping goes. I have always watched for sales and coupons. I have needed to make every cent count and go as far as possible. Therefore, the bigger stores help stretch the dollar so the food lasts longer. The stores I shop are employee owned or local start up. So it is still for the working people and not the big corporation. That is food shopping. When I shop for toiletries, etc. I do use the big box store. (I have found it is difficult to buy those items local.)

    The whole voting thing is such a time honored tradition (so to speak) but the process has been so sudden. I used to really encourage people to vote to make a difference. But after the Kerry/Bush election of a joke – I have become quiet about it. I still vote. I think the local things we vote on count. But for the big items… it is what it is…

    Fortunately I have never smoked cigarettes. I have never cared for addictions! Very sad to say the least. In the USA a lot of people leaving due to lung cancer or other cancers have cancer that is caused by asbestos which was put in way too numerous products to mention – anything fire proof. For some reason some doctors do not mention it to their patients. My sister left from it and when the doctor had me in the consultation room after her surgery saying they removed part of her lung due to a grapefruit size tumor he should have known that is what the asbestos blooms into (there are medical reports stating that marijuana smoke keeps the tumors in the lung from forming.) Probably why we voted in medicinal marijuana and the suicide law (our local vote counts-but federal law trumps state law). A lot of people in this state have been exposed to it. Three people in my family have had to leave due to it.

    In the USA the worker is exposed to all these toxins then gets ill, spends a fortune on medical trying to stay on this precious planet to in the end losing the home to pay for the medical bills. For the life of me I would think people would understand the need for universal medical.

    On a happy note – the beautiful planet shines through with all the beautiful blooms. I love the rhododendron – it is blooming now till Mothers’ Day. The lilac are starting to bloom on the hillside in the park I like. When they do, the smell is out of this world making the whole hillside the sweetest scent.

    And I can not sign off with out saying HAPPY SUPER MOON….

  7. Just curious. Banks are capitalist by nature. That’s their nature of existence, but what about all those years with a monopolistic music industry where big record companies earned a lot of money selling music to the hungry people. The artists earned their share making a lot of musicians very wealthy, but the SONYs and the EMIs are like the banks to me. Do you agree at all?

  8. And here comes the banker!!!

    So, all banks are cruel. I can understand your point of view. Northern Rock, a building society, got bailed out. Lloyds TSB, now Lloyds Banking Group, got Bailed Out. And so on, and so on.

    My employer, HSBC, did not get bailed out. For this, I am happy I work for a company who did not take public money for bail-out purposes.

    Earlier this year, our Chairman, Mr Gulliver, took home a bonus of £8 Million Pounds. Last week, I lost approximately 250 colleagues/friends in my Swansea workplace, to ‘change’ the business. I urge you all to consider that all bankers, are not the stereotypes you make them out to be. I work my bollocks off for my customers. I am about to lose a lot of friends for the financial ‘lust’ of my company. Please respect that.

    Simon J

    1. I do respect that. I mentioned job cuts and these won’t make anybody’s banking experience any better, so there may well be more job losses in future as people switch banks purely on the basis of poor customer service received. It’s an appalling decision for HSBC to take, writing as someone with Swansea sympathies, as you know. To think how many extra people could be employed instead of handing such a large amount to one individual as a bonus (his annual salary is £1.25m) repulses me. What’s even more repulsive is that Mr Gulliver actually could have been awarded a bonus of £12.5m.

  9. Completely off-topic, I know. But I wanted to update the “irregulars” on my new daughter.

    You’ll recall that my wife and I recently became parents for a little girl, Madison, that we hope to adopt. My report here is that the court is still in the (lengthy) process of permanently removing this child from her home, after which we will be able to legally adopt her. Madison is doing really well and is growing very fast! She will turn 6 months old this week, and is rolling over and sitting up unassisted. She “talks” a lot and is a very happy child, constantly laughing and smiling. She is quite large for her age: the doctor says she is in the 95th percentile for weight and height.

    Madison has brought us so much joy that we’re planning to change her middle name to Joy.

    Our community has absolutely fallen head-over-heels in love with our child. I previously reported that our friends gave us everything this child could possibly need, and in a matter of days. She won’t need clothes until sometime after her 2nd birthday. And the gifts are still arriving! People still give us things individually, plus our friends have arranged ANOTHER shower for us at our church (this will be our third shower) at which we’ll get even more stuff. This gives Madison a life of plenty that we would never have been able to give her on our own. And it’s all because our friends love this child so much. I guess it’s because she is so cheerful all the time, people really genuinely like her. And they know that we are rescuing her from what would have been a terrible home life: the biological mother is mentally unhealthy and is just not able to care for a child, and nobody knows who the father is. Our friends say that Madison is very lucky to have us, but I feel that we are so lucky to have her. She is the perfect child and she makes us very happy. And our community apparently feels the same way.

    1. That’s lovely, Dan – a smile for a topic that makes most of us frown.

  10. Just a ‘coup de gueule’ (= angry outburst?) about low voter turnout.

    I can’t stand people who don’t bother to vote and then complain that nothing is working in their country. Take your responsibilities or shut up! If you don’t vote, you just let the others decide for you. Sort of cowardice.

    People in the past had to fight so hard and perhaps die to give us the right to vote and so many people in the world still don’t have this right. I think that voting is not only a right, a privilege, but also a duty.

    I don’t know if we will choose the ‘right’ President this weekend here, but a high participation rate (80% in the first round two weeks ago, not bad, eh?) would at least constitute a victory for democracy.

    1. Absolutely. Voting should be compulsory, in my view. Do you know, voter turnout in the UK has not been that high since 1951. That makes me miserable. Then, we ended up with 77-year-old Winston Churchill as Prime Minister. His Conservatives actually won fewer votes than Labour, so ridiculous is our voting system, which also makes me miserable, but that’s another thing.

      What’s amazing is that, I believe, the figure (82 per cent?) is down from the 2007 election. Then it was 84 per cent.

      For what it’s worth, I think the proportional-style electoral system you have in France genuinely encourages people to vote, as it is a system where people can see that their vote matters. We had a chance to change to a similar system in the UK last year, of course, and didn’t take it.

      Anyway, may the reverberations of Hollande’s victory be felt all across Europe. Vive la révolution. 😉

    2. Voting is not a duty, and those who do not vote still have the right to discuss and participate in politics. There are many reasons other than apathy for not voting. In the 2010 election the winning MP for my constituency received 65% of the votes, the next highest received only 14%, and the party I voted for received 9%. These results were of no surprise to anyone. I did vote, but had I not bothered, it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference.

    3. To FEd:

      Don’t feel miserable, I don’t think that a far-right party ever won 19% of the votes in an election in the UK, as did National Front leader Marine Le Pen here in the first round of the Presidential election. How disturbing.

      Viva Fidel. 😉

  11. My Tip: If you want to get even, check out PPI, and if you were paying it on your mortgage it could be worth thousands to you. If you’re struggling with debt on a credit card and you got it before 2007 you may be able to write the card off and claim back any money you paid on it. Some firms will do this check for a fee, but you can do it yourself.

    Kind regards
    Damian.

    If you’re really struggling with debt check out a government IVA or ask about a debt relief order.

  12. I’ve only just today found this site, searching for the hopeful news that a Dark Side tour is coming to Nashville. Though I’m disappointed at the tour news, I am pleasantly surprised to find this blog. I share all of these aggravations at my bank and have a few of my own gripes to add.

    My family has suffered near financial collapse after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis five years ago. We are struggling to keep our home amid mounting and ongoing medical bills. My credit score has never been worse. But what do I get in the mail everyday? Generous offers for unsecured loans I can’t afford to pay off, at least five offers daily. The banks want me to spend money I don’t have, so I can be a slave to their pockets and fork over thousands of dollars in interest in such small increments that I might not notice that I’ve given them $10,000 after five years. They want to charge me late fees and over-the-limit fees and interest on those charges. It is disgusting. It is also the reason many banks are collapsing: extending loans to people who can’t afford them, counting on threatening and milking them for millions, billions. They didn’t count on so many people defaulting. So now I am paying for their greed, their mistakes and providing the opportunity for this to begin again! No thanks.

    I am a math teacher and I regularly school my high school students on the financial wormhole of credit cards and car loans. Now I need to do something about my bank. I will have to do some research. I don’t know if a bank exists that doesn’t support credit cards, but who knows. It is definitely time for a change.

    1. All the very best to you, Carla. I definitely think there should be classes on money management in all schools.

      Sorry I can’t bring you news of a tour.

  13. I always try to live within my means. I don’t buy things on credit, if I don’t have the money in the bank for what I want I either save or don’t buy it. That works out well except for two necessities in life: housing and transportation. Some people can get away with not owning a car because of good public transportation, but in America especially outside of urban areas that just isn’t an option. And the way housing market works these days it really is cheaper to make a mortgage payment than make a rent payment.

    The problem I ran into a couple months ago is when I tried to buy a car a couple months ago. I wanted a plug-in partly because of my social conscience and partly because of oil prices and tax breaks, so I looked into getting a Chevy Volt. Despite the fact that I had a healthier than normal down payment to offer and clearly demonstrated that I had the income to afford the payments and clearly demonstrated that I pay my bills on time, I was turned down for the loan. Why? Because I had no credit history. The banks would rather loan their money to people knee deep in debt with no end in sight because they know they can keep milking these people for more money year after year, whereas I had shown a lack of willingness to run on the loan treadmill. Well, I wound up getting a cheaper hybrid through a loan with another bank, albeit at a much higher interest rate. My punishment, I suppose, for living within my means.

    1. Oh, I share your frustration, Michael. To my horror, I was turned down for a loan a few years ago (funnily enough, it was to buy a greener car), by a co-operative bank, because I had several credit cards and store cards with reasonably high credit limits even though the balances were at zero for all but the one I use day-to-day – and most had been at zero for many years. I was stunned. Potentially, I could have gone on a wild spending spree the following day and be up to my neck in debt with a loan on top, but the fact that I hadn’t and had clearly always been very responsible didn’t seem to matter. So I’ve since requested that credit limits be reduced drastically (which still seems absurd, believing that the limits had got so high in the first place as a reward for being careful and not just as wicked temptation to spend recklessly) and cancelled cards I no longer require. Hope that’s a useful tip for anyone thinking of applying for a mortgage or loan.

      Clearly I could have used those lessons in money management.

  14. Amen, FEd.

    I left the big banks after I was charged a $25 fee for going $0.17 (seventeen cents) in the red. And another $25 for going an additional $4 over that. Both charges were food purchases. When I went in to the bank and asked that the fees be forgiven, I was given a very you’re-wasting-my-time expression followed by a no.

    I’m glad to see more and more people championing the idea of leaving big banks and moving to local credit unions.

  15. I agree FEd, but anywhere you move it, bankers will follow.

    Say you want to buy an agricultural fund in Brasil, as soon as a bit of money starts cumulating over there, any of these big bank guys will go over there and offer to buy a share, then be in control, and soon enough claim the whole piece of land.

    That’s what these guys do, they watch where the money goes and they just rush there and park their bums solid.

    As for me, I don’t save a cent, I spend all I earn in music gear and restoring classic sport cars. But still I pay a mortgage and that’s just like having money in a bank, even worse because it’s locked up for good, until I die or until I decide to sleep in a car.

  16. I’ve just returned from a few days walking in the hills with my dog.

    As far as I am aware I didn’t meet any bankers … in fact I hardly met anyone at all.

    Was also spared the voting duty as South Norfolk seats not up for grabs this time although I always vote as a matter of principle. It would be a good idea to have a “none of the above” box just to encourage the no-voters and avoid actually spoiling the ballot which doesn’t get recorded…. although in this case of course nobody would ever get elected which would be inconvenient in a democracy …

    So I’m a bit of a spare part on this topic. As a general rule, doing business of any kind with people / organisations you sympathise with / approve of is a good way to go. It’s unlikely to be cheapest but then you get what you pay for, don’t you? Sometimes it’s Hobson’s choice, but starting somewhere might just mean market forces start to encompass these other factors.

    Whilst still part of the big bad non-bailed-out wolf from Hong Kong and Shanghai, you might find your customer service issues improved at friendly, customer-oriented First Direct and generally speaking should try and differentiate (as legislation may end up enforcing) between High Street / Retail banks and Merchant / Investment Banking Activities where most of the boo-ing and hissing has been earned these past few years.

    Ooh, “Shipbuilding” just came on the iTunes DJ. What a song that is.

    “With all the will in the World
    Diving for dear life
    When we could be diving for pearls”

  17. I wish I could move my money. I don’t have a lot of it left once all the bills have been paid but no bank wants to take my debt on at the same time so I’m stuck with a bank I hate. (Don’t worry Simon, it’s not HSBC!) My children save with a credit union though and this is something their school encourages.

    I agree with many of the comments. The banks very clearly have us pushed over a barrel basically and love it when we fall on hard times. When my circumstances change, and I hope it won’t be too long now, there’s no doubt that I’m going to be telling my bank precisely where to stick it!!! I’ve had enough of their unfair charges, same as RyanG. When the interest gets added and it tips you over your credit limit and then they hit you with a penalty, bet they love that! It doesn’t matter to them if the only thing you buy is food.

    I too have had enough of bankers’ bonuses.

  18. Long time no see (again) but I hope everyone is well. I’ll try to get back my irregular status soon.

    With regards to banks, although I’m not trying to defend them, it isn’t just their fault. Whilst I don’t understand or in any way excuse the practice of paying bonuses even when people haven’t done their jobs very well, the problem which caused the economic recession was actually one much closer to home and one which we must all share with the banks.

    The main act which lead to this trouble was the simple act of over-borrowing of money. Whilst the banks must hold their hands up and admit they were wrong to simply offer everyone loadsa-money (read in Harry Enfield voice for extra effect), the people who also borrowed far more money than they could reasonably pay back should also realise that they were in the wrong.

    To put it another way, if someone goes into a cake shop, eats lots of cakes and gets fat, who is to blame? The shop for selling the cakes or the person for eating them? Arguably just the person, or perhaps more reasonably both the seller and the buyer. And at the end of the day, a bank is just a money shop.

    I’m not saying that it is easy to avoid borrowing money and I’m definitely not saying that you should never borrow money or that you can get through life without doing it; but at the same time the instant access of money and culture of “get-it-now, worry about how to pay for it later” needs to be realised before it can be changed. Getting a mortgage is one thing, but going out and buying the latest hot hatchback on finance is a totally different kettle of fish.

    Perhaps most worrying is how quickly it’s changed. My grandparents’ generation avoided debt as much as possible and wouldn’t buy things until they could pay for them, and yet my generation never seem to think about how to pay for something until the 0% finance is so overdue that they’ve already forgotten they brought the item, never mind that they haven’t paid for it.

    So in summary, I’m not defending the banks, but there is a second guilty party to the problem that created the economic problem. And the longer we all stand around in mob mentality waiting for the bankers to pop their heads up, the longer it will take to address the real problem, which makes it more and more likely that we will end up in exactly the same position again.

    Having said all that, after the amount I had to pay for car insurance, do what you want to the insurers. I’ll even hold your coat if it helps.

  19. You know I did this only 6 weeks ago and was assured by my new bank that it would be a painless exercise and save me half a day’s hassle making calls and signing new mandates. Out of 10 direct debits I wanted switched, between them they just managed a 70% success rate that I only discovered when the “Pay Now” invoices started landing on my doormat. My new banks system then crashed leaving more unpaid monthly bills.

    I find it difficult to have any sympathy for banking institutions. When I didn’t need a loan, they offered it in bucketloads but when one would have kept a construction business afloat that had cashflow problems due to slow paying customers, they weren’t interested even though they, among others, and their questionable ethics are partly responsible for causing the crash.

    I would rather keep my money under the mattress but as this isn’t a possibility, I had to pick who I thought was the best of a rotten bunch.

    Feel the pain like the rest of us. Bankers!!!

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