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According to Barclays Bank it’s the end of free banking

14 Aug

There’s a new guy at Barclays Bank, I’d usually look up the name etc. but since he’s a banker I won’t bother since he doesn’t deserve any sort of recognition at all. The new guy has come up with a wizard wheeze to sort out the banks and stop them from selling dodgy products etc.

What is this wizard wheeze? Why it’s the end of free current account banking. A further cost is going to be levied on bank customers in order to stop the bank having to sell them dodgy products to get money from them instead. Either these banking people can’t think logically or they think they can arrogantly produce these solutions without people seeing through them?

If we needed proof at all, and we certainly didn’t, that banks had lost the plot and have been mistreating customers for years, if not forever, then here is a man telling you straight. The banks are going to charge you as much money as they possibly can and then some to make sure their profits are as high as possible.

Banks want to charge for current accounts then. Okay. So how is that going to work? Well they’ll charge for anything paid in, direct debits, standing orders, anything that is paid using our bank cards, the money we take out via hole in the wall machines and maybe even for speaking with a manager or having to speak with someone at the bank, for statements, for access to on-line banking etc. etc. etc. I’ve no doubt that they’ll come up with other charges and that they will increase the charges for going overdrawn, the overdraft rate they charge, unpaid direct debits and standing orders and the rate of interest charged if we go overdrawn or more overdrawn than we should as well.

The OFT were in the process of ordering the banks to REDUCE their costs a few years ago, just as the credit crunch happened. Of course they were stymied then by the courts who said they had no jurisdiction to order banks to reduce charges. The government at the time didn’t step in and do something like create a new statute which would give the OFT the power. Oh no, the government only steps in with a knee-jerk reaction statute when it increases their controls over the population at large.

Lets not forget that all banks in the UK have received funds from the taxpayer and have been able to swap “toxic” debts for newly created money. They have also received funds on the basis that they would lend which they didn’t and it’s only now that they have been pushed into lending by way of being given low cost money on which they can make more money whilst lending to businesses and customers.

It looks like being a bank is a win, win, win thing to be.

They also still take 4 days to clear money paid into our account by cheque, they take the same time when we pay a bill in as much as the money goes from your account immediately but takes four days to get to the payee (in the mid 1970s it took three days to clear). Whilst they are open at weekends any cheques paid into your account won’t even start to clear until the next working day which is of course Monday. They charge interest on everything they can even on bank holidays when you can’t pay anything in and the clearing system is closed.

The mis-selling activities are pretty dodgy. I doubt Trotters Independent Trading would have stooped so low. It’s interesting that all the people who agreed to pay various types of insurance etc. are getting their money back with a bit of a bung thrown in to keep them happy, whilst the people who saw through the scam didn’t lose anything apart from an additional bung from the banks.

Anyway.

Lets hope that Call me Dave or his partner in crime George Osborne, levy additional controls on the banks if they go ahead with charging for current accounts. But what could they do?

Well –

  • give the Oft the powers to order the banks to play nice when setting charges;
  • get the banks to clear funds immediately using the IT systems they already have in place to do it;
  • protect bank customers from profiteering by the banks in general;
  • dismantle the banks cartel and create real competition in the market place just like real Tories would (ha ha);
  • make the banks provide customers with rigid service level agreements which define financial compensation to customers when banks fail to deliver as agreed;
  • stop the banks from operating outwith the law and the controls which already exist;
  • introduce salary level controls for all bank staff to ensure they are paid within reasonable constraints to dismantle commission and sales based bonus payments (if the banks say they will lose good people overseas that’s fine we’ll survive);
  • make sure that paying back the taxpayer whether it be the loans or making the share price attractive to the market so the shares we own can be sold for a handsome profit, is the highest priority for banking operations.

Will they do anything? Of course not.

Aren’t the bankers always big mates with the government?

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