Saturday, 30 June 2012

More Banking Nonsense

It's been a long while since I've posted, but the past two weeks have really been infuriating me. I went to the bank about a month ago and agreed a strategy to get myself out of debt.

The first month was shaky, we had a hen night, wedding, gig, Jubilee and trip to Cambridgeshire so it was destined to be an expensive one. So I went back to my lovely personal banker who looked at me without judgement and said, ok, let's try a different tactic. I now have a spending account into which money goes on payday, and that is all I have to spend for the month. I also have a savings account to raise money for treats, wedding and eventually my overdraft.

Feeling very proud of myself, Nick and I have since booked a holiday and made a strict pledge to save up money for the flights and spends by September (thanks Mum and Dad for paying for it and for letting us just pay for the flights and not the accommodation).

Nickie and I are doing everything we can to raise the £600.00 each (£300.00 for flights, £300.00 for spending money) by September, and if we can, we will be in Turkey for two weeks in a lovely Villa chosen by Mum and Dad. We're shopping at Aldi, and spending no more that £25.00/week on food. We're taking lunch every day and eating very healthily - all salads and baked potatoes. No meals out, no takeaways (this isn't just a money saving thing, I want to lose a stone and a half by the holiday too). We are going to Chester Races this weekend which was booked ages ago and will serve as the final blow out, although even that is going to be done on the cheap as much as possible.

Our only treats will be Orange Wednesday cinema as it costs just £3.00/person with my Printworks savings card. At night we will be using our Apple vouchers to rent movies, playing on our new Macbook game "Cradle of Egypt" which we both downloaded after playing it on Mum Bernsmeier's computer when we went to visit. We CAN do this, I am determined that in the next three paydays, provided we don't splurge or go to Pride, we can save £600.00 each without resorting to the credit card!

So you can imagine my surprise when, after making this promise to the bank, more banking nonsense starts to emerge. Beginning with NatWest and their abysmal handling of their own personal banking crisis. It affected a friend of ours who banks with NatWest and also works in payroll. She spent Friday saying "Yes, I know, my salary hasn't gone in either". I think people might have been a tad more understanding had the crisis been resolved in a couple of days. But after SIX days of missed flights, lost homes and cancelled children's birthday parties, you could forgive people for being more than a little irate!

I was lucky that it didn't affect me, buI I felt so sorry for people, particularly when I read about the couple who missed their honeymoon! Even at that point I thought, it's forgiveable, it's a possibly unavoidable IT issue. So you can perhaps understand my fury when on Thursday night, unable to sleep I logged on to the paper to read about the Barclays Libor scam. It was 3 in the morning, but even through my sleep deprived haze, I knew that some SERIOUSLY illegal stuff had gone on. As day broke and more of the story about how traders had made themselves approximately one metric shit tonne of extra cash by lying, scheming and fixing interest rates, I found myself positively paralysed with anger. The next story to break was that this dishonesty, this collusion crossed the entire banking sector and through the upper echelons of management. Yes, that's right, whilst you and I were feeling guilty about splurging on that holiday and wondering how we could afford our Love Film subscription of £6.00/month, the banks were literally bullshitting their way to massive profits, and of course bonuses.

Meanwhile in the real world, small businesses were being missold insurance (again? Seriously?) and normal folk who work bloody hard were trusting their bank managers as they said "so sorry, no loan, you're a financial risk!" what the hell? These men, no better than gamblers who damn near bankcrupted the country telling us poor folk (very poor folk sometimes) that we're the ones who can't be trusted.

So, what is to be done? Well first to rewrite my British Spring blog and place the blame on the bankers. I don't think regulation could have neither predicted nor prevented this dishonesty. And then what? How about we protest? On the streets, on the internet and with our wallets! Goodbye to big banks and hello to community credit schemes. A friend of mine told me how she had just stopped paying her loan and it got me thinking. One person refusing to pay hurts only that person. The bank doesn't care. Just another sap who can be charged extra interest and fined up the wazoo! But what if it was a million people? What if it was 10 million? What if every person with a bank loan in the UK all simultaneously ceased paying? What could the banks do? What a glorious day! Perhaps then they will realise they are not untouchable. Sadly this is unlikely to happen as the only thing we fear more than not having enough money to pay for the stupid loans in the first place is bailiffs knocking on our front doors.

Any suggestions on a postcard to...

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