Following from Nicole’s post about the choices US banks are facing in their replacement of overdraft fees comes news from UK banks regarding their choice pending final court rulings on overdraft fees there. With traditional straight back and stiff upper lip, the UK banking industry is prepared to answer the demise of overdraft fees with a reinstatement of ATM fees. Said one UK banking spokesperson, “We are an industry, not a charity. People have to remember that it does not cost nothing.”.
Unfortunately for the banking industry globally the average customer is more commonly perceiving them as greedy corporations. For years we have heard the news of record quarterly profits being claimed by major financial institutions around the world. Then dramatically in the past 24 months the bottom fell out of their profit models and many of those same banks found themselves taking taxpayer money to keep them afloat in a growing sea of red ink. Yet all through this economic downturn and banking crisis there were scant few executives and institutions who curtailed their own profits – comparatively extravagant bonuses and stock options are still being awarded. Consequently the ire of the customer and taxpayer is being raised.
No matter the outcome in the UK or the US it will be the customer that will pay in the end – after all, aren’t we also shareholders of these institutions and as such, surely we demand a return on our investment?!? I believe this is what the public relations spin doctors refer to as a “public perception challenge”. No matter the outcome of legislation, regulation or any other forms of bank fee control – the money has to come from somewhere and that somewhere ultimately starts in our pockets.
In closing I offer the comments of two opposite factions in this debate – both from the UK:
From Someone at The British Bankers’ Association
There are no current plans to end free banking – either at the cash point or on current accounts generally. This is the case even though banks themselves have to pay charges, for instance when their customers use the cash machines of another bank. In most other countries, people pay for their transactions – the UK model is fairly unusual.
Also, please note that Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling is not about the fairness of bank charges – that is subject to a separate and ongoing Office of Fair Trading investigation which is yet to conclude. The ruling will only address whether a piece of EU legislation can be applied to current accounts.
From a Banking Customer
Why on earth do people of this country still sit back and do nothing about the obscene levels of greed that the banking sector pursue. It is profit at any cost to these people and despite taxpayers bailing them out (without a taxpayer being asked if they want to do this). Of course the banks will look at other ways of recouping money they lose and of course it is the millions of customers who will be expected to cough up. How long before the banks charge you to put money into your account on a day not specified by your bank?
I’m amazed at our apathy. How much has the banking insdustry spent on barristers in order to conceal the complexities of bank charges? Bonuses are still being paid out to those who controbuted to the banking collapse last year.
Banks are money lenders they’ve never been anything else. As a taxpayer who along with millions of others ‘lent’ the bank money in ther hour of need can I get some interest on my contribution? Given how millions the banks themselves went overdrawn why were no extra charges billed for such incompetence and why has no senior banker lost their job?
It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. We are a nation of idiots who trust thieves because they were a suit.
And of course when the banks right themselves thanks to public financial input and profits once again soar the knighthoods will be rolled out to those at the top as if it was their achievements.
Greed has cost thousands of jobs and hardship to those less well off and somehow the bankers get rewarded for this
I can hear the epithets now – “OMG!! How long has this been going on?” – “*&@#@^&% Â I knew I should have read the fine print!!” – etc. …
…. from 2007 no less – more than 2 years ago!!