Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Banking with thieves

So, the banks win again. This is the first case I've read about our new Supreme Court handling, and it's not a great first impression. After being bailed out by the taxpayer, and continuing to pay themselves massive 'bonuses' (it would really help their PR if they called a 'bonus' what it is – commission), the banks have won an appeal against paying people like me back the £30 to £50 a time we get charged when our accounts slip into the red, or over our overdraft limits if we have them.

Apparently the banks say that "these unplanned overdraft fees could be avoided" – but I've never been offered a choice of account by HSBC or Nationwide (both of whom I bank with) which gave me the option of having payments blocked if they would take it over the limit. HSBC just charged each time I went over, and let me go quite far over the limit. Nationwide charge once, then don't let me go any further, which is much worse!

Nationwide once refused a payment, charged me £30, and the outsourcers who collect payments on behalf of my insurance company then charged me another £20 because they had to collect the payment again a few days later. Beset by thieves on all sides, I am. And let us not forget that these are the very thieves who only last year posted record profits of $17bn.

I hope they can't all be tarred with the same brush – and the Cooperative certainly seems to be better than most. I think it's time to switch.