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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted -  25/06/2010  :  09:59
I just love banks, don't you? They go out of their way to make life exciting and to make sure we are always wondering if our account will have been emptied by tomorrow morning. They spend a fortune launching `Chip & Pin' and trying to convince us that it is infallible and that any fraud on our card in future will be due to our failings, not theirs. They do us great favours like deciding, unilaterally, to get rid of cheques. They are so good to us I thought we should reward them with a thread devoted to their marvellous escapades. Let me start with this offering but please add your own experiences and comments...

We have received a letter from Santander (Abbey Nat to you and me) beginning "We are deligted to inform you..." which always sets alarm bells ringing, and ends "As Santander we will continue to offer innovative, great value products and are committed to delivering excellent service to our customers" which sets the sirens blaring.  What they are delighted to inform me is that they have upgraded (without consulting me) my Cheque Guarantee Card to a Visa Debit Card. But I don't want a Visa debit card, I don't need another card, it's just another thing to get stolen, lost or defrauded.

But there's a sting in the tail. They then tell me to destroy my cheque guarantee card by cutting it in half. OK, I think, the new card will be used for this instead. But no, lower down in the letter it says the new card cannot be used to guarantee cheques. I know that cheques are set to be phased out (unilaterally once again, by June 2011) but it looks like the banks have devised a great scam to deprive us of cheque guarantee cards so they can say that cheques are not much use. I use cheques a lot and I would prefer that they were not phased out, but then, hey, the banks are not there just for you and me, are they?

I notice that although the letter tells me to destroy the cheque card, nowhere does it say that I cannot continue to use it. So I'm going to use it for as long as possible. I advise everyone to do the same. The banks are just hoping we will all fall in line with their demands and destroy the cards immediately.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 11/01/2011 : 06:00
Oh yes they could!  Funny how it has always been seen as perfectly acceptable to have an 'incomes policy' (wrong name, it is always a wages policy) to regulate industrial wages and even pay freeze policies in thimes of financial crisis. Apply the same logic to the banks. For instance, set a reasonable multiple which can't be exceeded based on avarage wage of the lowest 25% percentile of employees and enforce it. Fat chance! 'No answer' is a policy of despair. What we need at the moment are realistic policies and that's just what is absent. Not minimum wage, try maximum wage.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 12/01/2011 : 06:34
I heard the Barclay's chairman saying that failing banks shouldn't be baled out yesterday. He would say that wouldn't he, Barclay's survived with the minimum of support but were undoubtedly assisted by the bale out of the other banks. Noteable that when questioned about the melt-down there was no hint of any acceptance of blame by the banking sector or words of apology. Lords of the Universe indeed!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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frankwilk
Senior Member


3975 Posts
Posted - 12/01/2011 : 10:49
Bankers are just like politicos I haven't heard an Ex Labour Minister apologise yet for the failing of the regulation on the Bank's.
I was the politicos responsibility to regulate wasn't it ???



Frank Wilkinson       Once Navy Always Navy Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 13/01/2011 : 07:40
Or a Tory one either. This progression towards unfettered capitalism started during WW1 to finance the war and really got into its stride in the 1960s. Blaming any particular party is a sign of either ignorance of the facts or willful blindness in order to score political points. Neither of these will produce any sort of solution hence the lack of action to tackle the root problem, the failure of the present financial systems.

We are watching a train wreck in slow motion and it has only just started.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Anni
Regular Member


634 Posts
Posted - 13/01/2011 : 10:36
My impression is that quite simply money (or the lack of) keeps the masses under a certain amount of control and it has always been so in one way or another.

While I agree that the banks lending policies were negligent in the extreme, and bankers bonuses seem terribly high to someone who lives off a small sum every month, there are many many other factors in play which frankly, I neither know about nor want to know about.

Individuals who trade on the stock market (if they are good at it) makes thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands a day.  More money in a day than I will see in a lifetime.  It isn't taxable but nobody mentions the effect this has on companies/governments across the world.

Think how much tax is lost every year.  The effects on a company if their stock suddenly becomes "bad" for whatever reason.

That is one little area I am aware of.  I can safely assume there are a lot of things going on I know absolutely nothing about.

One thing I do understand is that nothing ever stays the same and best laid plans don't always work out.  And that is life.  

I would like to see bale out money paid back to the country but am guessing it is a fine balance between paying it back and affecting their bottom line and causing another "run".  And presumably, if they paid it back, the government would loose tax from the bank.

But I am on my first cup of coffee this morning and it is far too complicated for me. LaughingLaughing

 

 


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 14/01/2011 : 06:36

Anni, don’t worry about it being “too complicated” you’re not doing so badly because it’s obvious that you’ve grasped the essentials of what is happening. I was talking to my mate Steve yesterday, he started me off on all this by teaching me about Inter-War history. I said that I was doing S32 (The specialised, year-long inter-war history course) all over again and that if I went back to do the exam again I would do well. He said that I did a pretty good exam paper anyway and it wouldn’t improve much if I did it again because I would never finish in the time because I now know too much! I can see what he means. However, the more I read, the more I understand and it still holds my interest. (Steve’s been in this position for 40 years and he’s still reading!) The key to basic understanding is to keep it simple.

The banks are a case in point. The basic need is to separate the casino banking from the core main street banking business and tax and regulate them separately because they are entirely different beasts.

As for the management of the national economy, again, it is dead simple. The country has a certain disposable annual income. The political decision is to set the priorities for how it should be used and direct the Treasury to do the sums, produce a budget and this is what is presented to Parliament for ratification. It is the setting of priorities which is the problem. In an ideal society the first priorities would be the alleviation of suffering whatever the cause and the maintenance of the classes of society who add value, create the wealth and fuel the economy by consumption. (It’s important to recognise that wealth can only be created by adding value to the economy by work. The argument is often made that the casino banks make money by complicated deals. Not so, they simply move it round. The only service banks provide which aids the adding of value is by providing loan capital at reasonable interest to fuel the enterprises that are adding the value.)

It makes economic sense to service these first priorities before anything else is addressed because they are the source of the national income. Therefore any cuts to balance the budget will come from lower down in the priority list. Dead simple and makes economic sense, so where did it go wrong?

In the early stages of industrialisation labour was regarded as an unlimited resource which miraculously reproduced itself year on year and did not need any maintenance beyond the minimum reward necessary to maintain the breeding rate. By the end of the 19th century it had been realised that a certain amount of investment had to be made in this resource because it was being eroded by disease caused by poverty. Eventually labour gained a voice and started the long struggle for better conditions. It was a long battle and we haven’t reached a perfect society yet, perhaps we never will, the great break-through occurred during WW2 when the nation needed labour to survive, after the war the great reformation of society began and we saw better housing, the NHS and many other social benefits. The tide ebbed and flowed throughout the 20th century but basically things improved.

What is happening now is that the failure of the unregulated market and banking system has plunged us into debt and the people who are setting the priorities are not motivated by the greatest good for the greatest number but protection of vested interests. The system is further hampered by a tribal system of politics rooted in the early industrialisation period and not fit for purpose in today’s world.

The result is that investment in the value-adding capacity of the nation is being savagely cut for short-term gain. Public services, education, the maintenance of health and the capacity for research and development are suffering. All this will have a result in the long term.

That’s the ‘dead simple version’ Anni, you’re right it’s far more complicated than that. But these are the basics and you are obviously well down the track of understanding them.





Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 14/01/2011 : 09:28
Concise but comprehensive. Marvellous! Thanks for adding that, Stanley.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 15/01/2011 : 06:38
Thanks Tiz. I just wanted to reassure Anni that she has a better grasp than she realises. As you know I am still doing S32 by reading all the stuff I had no time for during the original course. The more I read the surer I am of my ground and for what it's worth, the long-term consequences of what is happening now are going to be very serious. We are truly in a mess and I see no signs in our masters of any real understanding of the long term national economy. Like Harold in 1984 it makes me sad. Have we not learned anything?


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Anni
Regular Member


634 Posts
Posted - 16/01/2011 : 10:23
Thanks Stanley.  Sometimes, I can't verbalise my thoughts very well, back them up with "evidence" or they seem to fly against the "experts" so I figure I "don't understand it".

Being a bit of a worry wart, I tend to wish I didn't have an enquiring mind and t'interwebbi with so much news wasn't available.  Sometimes, I think it would be better if I didn't know. 


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 17/01/2011 : 06:45
Anni, stop running yourself down, plenty of people out there will do it for you. You had already grasped the problem, all you needed was a bit of light shining on it.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 18/01/2011 : 06:42
I watched the chairman of RBS admitting that many large bonuses had no bearing on the abilty of the banker. He seemed to find it vaguley amusing and an impenetrable mystery. I see it as something that management should get a grip on! It's a parallel universe and good to tell who the Lords are!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 18/01/2011 : 08:38
Did you watch Horizon last night Stanley ?

Just the reference to 'parallel universe'.....

 


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 18/01/2011 : 09:40
Patrick Hoskins writing in The Times (business editor) says it's common knowledge in the banking fraternity that bankers' bonuses are just a way they can say "Look I've got a bigger one than you". The attitude is that any size of bonus is never enough. One banker told him there are only two responses that a banker makes to his boss when told of his bonus: "Get stuffed" or "Get stuffed, I quit". The major shareholders in the banks are the trust funds and the bosses there earn only slightly less than bankers, so they are not going to kill the golden goose by changing the system of big bonuses in the finance world, are they?


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panbiker
Senior Member


2300 Posts
Posted - 18/01/2011 : 10:12
Boss of RBS last night admitted on TV that the majority of top earning "bankers" are overpaid. Not so much the very very top end (he defended that ) but the thousands of lower "hanger on's" who seem to bottom feed and are not particularly good at anything. They still get thousands of pounds in bonuses, multiply this by the  sheer number of people occupying these positions and you have the problem we have now. Mind you he could have been trying to pass the buck although I think not.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 19/01/2011 : 05:29
Ian, that was the programme Plugs referred to and a clip of RBS boss triggered me off the day before.

'Too Big to Save' was a good programme. Robert Peston was accurate, objective and asked the right questions. The overall message was that the regulators have not got anywhere near getting a grip of the problems. The international association in Basle is a closed shop controlled by bankers and as much use as a chocolate teapot. The large banks are a disaster waiting to happen and next time there won't be the assets to bail them out.

The only hopeful sign I saw was that there is evidence in some top players that they have identified the problem and are working on it. Oh, and they let Alan Greenspan off very lightly, he was one of the key advocates of the Chicago School policies and the quick buck the governments could get from Monetarism, letting the markets rip and deregulating everything. Even worse, the IMF made reforms like this one of the conditions for bail out loans to countries in trouble, thus spreading the cancer world-wide. They had forgotten the consequences of this as in the crash of 1929 and dismantled all the safeguards put in place after that event. As Simon Schama said, perhaps the bankers should be forced to read history!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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