Eight reasons why the banks hate us
ADS FOR BANKS are filled with smiling, happy people brimful of optimism, shaking hands with their can-do bank manager who has clearly just secured their futures by agreeing to lend them money for their new home or business.
The reality is, however, quite different and it is very hard to escape the notion that our banks hate us with the burning passion of a thousand suns. Here are just eight of the reasons they loathe us.
1They have stolen our money (and the money of our children and our children’s children) and either burned it in their cellars or passed it on to shadowy bondholders in central Europe. Whatever they’ve done with it, it’s gone.
All told the reckless lending practices of our banks has cost us €64 billion so far. You will have heard that number before but it is worth repeating it. Our banks have cost us €64 billion over the last four years. That, in case you were wondering, is €16,000 for every man, woman and child living in the Republic today.
2Our banks have screwed hundreds of thousands of mortgage holders who missed the tracker boat.
Anyone who is unfortunate to be on a standard variable rate (SVR) mortgage has been hit with repeated rate increases over the past 18 months despite the fact that ECB rates are going in the opposite direction.
Last month AIB increased its SVR rates by 0.5 per cent. Someone with a €300,000 mortgage now has to find an extra €90 a month or €1,080 a year to cover the rate increase.
The State’s other pillar bank, Bank of Ireland, also increased its rates.
3For many years banks mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) to potentially hundreds of thousands of Irish consumers. About 340,000 such policies were sold here from August 2007 to November 2011.
It is (or was) a hugely profitable business for banks which is why they set the commission rates for their salespeople so high. And that is why those salespeople acted so unscrupulously, with the knowledge of their paymasters.
Policies were sold to self-employed people who could not claim against becoming unemployed. Some customers were denied loans or mortgages unless they took out PPI. Some were not even aware they were paying for it.
Many thousands of people are likely to get their money back in the months ahead. Many thousands more will not.
4Not long ago our banks were falling over themselves to give us free banking. Not any more. Today it is all about the charges.
Bank of Ireland rolled out new charges to current account customers two years ago. Back then it gave its customers wriggle room. Customers who had €3,000 going through their account over a three-month period and made nine online transactions avoided charges.