Bank robbers

Jun 12th, 2011 | By | Category: Ireland

How much taxpayers’ money have the Irish banks received?  If there was an aggregate total of the money take from working people to bail out AIB, Bank of Ireland, Irish Nationwide, that organised fraud called Anglo-Irish Bank, and the other financial institutions that have driven the country into penury, what would the total per person be?

It might be reasonable to expect that institutions dependent upon the largesse of a taxpaying public who remain strangely passive would show some degree of graciousness; humility would be too much to expect from people who reckon they are worth more than half a million a year, but a touch of remorse would at least be a sign that they recognize the damage they have caused.

Reading the small print on the front page of the Visa statement, there is not a trace of any regret for the greed that has destroyed our economy.  They seem more than ever determined to extract the maximum degree of profit from every account holder.  The terms probably always applied, but only recently did I notice that they were being flaunted at the beginning of the statement’

What about interest payments – which are 16.8% APR from a bank that pays savers miniscule interest rates:

No Interest will be charged on purchases if you always pay the full amount shown on your statement by the due date. If the balance is not cleared in full, you will be charged interest on the full amount.

It always seemed extraordinary that such a clause was legal.  Presumably it means that if one owes €10,000 and pays €9,900, the €100 shortfall with give the bank licence to charge interest on the full €10,000.  In what over business would a 1% shortfall in a payment allow the imposition of such extortionate penalties?

The other striking line was about the effect of making only the minimum payment each month:

If you make only your minimum repayment each month you will not clear your current balance until 27/02/2026.

The sum owing was about €3,000, the minimum payment was about €100.  It would take 14 years and nine months and €17,700 to clear a €3,000 balance according to this advice, can that really be the case?

The statement was only of passing interest; we have a rule never to pay anything on the credit card that cannot be covered by cash in the bank, the card is a matter of convenience.  But what of those who are seriously indebted? Are the banks being allowed to pursue confiscatory policies against people whose taxes are keeping the banks afloat?

It would make you wonder why those who present themselves as arbiters of right and wrong, the men in the mitres, say nothing?



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  1. And can someone give me even a vaguely logical reason why they insist that we allow two to three days for money to transfer, in this day and age where it is all done electronically? If they decide to deduct interest, I notice it happens immediately.

  2. Two or three working days – I often wonder where the money goes at the weekends.

  3. It can happen on the same day over here (in GB, depending on the banks.
    It was (and is) always an outrageous scam.
    When people painted the word ROBBERS after the name of the bank on branch walls in Belfast it always seemed appropriate – and that was years ago.

  4. Last night on BBC’s Panorama programme they showed many banks up for the ‘thieving’ organisations they really are, they named some, Barclays RBS HSBC and others.

  5. If the mitred ones were going to speak out they would have done it by now. In any case Parish clergy see the effect of the banks’ behaviour, the recession, the “Bail out”/Structural Adjustment Programme on their parishioners in their daily interaction with them. If a group of them were to spek out it might be more effective than any Bishop’s statement because it would have a wider base.

  6. No-one listens to parish clergy – I have twenty-five years of no-one listening!

  7. Perhaps if a group of parish clergy from across denominations were to speak out someone might listen and it might encourage the mitred ones to break their silences.

  8. I don’t think there is much prospect of such a coalition; I’m not aware of any parish clergy in the Church of Ireland who would agree with what I say. I spoke at the 2009 General Synod in Armagh about the arrogant pride of the bankers and financial collapse being like a tumbling Tower of Babel and was told that a female Dublin cleric had sent a text to my wife saying no-one understood what I was talking about. I gave up on General Synod after that, resigning altogether from it last year.

    It’s always a salutary exercise to read those Old Testament prophets and realize that, despite their status, they were ignored. If an Amos can’t get a hearing, there is no hope for a junior cleric in a tiny church.

  9. Your experience is a sad comment on the priorities of the Church of Ireland although I can think of some clergy, even in your own Dioceses, who share your views on the economy and the banks.

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