Banks/Financial Institutions

21 September 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

       Recently I spent 4-5 hours in appointments with various Banks to update myself on current products like savings, loans and credit cards. What an education that has been. More people should do (in less time) what I did to learn about new products and their current products they are paying for. Times have certainly changed. When I was 5 years old I opened my first bank account with money I earned by finding and picking glass pop bottles. At 2 cents a bottle it took hundreds and thousands of bottles to accumulate money in a bank account. As a child growing up my Mother taught us the importance of saving our money for important purchases or as she said “for a rainy day”. She was a master at saving and stretching a dollar into hundred dollars. She had a bank account for all her 6 kids where she would deposit our baby bonus cheques. She had accounts for every occasion like Christmas, Birthdays, special occasions, house necessities, car, and mortgage and more. She would go to the bank once a week with her 25 plus bank books. She was a banker for the family. If times were hard and she needed money for an important purchase, she would borrow from some accounts but always paid the money back. When we reached legal age, got married or bought our first car, she would transfer the account to our name with every penny of interest since the day we were born. She was also my Dad’s banker. As a Farmer my Dad had good years and bad years of income. My Mother would save from the good years without my Dad knowing to support him during bad years. In those days if you had a bank account(s) and dealt with one particular bank everyone in the bank knew you by name. At times if you needed changes to your account, better interest rates or special considerations there was a Bank Manager that you could speak to who would look at all your records and history and take a decision on whether to help you or not. That was the good old days. Today the banks do not know you nor do they care. There is nobody to talk to who wants to listen and understand your needs. There is no one at the branch level that can take a decision including the Bank Manager. The only boss now at the bank is THE COMPUTER. The computer will not allow this or that. The computer dictates this rate. The computer says your options are this or that. Nobody looks at your history. If you have been the model client for 20 years it counts for nothing today. If you make a mistake today then you get treated like every crook on the face of the earth. It is God awful what banking has come to be. The banks forget that it was people like me with their 2 cent deposits that got them to where they are today.

       Don’t get me wrong Technology has helped us tremendously however the price we are paying is questionable. The depersonalizing of banking services, the lack of service where it is important, the continued gouging in fees and service charges of all sorts is a big price to pay for less service. Do you remember the days where banks encouraged you to use the first ATMs because it was FREE and discouraged you to talk to a Teller? What happen to the FREE service?

In my recent research it brought to light how confusing and inflexible banking services really are. It also made me realize how expensive banking services are. I would encourage everyone to take a hard look at the cost of their banking services. You cannot expect the banks to manage your money, you must be an informed client and manage your own money otherwise you are not getting what you are paying for.