Saturday, 18 June 2011

A Real False Economy

Earlier this week, The Fair Banking Foundation launched its new accreditation scheme to reward financial services providers for products and services, aimed at improving customers financial well being. The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, Money Marketing and the Banking Times all covered the event.

So who are the winners? Well, possibly not consumers, for amongst the awards to date, are two managed bank accounts that charge customers over £160 a year for not having an overdraft. The owners of these apparently award-worthy products are probably not so well known to the majority of consumers, who have not yet endured the poverty premium that is paying piecemeal. Of course, austerity may see to that.

Secure Trust Bank, formerly known as Secure Homes, is as familiar to any social tenant as our old friend and doorstep lender, Provident - a few quid a week and they'll pay all your bills. Our Treasurer, Helen, used to use them - until she worked out what it was costing her, as a lone parent on carer's allowance. We've always called that institutional benefit fraud...

ThinkBanking is, of course, none other than the debt management company, Gregory Pennington. And, of course, their account makes sense if you mismanage your money so dreadfully that you may never learn what is due when, or no bank would have you. But it is far from mainstream. Indeed, it has no need to be, when there are basic bank accounts to be had, for undischarged bankrupts even.

Hell bent on enforcing our dependence on an industry that has cost us billions, the pap we are now fed is that we need specialist accounts to manage our money, because we are incapable of doing this ourselves. Never mind that functional numeracy has remained at the same level (80%) for over twenty years, suddenly, not one of us who is struggling to cope on reduced income, higher inflation and knackt pensions can add up! They want your money...


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