Thursday, 22 September 2011

No More Excuses

Zero-credit is delighted to welcome fellow coop Member, David Jones, to our blog. Here, David explains his exciting new "No More Excuses" campaign to ensure that our right to a Basic Bank Account without account management, transaction fees or ATM charges is made law.

Reforms?

Hurrah! Banking reform is upon us! But are these the reforms that everyday bank users want to see?

Whilst the Vickers Report considers investment banking and seeks its separation from retail operations, it seems the poor old consumer will still lose out. The humble and simple Basic Bank Account looks doomed to extinction, along with every day access to our money. 

As always, the first to find out, are the vulnerable, the elderly, and the poor. Don't forget, some people are not able to have a normal bank account. This type of account was designed as a catch-all for our society and has been supported by successive Governments, but never made mandatory. It's about time it was.

It's that basic

Time and again promises to Parliament have been broken, while the very banks that we own continue to badger politicians for more ways to make us pay for their mistakes. Right now, they're bemoaning “unprofitable” banking, as used by you and me. 

The decline of the Basic Bank Account and access to “Link” machines is well under way. Existing Basic Account holders at Lloyds TSB and RBS may only enjoy free withdrawals from machines within the same group. RBS have gone one stage further by not accepting NEW basic accounts!! 

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Everyone had therefore better hope for a nearby ATM that belongs to the same group or, as the bank's hope, you'll have to 'migrate' upwards to a 'Fee-paying' account, just to get 'your' money out whilst they 'make' money on it, as it sits in your account. Not only do they tinker with their promises, they have withdrawn from them completely.      

And there’s more. In Scotland, moves are afoot by Clydesdale and RBS (again) to charge not-for-profit organisations, like Credit Unions, for allowing their customers to use their ATMs! So if you dare to bank with your friends or colleagues and in an attempt to protect your nest egg, you’ll pay for that too. It stinks.

Can we trust them?

The spin banks feed us is that unless a service makes a profit, it simply will not do - they have “shareholders” to consider and need to recoup their losses. But aren’t WE the shareholders and aren’t WE recouping their losses by bailing most of them out. 

You know, there is a little known truth about Basic Bank Accounts. They DO and CAN make money and here’s how. 

Around one million RBS customers have been affected by the new cash machine strictures, if say, each had as little as £10 in their account at any one time, that leaves ten million pounds available to RBS 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - to 'invest' [cough] worldwide, as they see 'fit' [another cough], and return the profits to the bank. Across the UK there are an estimated eight million Basic Bank Accounts – so you do the maths!

Sadly, it’s not enough though. Services to ordinary people like you and me are a loss leader, loyalty as such, flies out of the window. As Basic Bank Accounts are not mandatory, one by one, banks who were encouraged  into promising the facility, as a matter of social conscience, are now endeavouring to make them so unusable and restrictive that people are given little or no choice but to consider switching to a fee-paying account. Somewhat unreasonable considering ALL the circumstances.

Unless we make a concerted effort to act now, whilst the proposed reforms take shape, true reform of the banks will not take place. The effort therefore is to make a Basic Bank Account MANDATORY with access via ALL ATMs free of stricture and circumstance.       

What can we do?

Please visit No More Excuses here, or follow Twitter @NoMoreExcuses_ or @DavidJones_dpaj. And, of course, sign our e-petition! The later stages of the campaign will see an integrated media effort together with letters to all MPs and other bodies. It leaves me to ask for your ongoing support... this WILL take time, be under no illusion. We really have No More Excuses not to do this.

It's Our Money...

 

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