Monday, 20 May 2013
Is it just me, or did the person who came up with the name 'banker' get the first letter wrong?
Before I am beaten to death with "next teller please" Signs I should point out I am not talking about the humble bank staff here.
I realise that working in a bank must be like being a bouncer at a strip-club, you get to stare at the good stuff all day but never take any of it home. (At least when you work at a fancy restaurant you sometimes get a doggy-bag.) No, I'm talking about the big boys who make massive profits at our expense and never seem to pass any of it back to the consumers. In fact, while services decrease, costs rise. Most banks now have less branches than a Tasmanian family tree, and yet the list of fees on the end of my monthly statement reads longer than JK Rawling's latest book.
My last update from the bank had so many different charges at the bottom, I thought I had accidentally got Jimmy Barnes' mini-bar bill. Sometimes the charges are so ridiculous I'm tempted to go into the bank with a balaclava and get the tellers to wear it, just so I get the full experience of being robbed.
The truth is the banks are making huge profits, and if you had invested in bank shares ten years ago you would have made much more money by now than you could in any of their accounts.
Sadly most people are scared that if they complain about the fees then at the end of next month when their statement arrives it will include a "complaining about the fees fee".
And what is the deal with bank opening hours? While every other business in society are working towards being open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, the banks still seem to be open between 11 and 11.15, every second Tuesday and only if you bring a boiled egg and say the code-word "jam trousers."
Every time I go into my local bank there are bigger lines than on the glass-top coffee table at Robert-Downey Jnr's house. In fact only once in my life have I gone into a bank and there was no-one else there - in the shock I nearly dropped the shot-gun and bit through the stocking on my head.
And I'm even less impressed by some of these new banks where you just come in and take a number. I'm sorry, I didn't realise I was at a deli. Can I have some cash out please, and a stick of cabanossi?
But you would forgive all this if it actually made it easier to get your money, but it doesn't. For example, most cheques still take more time to clear than Mamdouh Habib's passport.
Why is it when I pay a cheque to someone else that money is taken out of my account immediately, but when someone pays me a cheque I have to wait five days for it to clear? What happens to that money in the meantime? I think there is a little room out the back of the bank, and on their break all the staff just get nude and roll around in our cash.
Okay, with personal cheques they do need some time to make sure you have the money, but why do bank cheques take three days to clear? (And while we are asking, how long does it take for those giant novelty cheques they give to winners at the golf and tennis to clear?)
I understand why they don't trust me - but do they really need three days to check if the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has $1000?
The truth is they don't want us in the banks. They want us to use ATMs and phone banking.
I have no problem with ATMs myself, but there have been complaints from older bank users who say they don't understand the new technology - although, to be honest, if you have ever seen an oldie down at the pokies they seem to understand the new technology pretty well then.
Maybe that's what the banks should do, they should just combine the two. In the future after you have put in your PIN and amount of cash, a little message should flash up onscreen saying: "Go on, double or nothing."
But phone banking on the other hand really pisses me off. Just for once I would like to talk to a real person rather than a machine. If I wanted to hear someone talk to me in a computerised voice I would prank call Ozzy Osborne.
"You have been placed in a queue, please hold your call is very important to us." Yeah, right! All we are asking for is a little truth. I would actually respect the bank more if the recorded message said: "Actually we couldn't give a crap about your call. We already have your money. In fact right now we are nude out the back rolling around in your cash! Press hash to end the call or just hang up.?
Sure, I'd still feel shafted but at least I'd respect their honesty. Although I still wouldn't press hash. I mean what's the point if you are just going to hang up! And anyway, I would be scared they would charge me a "pressing hash fee".
(People, read the next entry down. It's also new. Thanks for your comments)