Friday, 13 January 2012

Lessons in Banking

I will be the first to admit I have an unusual attitude towards money. I have a scrooge mentality and could live on porridge 6 days of the week in order to be able to save for some small luxury once a week. After all we are hardwired in our brains for rewards.  By the same token we have also the ability to develop avoidance techniques to delay or stall an unpleasant activity.

I have little money and being on a fixed income even less choice about how I spend my cash as it goes on rent. Rent first, power and phone second equal and food with the remainder.

One thing that I have been battling with is the banks in New Zealand and in particular the way they punish their clients financially for daring to not have enough money to cover all the outgoings. Sound familiar?
The point that I have been dwelling on, after my time at Occupy and the intensity, that is now on the world financial markets, is I am not going to pay any more fees to banks who already have my all money. In my case I have paid a mortgage for over 20 years an now have suffered a loss due to the earthquake and have also relocated to another city, bringing some expenses. In order to live in my new city I may need to borrow against my asset , my house , of which the bank own the mortgage. Would seem a simple request, borrow against investment, start a new business and income.

Instead the bank, sends off my credit card debt, small amount, and sends it off to a debt collector who adds a $529.00 fee for collection services. I am incensed. This is the the worst kind of rip off. This is worse than Chrisco. Banks are exploiting the poor by making us slaves to their system with ATM cards and internet banking. A system we have to participate but can have no direct control or effect on.

being a student or beneficiary I have had two sorts of treatment from banks. as a graduate I can have a free overdraft and no fees. As a beneficiary I can incur a fee of up to $35. everytime I go over my limit. No free overdraft for someone on a benefit. Given that the fees of $35 or more can be applied and money extracted before the account holder is aware often one more fee is collected thus withdrawing a total of $70 fee on a benefit that may be only $300 to $400 . See what a difference a missing $70 dollars makes when you are that little money.

Currently our banking system places an equal burden on the poor. The poor are discriminated by the fees. Its about time we looked at how banks are profiting off the poor, while the wealthy shield their money from taxes and gain high interest of accounts hidden overseas. This year I am going to be learning a lot about banking and I hope I can share it.

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