The Seat of Government (Photo credit: Ewan-M)
US bank profits were up 6.6% in the third quarter. And I suppose the banks aren’t satisfied and that is why they continue to raise fees. Wouldn’t it be nice up we could limit their increase in profits to the rate of inflation used to calculate COLA increases for government benefits? Then there would be less big business support for reducing entitlement cost of living increases.
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Yesterday my wife called a local branch of a national bank. While waiting to speak to a real live human, a recording told her that the call might be recorded for training purposes and quality control. She jokingly suggested that she was recording the call as well. Tit for tat. When the real live human finally came on the line, she questioned whether my wife was really recording the conversation. My wife admitted she was not. If she had tried to record the conversation, the bank representative indicated that the call would be immediately terminated. Small thing you say? Yes, but indicative of the non level playing field between the banks and us.
Banks were largely deregulated to foster competition that was supposed to lead to better service and lower prices for consumers. The only result of banks competing is that banks are competing in raising fees and profits so that the larger banks can merge with and swallow smaller banks. Then they are too large to fail and must be bailed out if failure is imminent. We the taxpayers pay if the banks succeed or if they fail. Interest rates used to be regulated. Now the banks can charge whatever they please and change interest rates whenever they please. I consider an interest rate above 10% as usury. Usury is condemned in the Bible and makes getting out of debt very difficult. Consumers should use debt wisely so say the lending institutions. Then why do they make it so easy to borrow and hard to get out of debt?
My wife feels about banks the same way I do about insurance companies. Her solution is for the consumer to boycott the banks until such time as the banks start treating the consumer with respect. A good idea and I support it. Another approach would be through our Congressional representatives. Through deregulation, they got us in this situation, and now it is time for them to get us out.
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