Money men say what’s good for us – but don’t bank on it

WHAT S the most unbelievable claim you have heard in the last week? Could it be that Watford had a fighting chance of getting through to the FA Cup Final? Or maybe that England would come out of the ICC Cricket World Cup smelling of roses rather than the

WHAT'S the most unbelievable claim you have heard in the last week?

Could it be that Watford had a fighting chance of getting through to the FA Cup Final?

Or maybe that England would come out of the ICC Cricket World Cup smelling of roses rather than the natural material used to help grow them?

How about this one that I came across? The ending of free banking may not be as unpopular as some people might think.


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In fact, according to an independent financial comparison website, a whopping 75 per cent of British adults now have that opinion.

And a third of people indicated that they would positively embrace fee-based banking, saying it would actually make them more responsible for their finances.

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Don't count me in on this. Banks make far too much profit anyway without adding to it by charging for services.

What has prompted this new talk about imposing fees has been the banks being castigated and forced very reluctantly to recompense customers for the draconian penalties imposed for unauthorised overdrafts, and direct debits and the like not being met.

For years the banks have been charging an enormous amount each time this happened - typically £25, £30 or even £35 - when the actual cost to the institution was only £2 or £3.

But they have been caught out and now droves of customers who have cottoned on to the fact that such charges have been judged to be unfair have been claiming them back.

The mounting demands are hurting the poor bankers in their counting houses.

Now they face the prospect of a cap being put on future penalty fees - which could still be a profit-generating £12 a time.

But their money-grab will be down - so now they are thinking of offsetting their losses by charging customers for current accounts.

None of this is softening my heart to them. In fact, the old ticker took on a steelier look this week when I learned that some banks, in a peculiarly even-handed sort of way, are just as ready to rip off the people who entrust their nest eggs with them.

New research from one bank revealed that there was a huge disparity across the board with 16 per cent of banks and building societies offering savers derisory rates of less than two per cent gross.

Nearly 40 per cent of savings accounts are paying less than three per cent.

And only one in five accounts pays five per cent or more.

The Bank of England base rate is 5.25 per cent - and likely to go up soon - so the message is: shop around and let your money work for you, not the banks.

Remember, you can't take it with you. Not that many people are planning to, it seems.

While almost half of us plan ahead for holidays and more than a third buying a new car, I learn that 88 per cent of people in the South East have not made any arrangements for their funeral, a quarter saying they had not bothered because they "won't be there".

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