Friday, 3 May 2013

And the banks were made of marble...

Remember the old song? I think it was an old union song from the 20s or 30s, but it's as true today as it ever was.  Pete Seeger sang it again during the 50s... hopefully the link will work!

My reason for thinking about the song a lot lately is partly to do with my current dealings with the bank that holds my mortgage. Then, I watched Foreign Correspondent, an Australian TV programme. This week's show was about Cyprus. Well, I thought I knew about the Cyprus situation from the news but in depth it was far worse, especially the behaviour of the banks. People were lied to in order for the banks to be able to steal their money, in many cases ALL of their money. Many people are in the process of going bankrupt, while employees can't be paid so unemployment is soaring. Real estate prices dropped over 25% overnight and suddenly hundreds of thousands of people can't buy food. Who is going to rescue these people who have done nothing wrong but are being ripped off for the sake of political ends and the greed of the banks once they were given the opportunity?

(Thank you again, Mr Google!)

My little problems with my bank seem insignificant, but underline to me that banks in general are totally unscrupulous. In my case, I have a mortgage with the National Australia Bank (nab). When I took out the loan I was told that I would be paying higher than standard interest because of all the bells and whistles offered by this particular loan. Amongst other things there would be no further charges of any kind, and the loan would be portable (this means that if I moved house I could transfer the loan towards my next place). A few months ago our local bank manager advised me that, basically, they no longer wanted my custom: if I sold this place the loan would be cancelled. Further, they now thought I was too old to have a mortgage and lastly didn't any longer accept my income as income.

That was pretty unfriendly, I thought, and broke the law here which says that age is not a consideration in financial dealings. However, worse was to come. I suddenly noticed that nab were now charging me $250.00 per month administration fee. While I would think $2.50 was rude, $250.00 is definitely more than rude for a loan with no fees! I then went through my bank statements more fully, to find that it seems nab are charging me excessive amounts of interest. Do I love the bank? No guesses.

I now have an appointment to see the local manager next week, to which I shall bear my calculator and statements. I also have to dig out the original mortgage agreements, which are buried somewhere in my filing (read heaped paperwork) cabinet.

That, as is so often said, is Life.

Take care, everyone, and don't sweat the small stuff, eh. They have it much worse in Cyprus!

Cheers - Fliss

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