Greed rules Bank loan charges must be capped

 

DIFFICULT TIMES: The euro is embattled.

I see I am not alone in predicting the end of capitalism as we know it; it is already happening.

I suppose there is irony in surmising that banks are themselves to blame.

A case of, give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.

When the moneylenders are thrown out of the temple this time the West’s corrupt and inept politicians will be blamed for allowing them in.

They allowed the banks to make the rules.

Greed rules; banks and their shareholders are totally focused on profiteering regardless of other considerations. The latter isn’t their job.

As Radio Four’s Money Box programme revealed, some high street banks charge ‘eye-watering’ rates of interest when customers become overdrawn.

A customer going over by an unauthorised debt of £100 for 28 days would be charged £200 by Spanish banking conglomerate Santander. The interest rate is the equivalent of 819,100%.

The response of the British Banking Association; ‘the industry was willing to look at concerns.’

This is the kind of response you might expect from a brothel’s madam when you complain you have caught the clap from one of her girls.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) asks for tighter regulation.

Mike Dailly from the Govan Law Centre, who sees victims squeezed until the pips squeak, says, ‘the government must review unauthorised overdraft charges.’

Here you have the crux of the problem. It isn’t just interest on unauthorised overdraft charges parliamentarians that should be looked at; it is the entire corrupt banking system.

We hear and read appalling tales of loan sharks descending on council estates peddling loans at 5,000% interest. What about the 300,000% charged by Santander and Lloyds TSB?

The Spanish bank told the BBC: ‘It’s confusing to compare payday loans with overdrafts on current accounts because an unauthorised charge is for an unauthorised drawing.’ That makes it alright then?

Barclays, another bank used by British expatriates is not much better.

This bank charges £22 for every five consecutive working days of unauthorised drawing. This means the customer, who is likely to have cash flow problems anyway, taking a hit of £88 after 28 days; an APR of 366,000%.

Marc Daffern from Stamford in Essex was overdrawn by just £6.99, which accrued charges of £775. The NatWest has offered to accept £400. Their generosity makes your heart bleed.

I am not at all being blasphemous when I ask, where is Jesus Christ when you need him? Even the Romans capped lending charges at 8%; and that was 2,500 years ago. In the United States, a country synonymous with capitalist greed, payday loans and associated interest rates have been capped.

Clearly the banks cannot be relied upon to act with any degree of compassion or for that matter commonsense. Sadly, there isn’t a European politician with the backbone to offer anything but a whining appeal for restraint.

 

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