Opinions

Damn banks

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I hate banks.

Underneath the polished PR-droid surface, they're big, bloated, unsightly and don't give a rat's ass about customers.

With long line-ups, insensible "business" hours and more bank-by-phone menus than levels of hell, banking truly stretches the definition of any service industry. In fact, one might call them a disservice industry for all the annoyances they put us through.

Consider the fees. Some banks charge more for face to face transactions than they do for ones by ATM, online or by phone. They would rather service the customer mechanically with a minimum of fuss, like some cheap hooker on her last pickup of the night. But does it really cost that much more time or money to get tellers to stop talking to co-workers and actually help customers? Possibly, but the real reason likely has more to do with avoiding customer complaints than with time.

Have you ever seen a bank react swiftly other than to raise interest rates on your loan? Didn't think so. And what's the deal with their credit cards? If you charge something, they post it immediately, even on weekends. Payments, however, take up to a week to post, despite the fact that they cash your cheque on the next business day.

The same pattern of money-grubbing resurfaces when you try to move money into or out of an account, or when you ask for a statement showing how much they buggered you this month. You can make 100 $0.01 deposits at the teller and not incur fees, but taking that dollar back out costs $0.40 or more. Chalk that irrational pricing scheme up to the same bean counters who thought of charging gargantuan service fees for basic accounts. Really, what does the bank do that's worth a dollar a month when your money is just idling?

Sad is the fact that we tolerate what banks charge us for the privilege of borrowing our money to invest in bonds and such to pad their bottom lines with taxpayer money from federal coffers. Sadder is the fact that so many of us have been lulled into trusting our money to those who don't grasp the idea that spending $0.40 to send a bill for $0.03 makes no business sense at all.

In the real world, where there is competition, banks would not be able to pull shit like this off. Only through more law-stretching mergers and acquisitions than Larry King do they defy customers, market forces, and logic.

The next time a teller asks "Can I help you?" I think I'll ask to work for them. That way, I too could get overpaid to stand around all day filling out and stamping forms in triplicate. I will swipe my key card at the espresso machine whenever a customer walks up and be a complete asshole to those who have enough brains to ask questions not covered by the script.

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