Big Banks Are Getting Out of Touch

What a Run on a Bank Looks Like

The Bank I Use Today

If you ask me, bigger is definitely not better!

Anybody who has a checking account -- and that's virtually all of us -- or anybody who reads the business pages of his daily newspaper, is aware of our country's "merger mania."

The growth of business may be good for business moguls and the stock market, but for the rest of us it's "the pits."

Job Lost to Technology

I am not even referring to the disruption, and grief, brought about by the massive layoffs of the last decade, or the unhealthy breaking up of families who find themselves living hundreds of miles from their sons and daughters or fathers and mothers. Neither am I including those who lost their jobs to technology, computerization and the Internet.

If you listen to the moguls, virtually every industry must consolidate or fail. Sure, you can start off small, but you'd better grow year after year if you want to compete, otherwise the competition (by acquiring smaller rivals and compatible businesses) will grab "market share" and leave you in the lurch.

An Assault on Your Wallet

You can see the results in virtually every industry. In entertainment, for instance, you now pay cable television for what you used to get free on television, and if you want to see a movie, just empty out your wallet or purse. In sports, you may need to save up for weeks just to take the family to see a ball game.

If we had space here, we could discuss what we used to call monopolies, like the giant telephone companies, the oil conglomerates, the auto industry and, now, the fast-growing, multi-billion dollar companies that are paving our way to the information highway. If we're not being overcharged by these companies, how is it we've made so many of their executives millionaires -- or, rather, billionaires.

The banking industry provides an excellent example of the arrogance and anti-consumer philosophy of the giant conglomerates. I've only had a few run-ins with my bank over the years, but the difference of opinions isn't what bothered me -- it was the arrogance of its employees.

Out of Touch Executives

I say employees, not executives, because -- you may have noticed -- the bank's executives are not reachable. I tried their email and even went to the main branch, but they refused to give me the name and telephone number of any decision-making executive. They said the president was in the Carolinas.

I've been with the same bank, believe it or not, for 41 years -- that is, I haven't changed banks, but the banks have changed me about five times.

State Panel Sides With Bank

Years ago the bank offered me a "payment holiday," but when I turned in the payment slip it was never recorded and I wound up paying extra interest. Then, when I objected to being forced to buy the checks the bank sells, I was told I had no choice -- and the state Banking Commission (in Connecticut) backed them up.

In the last few weeks my objections to being forced to pay for deposit slips (they don't give you enough to begin with) were rebuffed at every turn. I did get some slips free, but with a warning: No more after this!

I am looking for a bank that will treat me like a customer. Is that too much to ask?

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on June 26, 1999. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages. To view my HubPages Profile Click Here

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Comments 10 comments

Bob 8 years ago

Bill.... The BIG banks have always been out of touch.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

True, Bob, but they're getting worse all the time. Maybe that's why we've a couple of big bank failures recently -- and there may be more coming!


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

We have four major banks

2nd biggest took over 5th and is now the largest.

They let their new acquisition put interest rates. To see what our reaction would be. None

Guess what they put up their own interest rates. Ha Ha!

Had credit bank fraud some years ago for $AUD1,500.00 Proved my point, went to thew police. After 100 days the bank paid me the money back.

Their excuse I was only their client. The offending party was a merchant.

Good one Ned!

Thank you a timely hub into day's world


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

When I was a kid, MrMarmalade, we used to say, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall," an old boxing expression. But this applies to banks as well. The big banks apparently behave in the same way wherever they're located. They'll squeeze every nickel they can out of you, whenever they can. Thanks for sharing your story.


ColdWarBaby 8 years ago

Your first sentence says it all!

As to what's coming.

http://www.financialweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article.../20080714/REG/436047405

http://thebankwatch.com/2008/05/29/us-banks-likely...

http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/natio...

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks for the comment, ColdWarBaby, and thanks for the links. I'm visiting in Maine this week, and I'm using a library computer today, so I'll be checking out those links ASAP.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Great article. I will never understand how this government has allowed the re-growth of monopolies in this country. When they were forced to break up years ago the economy thrived and grew. When did those regulations change, and who was responsible for the de-regulations?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 3 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

It's a little complicated, d.william, but the explanation lies mainly in the re-interpretation of the Glass-Steagall Act (The Banking Act of 1933) that took place over time -- in the '60s and the late '90s. In essence, they let the investment firms use our bank deposits for their speculation. That has resulted in disaster for the economy. Here's what Wikipedia says: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass-Steagall_Act


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Thanks for the link, and my apologies for the confusion surrounding my questions. They were strictly rhetorical. We know how, why and who the responsible parties were, and also that the current congress will never do anything to tick off Corporate America by attempting to alleviate the problems they have created for the American people.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 3 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Sorry I didn't pick up on that, d.william. We're definitely on the same page.

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