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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.