Simon Read: They do what they want. It's time to bring banks to heel
I wrote earlier this week of my anger at the banks and building societies that rip us off by quietly reducing the interest rates on deposit accounts.
I reminded long-term readers of my rage on discovering that my own savings account had been changed behind my back to pay interest of 0.1 per cent.
So I'm glad the City watchdog is finally taking action about the shabby practice. Millions of savers have been hit as big banks deliberately penalise loyalty by paying peanuts.
You may recall last weekend that I reported on the experiences of Independent reader James Simpson, whose Royal Bank of Scotland Isa had its interest rate slashed.
James's tongue-in-cheek proposal of "keeping my money in a box under my bed" was then taken up by another reader. But Robert Johnson went further: "Why don't we all put our savings under the bed? Just temporarily. It would make more than the banks sit up."
I agreed. And so do many of you. So perhaps we organise a day of protest around the time of the next election by withdrawing our mouldering savings? Maybe we should arrange for a giant bed in, say, Trafalgar Square, so we have a potent image for the protest.
In the meantime, another reader writes in with a similar tale of savings woe – and a warning. "The banks try to rob us at every turn," says Stewart Mowatt, who wants to draw your attention to what he thinks is one of the tricks employed by the banks to legitimise their actions.
"A friend of mine who used to work in a bank had customers complaining from time to time that their accounts were now attracting a derisory rate and that they had never been informed of the change," he reports.
"Often, it transpired that the customers, as so many of us do, had ticked the box on a communication from the bank to say that they did not wish to receive offers, information and the like from the bank. Checking this was the first reaction of the bank to any complaint. The bank felt that this discovery absolved them from responsibility for their actions," Stewart says.
In reality, as he then goes on to point out, there should be a clear distinction between advertising communications and essential information relevant to your accounts.
"The moral would seem to be not to tick such boxes and elect to receive all communications and read them, however dull," he advises.
Given the amount of marketing guff spouted by banks, this could indeed be a tedious process. However, it really shouldn't be necessary. If banks are failing to let savers know that their accounts are now rubbish and offering paltry interest rates, they should be forced to do so.
Even better, they should be forced to stop the odious practice of quietly reducing rates to almost nothing.
Your guide to the new age of pensions
From next April the pension rules are being relaxed so that people are no longer forced to buy an annuity with their retirement savings. But what do the rules mean for us and what should we be doing now?
I know that many readers still feel confused about the new opportunities, so I've made a video with the pensions expert Alan Higham, head of retirement savings at Fidelity Worldwide Investments, to find out what we need to know about the new world of pensions.
You can watch the video at the Independent website now by going to ind.pn/1jxgkp3.
We are planning more video guides in the coming months, so do let me know if there are any subjects you'd like us to cover.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 What if 35 Palestinians had died, and 800 Israelis?
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...
£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...
£400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Liquidity Reporting - Basel III - LCR - Ba...
Up to £50,000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Sauce Recruitment: We are repre...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000