I read a lot of websites about money, and debt and just general finance. I spend more time researching personal finance now than when I was my most indebted, ironic. Anyway, I guess I wandered into the right job because finance really does fascinate me. Reading about banks, what people think of banks and what their experiences are is fascinating. Fascinating and frustrating and sometimes downright infuriating.
I might have a chip on my shoulder about this because I work in a bank and I hear a lot about fees and how unfair the bank is and all that jazz. Last week my boss wandered into an article titled: "Banks to customers: Drop Dead". Now that's just silly. If our customers were dead who'd pay our salaries? The first line is my favorite though: Who's coming to the rescue? The rescue? Sure, it sucks that you signed a variable rate mortgage for a house you couldn't afford but it's not the bank's fault. The bank didn't make you buy a house you couldn't afford, you made that choice for yourself.
Banking is one of America's most regulated industries but what does that mean to a customer? It means that the bank has to give you fine print details on any potential way they can screw you. If I don't hand out the right papers when I open an account for someone it means the bank is in violation of the law and then I get fired. I can agree with people who complain about service and ineptitude at their bank, mediocrity is everywhere but you're the customer. There is no shortage of banks and no reason not to shop around, you don't have to do business anywhere that doesn't meet your standards and needs. I'm worn out over hearing people complain about things they can control and choose not to, atleast financially.
Why am I on this today all of a sudden, because I read this amazing article, blurb, whatever about the housing "crisis" this morning. Can you call whiplash consumerism a crisis? Losing your house to a fire is a crisis. A flood is a crisis, a never ending war with an increasing death toll...that's a crisis. Wanting more than you have and leveraging your future to get it is dangerous and foolish, but it's not a crisis.
There are some other great money articles on that site, one about going homeless to pay off debt. That may be extreme for most, but it worked and I admire the dedication. I've gotten to the point where when I hear that someone is in debt over their heads but they still have the Tivo and the internet and a shiny new car and eat out all week...I just have no sympathy anymore. If that's the life you want and you're willing to pay for it from beyond the grave, go for it. Just don't blame the bank, it's not the banks fault, no more than it's McDonald's fault that people who eat there three meals a day get fat. Forget flouride, they should put personal responsibility in the water.