I, like most of my fellow Grade 1-er’s back in the year 1980, had a Commonwealth Bank passbook account, where I could offload some of my pocket money and get in the good habit of saving some money. Although I think it’s a great idea to teach young kids how to save money from a very early age I never for one second even as an immature and naive five year old ever got the idea that I had to remain loyal to the Commonwealth Bank for the rest of my life because I had an account with CBA at five years of age.
It always seemed to me that many adults have an unhealthy loyalty to their bank like a misguided loyalty to a political party which keeps stuffing things up like the federal Australian Labor Party led by the worst prime minister ever in the history of the Commonwealth – Julia Gillard.
If Gillard or Wayne ‘Duck’ Swan threw a Smartie over the side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and told you to jump off it to catch it would you do so or would you tell Gillard and Swan to go jump themselves?
The same principle applies to which bank, building society or credit union you decide to bank with.
If they raise their fees, charges and interest rates excessively and in the case of mortgage interest rates above the official Reserve Bank percentage and you go along with it.
You’ll cop it on the cheek and keep banking with whichever financial institution does this then you make yourself a glutton for corporate punishment and you could justifiably be stereotyped as a gullible fool who would be downright stupid enough to jump off a bridge because somebody said you could do so without hurting yourself besides spraining an ankle or grazing a knee.
The whole concept of consumerism is based on choice. Anyone can withdraw their money out of one bank account and take it down the road to another bank, building society or credit union.
No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head saying you must leave your money in this financial institution or else we’ll get Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to chase after you in a long black limousine.
Ultimately the banks are accountable to customer choice and consumerism so if the deal you are getting at your bank is rotten£ then hop in your car or pick up the phone and go shopping for a better deal.
Whinging about ATM fees or the banks not passing on the full amount of the official interest rate cuts won’t get you anywhere, taking your business elsewhere just might. ACCC can now rest in peace.
Tim Badrick for the editors.