Do The Banks Really Hold Power Over The People?
The financial industry seems almost indestructible. Financial institutions and banks worldwide have been bailed out, whereas individuals and business have been left to struggle. How is this fair?
Held to ransom
The financial industry appears to hold all the power. It’s an industry which cannot fail, from bailouts to golden handshakes; bankers appear to have it all.
Individuals and businesses put their trust in the banks to keep their money safe and practice responsible lending. Quite often however, it can feel like the whole industry is working against you.
Consumers and the banks
When you take into consideration that banks rely on the consumer to continue to deposit and lend money in order to continue to operate, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the power lays with the people.
However, in order for ordinary people to ‘win’ it would require everyone withdrawing all their money from their accounts at the same time. This action could potentially cause a financial meltdown which would cause more damage than it would solve.
Are banks working against us?
The banks are constantly getting accused of not putting consumers first, but is this an unfair assessment? Common complaints against banks are –
- Customer service – whether its in branch or on the phone, if you feel the banks employee is treating you unfairly your confidence in the bank with falter
- Fees and charges – consumers feels that fees and charges are excessive and unclear
- Mistakes and errors – its bad enough when mistakes or errors happen in the first place, its even worse when trying to rectify or even get an explanation as to why they happened in the first place appears to be near impossible
- Small business – banks are constantly criticised for not supporting small or local businesses
- No loyalty – consumers feel that there is very little reward for being a loyal customer, in fact it can seem that new customers get all the perks
So, what powers do consumers have against the financial industry?
Are banks really untouchable?
There is no denying that financial industry is necessary to ensure the economy keeps going. Does this however give them carte blanche to act however they wish?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK or The Central Bank in Ireland is responsible for regulating all financial institutions. These regulating bodies are responsible for supervising financial institutions and ensuring they adhere to restrictions and guidelines.
If a bank is found to be acting unlawfully it is the responsibility of the FCA or the Central Bank to investigate.
So, what can the banks do?
Consumers mainly want to feel valued and listened to, if you treat customers with respect and take their issues seriously (even if it’s not your fault or there is nothing you can do) then you are likely to reduce the chance of conflict.
Consumers also want transparency; customers can easily become overwhelmed by information, figures, and jargon. If you explain things in a slow, simple, precise way then risk of miscommunication between bank and consumer can be avoided.