Page last updated at 02:34 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

City Diaries: Your comments 19th Dec

Man looking at a falling graph

BBC News website readers have been sending us their comments on the latest City Diaries . In the most recent instalment, our diarists discuss the Supreme Court ruling on bank charges, the appointment of the new EU Internal Markets Commissioner, and the bankers's reaction to the Queen's speech.

Here is a selection of your comments.


I fully agree with Mark, bank charges or no bank charges, people need to live within their means. Staying within your means will mean you do not get fees charged to your account. Maybe we need a change of culture or we may all have to pay for banking.
Mike Street, Rotherham, South Yorks


Withdrawing cash
"I worked in a bank. The fees do not represent the time taken to return an item"

Bank charges are hammering the poorest who pay by direct debit. The charges should be capped at very low rates, particularly for those on benefits. Some are incapable of knowing what's going to happen until it's too late. These people need protecting.
Paul Watson, Bridlington, East Yorkshire

I believe it is nonsense that banks subsidise free banking with the monies gained from collecting high unauthorized use fees. Is Mark seriously suggesting that banks do not charge for free banking simply because there is "no need to" due to the revenue generated by penalty charges? Let us not pretend that banks are altruistic or wish to provide a service to non-shareholders. Banks are emotionless, money making companies, period. The reason why banks haven't charged for most bank accounts to date is because they already indirectly charge by paying negligible interest on credit and because, until recently, there was enough competition between banks to prevent this.
Ross Stevenson, London

Banks need to regain a human face, instead of applying blanket rules to all of us
Rob, London

I must disagree with Laura: while in principle she has a point, the fact remains that many thousands of people, like me, don't work in jobs where they are paid a regular, unvarying salary on the same day each month. These people can be heavily penalised by bank's rules. If I go overdrawn by just £10 for one day, that can affect all my standing orders and direct debits, for which I am then charged a fee. I have been charged as much as £150 in various charges, for simply being overdrawn for less than 24 hours. And guess what? The bank has always decided to bounce my payments before clearing any payment to put me back in credit. Banks need to regain a human face, instead of applying blanket rules to all of us.
Rob, London

I have read a few complaints from people who feel they have been unfairly charged, however they seem to be the people who default on a regular basis. Nevertheless, charges are too high. When I worked in a bank in the late 1980s the charge was £3.50 and returns were filled out and actioned manually. Clients were called to see if they could pay in by the end of the day. These returns are still manual but easily actioned by the push of a button. If banks emailed customers automatically when they were overdrawn, giving them the option to pay in that day or face a charge of £5.00 then that seems reasonable. Instead banks see these charges as an easy way to print money. The fees do not represent the time taken to return an item which is really just the push of a button.

Free banking might have been a privilege 30 years ago, but now that you have to have a bank account in order to live and work in Britain, that argument can no longer be used.
George Hale, London

A relative checked her account and it showed she had £100 left to spend after all out-goings had been taken out. She went to a clothes shop and spent within her limit using her debit card. This transaction was shown as pending on her account, two days later she checked her balance and it showed she had money to spend and spent some of it. What it didn't show was the shop she had bought the clothing from did not claim the money for two days so the bank removed the pending withdrawal notice. The bank is now charging her £15 per day for being overdrawn. The bank refused a refund. Nobody is saying there shouldn't be charges but let's get reasonable, most people are not on £50k a year. People do make mistakes. What is the APR if the bank is charging £15 per day on £100?
Anon, Manchester


It seems to me that all three of the City Diarists are sticking to the protectionism that exists within the Banking sector. Of course all bankers (including me) want to keep our bonuses and will fight tooth and nail for it. However, the reality of it is as last week's headline read "Bankers need to come back into the Real World!" As an example, it's not realistic for RBS to have such a torrid 12-18 months and expect to pay their staff bigger bonuses this year than last year! Tell the guy losing his job at Corus that you deserve your bonus and see how many teeth you have left before you finish the sentence.
Marcus, City, London

I wish Laura would stop being incensed about everything. I worked in financial institutions for the best part of 20 years and I have no sympathy for the industry. Greenspan and Bernanke pumped huge amounts of money into the banking system and the bankers unsurprisingly took the one way bet and made loads of money buying risk assets such as equities. It's a no brainer - the bankers know this and shouldn't be surprised now that they have been rumbled and taxed accordingly.
Pete, Kent

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