Wednesday, November 22, 2006

When Good Banks go Bad

In the past I've sued a bank, threatened to take one to the supreme court, and generally have not been impressed with their monopolistic empires... I have worse opinioins about insurance companies, because I was engaged to someone in that industry and the stuff I learned horrified me... That our government allows these two forms of usary and highway robbery to exist IN THEIR PRESENT FORMS boggles my mind.

As the divide between the wealthy and the poor increases, so does the pressure for the poor on having simple, day-to-day necessities. I need my van for work, and because we live in the country. To be without transportation would be suicide. Yet there are many people who cannot afford their vehicles. Farm families around us can't depend on public transit - that doesn't exist out here. The poor can't afford house insurance, or the horrible fees per transaction for the priviledge of having a bank account. Bank records are a form of personal identification, so become a must-have, a paper trail, and a label.

My hackles rose even higher when I heard these two institutions were allowed to merge, and banks could now offer insurance. My bank runs an ad several times per hour, on several channels, stating they can drop your insurance fees on average $350 with one 12-minute phone call (did you catch that fine print?). They can do this, they say, because they've streamlined the application and delivery process, saving us consumers money - so who is paying for these TV ads, month after month? Right.

Banks need to exist, and so does insurance. However, the gross misrepresentation of what's going on in these industries is costing huge amounts of money to those who can least afford it. Private business, in a free market economy, has to pare the fat off operations or die like the dinosaur. Government needs to step in and create the same incentives, and apply them legally, to banking and insurance. ING has the right idea, in terms of cutting out expensive capital costs like having buildings - has anyone noticed the mammoth, often gothic megastructures that house the insurance companies? The upkeep on these buildings must be gargantuan in scope.

I know I'm rambling - I'm annoyed at injustices today. Just don't get me started on credit card companies - eeeeek!!!!

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