Americans and Addictive Banking
Overdraft fees have increased. ATM fees are up. Credit card rates are expected to rise, followed by late fees as the market tightens. ABC News 1/27/08 “Today, customers want more than a bank. They want a financial ally who makes itself available to them on their terms.” This is how a bank in India paints banking. Does your bank work on your terms?
What was once called commercial banking is now convenience banking. Convenience is king in America and you pay for it. If you look at bank marketing from the inside, addiction to service is recognized as desirable and valuable. An addicted customer is: one who is emotionally and psychologically engaged in the customer experience; a person who derives gratification from the customer experience; one who willingly scrimps elsewhere to be able to splurge on desired customer experiences; an individual who seeks a relationship with a company because its offering enables an emotionally gratifying experience and an authentic relationship evolves. Do you fit any of those parts of the addiction experience?
I figure it’s about time that Americans broke this vicious cycle of usury. Refuse to mindlessly use the convenience services and pay the fees they charge. Slow down. Get organized. Go into the bank and visit the teller even when you don’t think you have the time. Ask them questions and shoot the breeze. If anyone suggests that you use a bank machine, tell them that you don’t like to use bank machines. You like relationship banking as much as they do. Banks can insure everything they own except time. Make your bank spend time with you the old-fashioned way. We let bankers get away with short lobby workdays because they invest in ATMs and online banking. Are you paying for those withdrawals? If not, congratulations. You are one of few bank customers that aren’t paying for the privilege of accessing your own money. Are you writing hot checks? Start spending cash and find out how much farther your money goes when the bank isn’t getting rich from your irresponsibility.
Americans pay inflated bank fees because it is convenient to do so. You have become addicted to that convenience. As a participant in the banking system, it’s your fault. You are hooked. You will write a hot check because the bank will cover it and charge you a fee for covering your vice. Pull back. If enough customers quit using banks as a nanny, banks will stop raising fees.
Fellow Americans, it is time to rebel with a measure of organization and planning. Tell everyone that wants you to cram 30 hours into 24 hours to leave you alone. You are going to slow down and smell a few roses, take a few lunches and steal one more kiss. You are going to spend your time at home with your family or friends instead of banking on the computer. You are going to use a bank that is accessible for you. You are going to keep cash in your pocket and spend it the old-fashioned way. Nobody will track it or charge you for the privilege of spending it. You are wise because you value your money and know how to spend it. You will use your bank for cashing checks, not for holding all your money and charging for access and mindless convenience. Thus ends the vicious circle of addiction and usury.