Friday, February 06, 2009

The Bank that Likes to Say Yes

There are of course more savers than borrowers in this nation of our but the sheer size of the latter's mountain of debt eclipses the savings of the prudent majority; leaving a bleak outlook for those, such as the retired, dependant on their nest-egg to top-up their state pension in their old age.

Unless your savings are stashed in a fixed-rate savings account, the chances are that yesterday's Bank of England rate cut will lead to yet another fall in your earnings from personal savings. For people who live off that interest, the recent round of sudden and sharp rate cuts has been devastating.

But while the average account now pays less than 1 per cent, The Independent newspaper tells us there is no need to accept such a miserly rate. Many accounts still pay more than 4 per cent.

FirstSave, owned by First Bank of Nigeria, is offering 4.25 per cent. Deposits in this bank are reportedly 100 per cent covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme, up to a limit of £50,000, though whether you might have the courage to invest your savings in Lagos are another matter altogether. Still, that said, many of us, including Kent County Council thought Iceland was a good idea at the time.

I tried last week to open an account at the Yorkshire Building Society, which has one of the better rates of interest on their Internet Saver accounts; more than 1% anyway. Anything had to be better than a savings account going steadily backwards at my high street bank and so I duly completed the online forms.

These days of course one has to prove one's identity to any new bank, which speaking from professional experience in my other job, is a pretty useless exercise, given the cheap availability of good forged documents. Anyway, the Yorkshire Building Society, wanted a copy of my passport, preferably endorsed by my solicitor, Mr Inlandi Revendi of Lagos or my bank. Off I went to Margate High Street, where they know who I am and passing over the passport copy, I asked if they might stamp it. "I'm sorry", I was politely told, "the bank is unable to endorse your identity for other financial insitutions."

So this now leaves me in a quandry. Do I forge Mr Inlandi Revendi's signature and seal on my passport copy, using the £2.50 stamp kit available from WH Smiths or simply give up? Quite obviously, the High Street bank wishes to hang on to my savings, much like it would like to hang on to the Government's bail-out cash; less of course £18million of bonuses to its staff. Perhaps like the good businessmen of Oxford, I should try and start my own bank, The Cooperative Bank of Thanet instead. After all, if you own a bank these days you can't really lose can you?


Michael Child said...

Simon a friend of mine sold his house some time ago, about a year ago when I considered the pound to be overvalued against the euro I advised him to bank it in euros in a European bank, which he did. There may be more to be gained this way although the pound in some ways looks undervalued, while UK interest rates are so low I think the pound may continue to slide.

ascu75 aka Don said...

AsI said on a blog elsewhere I cant understand why more houses arent being bought by those with the capital and rented out cos the returns being paid by banks etc are not a lot. But inthe banking industries support I must add a friend has just had his bussineses supported by one of the part goverment owned banks where afew weeks earlier all was doom and gloom they suddenly realised he was worth keeping going