Be­ing robbed blind by banks

Sunday Star-Times - - FOCUS -

ob­structed their view some­what.

Last week ANZ an­nounced a record an­nual profit of $1.99 bil­lion, while Westpac’s profit state­ment, re­leased this week, came in at a bonny $1.017 bil­lion.

To put those fig­ures into per­spec­tive, ANZ made twice as much profit this year as all of Fon­terra’s cows, al­most four times as much as Air New Zealand, five times as much as Spark and more than seven times as much as the prof­i­teer­ing petrol­heads at Z En­ergy.

Nat­u­rally, both banks were keen to point out that we should ac­tu­ally be grate­ful they’re mak­ing fist­fuls of loot off us be­cause it’s a sign of a strong econ­omy.

I have seven ac­counts at three dif­fer­ent banks. ANZ isn’t one of them, but Westpac is. How­ever, in mid­dle age, I’ve be­come more fis­cally pa­tri­otic, if no more pru­dent. I fig­ure if any­one’s go­ing to fleece me for stepping foot in a branch or mak­ing too many trans­ac­tions each month, it might as well be Ki­wibank.

At Ki­wibank, my bank man­ager is an avatar called Gary. I have no idea if he’s also a real per­son be­cause I’ve never met him, and that’s just the way I like it.

Un­like the good old days, when ev­ery­one knew their lo­cal branch man­ager from golf/squash/ ten­nis/bridge/Ro­tary/Lions, I pre­fer to ghost Gary.

Main­tain­ing a de­gree of anonymity makes it less em­bar­rass­ing when you lose your credit card and have to con­fess that the last three trans­ac­tions were, ahem, at Burger King, Burg­er­fuel and the drive-thru at Krispy Kreme Dough­nuts.

It pains me to speak ill of the dead but my mis­trust of money lenders stems back to pri­mary school peer pressure from an ASB-spon­sored ele­phant.

Kashin fea­tured on the front of our pa­per pass­books and she conned all my class­mates into part­ing with their pocket money each week. Re­mem­ber, she said, and I still do.

I re­mem­ber that even then the bank wanted to get its hands on my cash with no in­ten­tion of giv­ing it back be­cause the mus­tard-yel­low plas­tic ele­phant money box we were all is­sued had a slot for de­posits in its back, but no method of with­drawal other than go­ing big game hunt­ing with a ham­mer.

At five and seven, my chil­dren don’t have bank ac­counts yet. They still have no con­cept of the value of a buck, or what it takes to earn it, though they’re fairly savvy for­agers of any spare change left around the house.

They also know that money doesn’t grow on trees be­cause it is con­jured up mag­i­cally with the swipe of a plas­tic card, rather than a well-timed thwack to the belly of a plas­tic pachy­derm.

Kashin fea­tured on the front of our pa­per pass­books and she conned all my class­mates into part­ing with their pocket money each week. Re­mem­ber, she said, and I still do.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.