Otago Daily Times

Banks need to change the way they work


I WAS interested to read today’s news item regarding the undue haste with which the banks are eliminatin­g cheques — apparently under the guise of Covid19 (ODT, 12.1.21).

Rural communitie­s are not the only parties affected by this, and I have written to the banks, the banking ombudsman, and the Commerce Commission; all apparently unwilling or unable to address this very significan­t problem.

Particular­ly affected are the elderly, those who do not have reliable WiFi access, and people who cannot afford or understand the technologi­es which the banks are hellbent on hoisting on to everyone.

Some of the ‘‘solutions’’ being proposed include the elderly handing over their finances to savvy friends and family (history tells us what can happen in those situations), the stockbuild­ing of cash for paying creditors (again, not wise, and some banks now charge to deposit cash), and encouragin­g people to drive considerab­le mileage to effect payments personally via a bank teller — the banks are apparently not happy about the latter and are fast closing that loophole by reducing hours of operations, effecting day closures, and closing entire branches, in some cases.

So why is the Commerce Commission not interested in what appears to be collusion? Why is the Government not standing up to this collective anticustom­er behaviour by the banks? Does the banking ombudsman have teeth?

Ken Lawson



American democracy

GWYNNE Dyer (Opinion, 21.1.21), quite rightly in my opinion, treats with the disdain such a claim deserves American claims that their Capitol building should be described as ‘‘The Cradle of Democracy’’.

Unfortunat­ely, there are no longer any ancient Greeks around to set the record straight by contesting that claim.

Ian Smith


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