Created on 6/2/2009
Honor is an old fashioned and out of date concept. It seems that as we slide into economically troubled times it is every person for themselves, let the devil take the hindmost.
The trouble with this philosophy is that we are rapidly descending into financial anarchy. We have all witnessed many recent instances of the banks’ rules being unilaterally changed on the hoof whilst they operate outside normal rules of self-restraint and decency.
This has allowed the heads of banks to take huge bonuses whilst being bailed out with taxpayers’ money as if this is OK. It is not.
Furthermore banks are still not lending properly to their customers and are charging more for their questionable services, not less. What choice does a bank customer have when the bank squeezes them? There are many that cannot even arrange a loan at even inflated rates, and who are, as a consequence facing bankruptcy. Why should this be happening when the government has bailed out the banks with our money?
The answer is bank greed compounded by fear. The banks are terrified of how near they are to the financial abyss and will do almost anything to increase their liquid capital reserves to ensure their long-term futures. In this equation, we the customers are very much at the bottom of the list of those who need to be serviced and looked after.
There are decent exceptions to this rule; old-fashioned bankers who remember that their organizations only exist because of long term, and hitherto hugely profitable relationships with their customers, but faceless people who are plugged into management by computer program have largely replaced these once noble, honorable men and women.
There is irony to be found in this situation. If the banks were to take a more sanguine and far-sighted view, and surely some amongst them must; those banks will surely prosper. Generosity of spirit will equate with their enlightened self-interest.
There was a time, not so long ago, when you shook hands with your banker, lawyer, accountant, in fact any professional and most business people, and you could rely on them to do what they had promised. What a sad reflection on our world today that this is no longer the case.