Irish Examiner View: Banks’ hubris all too obvious

Irish Examiner View: Banks’ hubris all too obvious

It is all too easy to imagine bankers at a corporate golf outing sneering at their customers’ complaints.

They might remember the billions-upon-billions bailout and laughingly wonder how they can charge the eurozone’s second-highest mortgage rates.

They might compare today’s paper-thin interest rates for savers to the good old days — good except that back then, they had to provide a service for customers. They might also compare new fees.

They might, even if briefly, reflect on the impact that closing branches has on communities. Then, after a bit of well-practiced rib tickling on tracker mortgages, they might conspire on the plan to sell over 1,000 ATMs.

It is suggested such a sale might see fees of up to €3.50 for each transaction.

This sale, in Dublin’s Docklands, might seem a modernising step but in dinner-in-the-middle-of-the-day Ireland it’s another you’re-on-your-own abandonment — just like ones suggesting you bank online, use your phone as a payment conduit, and forget cash.

And don’t dream of asking banks to do anything for you.

These sales will have a negative impact. This Government, and all its predecessors, struggled to change the behaviour of banks and insurance companies.

That failure will speak on February 8 — as it will at every election until the banks deliver on the social obligations inherent in the support and protections afforded by society.

Even if they, at their golf outing, scoff at the idea of that responsibility.

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