Lamont – Marketing and Advertising

The battle of the banks

Considered cutting costs lately. Have you compared bank fees? Don’t let’s forget that the Americans were up in arms about a $5 monthly service fee just this month.

But have you given serious consideration to exactly what is entailed in changing banks. An easy and effective way to cut costs but you must be pretty much at your wits end to be willing to go through the pain and suffering of opening a new bank account. That said, it’s a damning statement about your existing service provider if you’re prepared to go through with the exercise.

FICA or RICA – whichever one, the same rule applies. You’d best prepare for a visit to the dentist because as far as these requirements go, you may soon need an imprint of your back teeth to accompany your application to change your name or address. All very CSI style, documented proof of everything.

Now, if you reside in East London, this is when you start checking if BCM have actually mailed your latest account so that you can present them with proof of residence unless, like me, you have divorced and changed your name in which case that account and your ID will not correspond. And then, despite Home Affairs telling you to use your old ID book, the bank won’t accept it because it’s dated after your divorce. So now, other than wanting to throttle the ex for insisting you take on his less-than-desirable surname, the one that just doesn’t have a professional ring to it at all and is more likely to make you the butt of many a joke, you now have to go back to Home Affairs and stand in the un-airconditioned rooms in 75% humidity to queue for a new ID document.

And just to sweeten the deal and make it worthwhile changing from the bank that makes things, “Simpler, Better, Faster” or now is “Inspired, Motivated and Involved”, I pose the question; is your new bank really going to “Try Harder”. Because they better.  Unless they want Cruella in the queue, it better be a very good experience from start to finish. Let me add here that whichever bank you choose, I guarantee you that you will still be paying excessive fees for the privilege of giving them your business. And don’t underestimate the value of your business to them. There is afterall a good reason that European Banks are so interested in this piece of the planet. We’re a growing economy. Theirs is finite. They have no space to expand. They are an old continent with small and declining birth rates. But Africa is the land of promise. They want our business. They need our business. It’s all about the vast numbers of new bank accounts being opened each year.

Now have a good look at your Credit Card statement. Compare it to your Woolworths statement. Frightening stuff. The stuff that would make for good material for a whole new series of Twilight  saga.

So off to the newstands to buy a copy of Suze Ormon’s personal financial offerings for those of us who have fallen into the debt trap thanks to the banks. Funny how it keeps going back to them. If you really can’t afford her stuff, try a magazine that has a column of hers, otherwise just Google it.

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