OK, we all know that the big bad banks have been charging their customers for advice that hasn't been given - the Royal Commission is sorting that out. This article isn't about that, which for the record is very, very bad; I'd be annoyed too if I dropped my car off at the mechanic having paid for new brakes, only to drive away with the old ones. Highway robbery and professionally negligent - I get it.
This is actually about the fact that regardless of this, us Aussies are starting to sound like a whinging bunch of negative Nancys who expect to pay nothing at all for the services our banks actually do provide. Surely we can appreciate the fact that nothing in life is free. We need to pull our heads in.
At the end of the day, the big banks with whom the majority of us CHOOSE to associate our hard-earned money with, are businesses. They are not Government-owned. They are there to provide a service and we need to accept the fact that there are costs for that service.
And while the banks do make significant profits and their chief financial officers and chief executives pocket a disgustingly inflated salary when they're not out there saving lives or teaching our future generations, let's take a second to consider why we actually need our banks to be in the green.
A large portion of Australians own shares in banks either through super funds or otherwise, which when in a profitable position, play an undervalued and underappreciated role in the long-term financial growth and stability of these investments and overall economy.
So without further adieu, here's a few things we should be thankful to our banks for.
THREE THINGS WE PAY OUR BANKS FOR BUT DON'T APPRECIATE
24/7 customer support
You lose your wallet. Your credit card gets stolen. A fraudulent charge is made on your card. Guess what? Your bank is available at any time of the day, wherever you are in the world, to help you solve the issue. In times of crisis, your bank is easily accessible to you, in your corner, on your team, figuring out the best way to alleviate your panic and stress in that moment. Better still, CommBank's online banking app allows you to lock a card temporarily if lost or stolen, no call even needed. I don't know about you, but these are services I'm willing to pay fees for.
The amount of money that has gone into developing incredibly effective, efficient and user-friendly mobile technology over the past few years may thanks to some of our fees, but it's sure as hell making our lives easier! I know I'd rather use a well-developed online banking app to change my address, add a new payee, pay in invoice immediately, lock a card temporarily or tend to all of my other banking needs, than stand in line at a branch on my lunch break or listen to the same song on repeat in a phone queue.
You don't want to pay your fees? No apps for you!
The ability to grow our businesses and lives
While many of our parents may have been able to buy their first home 40 years ago with the equivalent of their yearly salary of $48k, we most certainly can't. Similarly, starting or growing our own businesses usually requires money we often can't cough up ourselves. So who do we call? The banks! As a result of all of us keeping our money safely stored within the banks and paying fees for the ability to do this, we in turn have the ability to access larger amounts of money that enable us to grow our wealth and lives into more than they are. Again, I'm willing to pay for this ability.
While I suspect this may be a touchy subject for many, there comes a point where we need to take ownership for our own decisions around the businesses we choose to associate with (banks included). Unfortunately, many of us seem to be passive information seekers and get swept up in the angry and whiny click-bait headlines that relentlessly beat our banks to a pulp.
Instead, we all need to take a deep breath and take a moment to actually appreciate the dependability, accessibility, safety and technologically advanced services provided by our Australian banks that are ultimately helping us live the lives we want to live.