Season's greetings from on high
Illustration: Matt Davidson.
Dear friends and family,
It's been another fantastic year for us all at Enormous Bank Headquarters. We know the tough years have continued for many of those not fortunate enough to be at the top of a bank, but for us, we're finding it difficult to hide the smiles.
P had a great year at St Sam's First Second Elementary School. She topped maths and finance. (Can you believe they're offering that as a subject these days? Forget the three Rs, it's all about practical skills like people-management and advertising - another two subjects I'm lobbying for them to bring in for the fourth-graders soon.)
I have to say she must be a chip off the old block. All the bedtime stories about compound interest, price-earnings ratio and debt-to-equity must have sunk in at some level. If only all parents could understand the importance of teaching them about zero-sum games from an early age. It's not just about putting food on the table but making sure they understand how they'll be able to put food on their table at the expense of everyone else.
Back at EBH we continued to benefit from everybody's inertia and willingness to stay with a name they know but an interest rate and fee structure they don't understand. We know the financial media has been harping on about it, but it's been almost six months since customers have been able to change bank accounts while we change all their regular payments for them, and they still haven't cottoned on. I know we kicked up a big stink when the regulations were suggested, and then enforced, but we all secretly knew that most people wouldn't do anything about it and the bank profits continue as normal.
Do they know they could be saving hundreds of dollars a year? Shhhhh don't tell them now! And while we're thanking our lucky stars for people not understanding how to find a better bank account/credit card/home loan, I'd like to extend a big thank you to the media for some of the sympathetic coverage towards banks.
You know what I'm talking about: the headlines such as "Tough global times restrict banks when it comes to rate cuts", "Banks unable to cut rates by full RBA cut because of difficulty in obtaining finance".
It doesn't matter that some of our loan funding is obtained via deposit accounts and we have no trouble at all accessing funding even, as Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens reminded us all, on an unsecured basis. And really, if we're still able to make profits in the excess of trillions, is anybody in any kind of difficulty?
Now did I tell you about Y's ski school? He managed to make it to Aspen this year for the titles and we're thinking of sending him to finishing school in Switzerland.
There's a car and apartment in it for him if he manages to pass all his subjects in his final year. We lowered the bar a little when we realised maths wasn't his strong suit. Of course we were always going to give it to him anyway, but don't tell him that, he needs some kind of incentive. Speaking of which, something really needs to be done about the Newstart Allowance.
A total of $246.30 a week; no wonder they're not looking for jobs. I don't even spend that much on coffee in a month. It's not like they have to pay rent or living costs out of that … or do they? Regardless, it's more than enough to live on, I'm sure. How much is average rent these days?
So friends, as we head into the next year and away from the Mayan calendar, I do hope you have a most successful 2013, and nobody gets done by the tax man.
All the very best of financial returns to you.
Bob the Banker
This column is a tongue-in-cheek satirical piece. The author, Penny Pryor, is not a banker nor does she think all bankers are bad. She is not anti-ski or finishing school and does not believe that consumers are silly. She hopes they understand that often they could be getting a much better deal on most of their financial products and suggests they go to moneysmart.gov.au to find out how.