A short course on greed

Atrocious, obnoxious, illegitimate, against all decency, not at all acceptable, greed personified, this is a kill, unpardonable..

If you would have uttered any one of the above with a grand expression of surprise as soon as your credit card bill reached you, then you are not alone. The world is full of such people. And it is also full of those who make people say so.

But this is likely to end soon. Or at least that appears to be so.

43,500 customers of ANZ Bank in Australia have proceeded with a class action suit, the largest of its kind, demanding that USD 220 Mn levied as fees be returned to them.

These are some of the fees that are levied. Honor fee, Dishonor fee, Late Fee, Penalty and if some more greed cannot be hidden inside these, then you have the hidden clauses that no human mind on earth can decipher.

Look at some.

An honor fee is levied when an informal overdraft facility is exceeded. A dishonor fee is charged when a regular payment to another account cannot go through for lack of funds. And a late fee is charged if the payment is not made on time. So, more than one fee is charged for the same or related accounts.

Let us take another example. You have a credit card. Initially you get a fee waiver for two years. Then you go overseas and so don’t use the card. As a precaution you also cancel the card over a phone call. Then the third year starts and they levy you the annual charge. As you are overseas, you don’t know of this charge being levied. Then it enters into delinquency as you don’t pay the due. Are you responsible for the delinquency and the associated charges ?

And why do banks resort to these fees ? How come a single transaction is charged a fee twice ?

The answer, dear Watson, is greed and the need to recoup the losses due to the financial crises.

Coming back to the case. What are the implications for ANZ ? And for other banks ?

Did anybody say ‘bonus’ ?

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