Haiku For Boardroom Greed

CEO mantra / “I’m worth every penny”/ Well they would say that


Affirmations Of The Special

I saw a tweet (I know, I know) by Alain De Botton (shush now) which seems to have since been deleted and which I obviously now can’t quote verbatim. From memory it said something similar to  saying that society might be better off if people who felt themselves to be special did not feel that the acquisition of money was the best way of proving to others and themselves that they were.

Clearly the tweet was more succinct than my mangled reinterpretation. The nearest equivalent tweet that expresses similar sentiments is less verbose but no less pointed:

Banking For Bankrupts?

An advert for Co-operative wholesale society bank from 1960

The news that the Co-op bank in the UK has ceased offering a basic bank account for undischarged bankrupts means that only Barclays will continue to offer such a banking facility.

So what are the options for anyone going through the personal bankruptcy process and desperately needing a basic bank account .

The way I see it is it’s Barclays Bank or one of the prepaid credit cards such as the Cashplus card  which issue an account number and sort code to enable benefits or wages to be paid onto it and direct debits to be paid out of it accordingly (total access needs to be enabled by verifying your personal details in order to avoid any usage limitations).

As I understand it the sort code and account number facility for this prepaid card is supplied by the Co-op bank so it remains to be seen if this service will be affected in any way. Hopefully not or it’s Barclays or the highway for personal bankrupts. If anybody has further details then please let me know.

Bankruptcy isn’t the end of the world but not having access to a bank account of some kind until a discharge is issued can be a major handicap because it’s much harder to be paid cash in hand or to entirely make payments in cash without being financially penalised for so doing.

If you are facing personal bankruptcy or debt issues then it’s worth giving the UK national debtline a call.

National Debtline

Image by sludgegulper under this creative commons licence

Robin Hood Robin Hood Riding Through The Bank

A rare example of humanistic altruism in the now much hated world of banking comes from Germany. Erika Schmidt, the manager of a bank branch in Germany was found to be transferring money from rich clients into the accounts of those who were heavily in debt. Her lawyer said that “she couldn’t bear to see my less-fortunate customers go hungry”.

Her aim was to stop the struggling accounts from being closed due to lack of funds. When these accounts became solvent again she would largely transfer the money back again. She took no money herself but was found to have transferred a total of 7.6 million Euros between December 2003  and February 2005.

Inevitably despite her interventions some clients never managed to become solvent again and so the bank lost 1.1 million euros due to the bad debt.

A court in Bonn was viewed the altruistic fraud leniently by handing out a 22 month suspended jail term.

It is reported that the manager lost her job and now lives off a small pension.Her lawyer said “She did it out of compassion for people and now she is as poor as a church mouse herself”

Photo by marie-ll under this creative commons license


Cloned Cards And The Return Of Cash

The rise of credit and debit card fraud, skimming and card cloning has increased the use of cash transactions after years of a slow move to the cashless society. In common with many places in the UK a nearby garage had been cloning customer cards and its more common to hear of people who get their card cloned and used illegally.Monopoly debit

My Dad had his replacement credit card stolen from within the postal system but was alerted by the credit card company after a series of non typical transactions started being made with his card and alerted him and subsequently cancelled the card. I’m always amazed that replacement cards are often sent in the post and without the need to sign for them. In many other countries a card holder would have to collect a replacement card from their bank branch and show proof of ID.

I’m still not one to carry about cash and have been cautious and/or lucky enough not to be the victim of card fraud myself to date. I am though seriously considering getting one of those pre paid cards in which you can load limited amounts of money electronically ,at the post office, pay point etc and use out and about and in situations where you may risk getting your card cloned.

This could be a prudent buffer between the main source of your funds and the potential for being card cloned. We were weighing up the pros and cons of each, all of which invariably contain a transaction or monthly charge but some seem very secure acting as temporary visa cards complete with cvv2 security numbers that change each time you add funds to the card which act as an added layer of security.

Of course it would be better if the banks implemented better security systems around the use of cashless transactions (some banks can text you details of each card transaction you make so you’re quickly aware of any unauthorised card usage) and that we all took adequate precautions when used but perhaps in the same way as we must take precautions with data and money management usage via our computers, we just need to become more cautious with how we use the various cashless payments cards available to us.

Photo by ame nielsen under this creative commons license

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1 in 10 Dispose Of 20000

1 in 10 Brits now have an average household income of £90,000 with around £20,000 of that available as disposable income whilst earning way above the national average but most of them seemingly just don’t feel well off as they think they should be . No matter how well off you are there’s always somebody else seemingly better off than you. Meanwhile Dave the carpenter has found the secret of contentment.

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Car Park Tax Is Coming

car park

Watch This Space
I read that the go ahead has been given to tax employee car parking spaces. any company with 10 or more dedicated parking spaces may find the spaces taxed in an apparent attempt to discourage car usage. Car parking spaces may cost £350 a year, a cost likely to be born by the employee though it will be the company that is taxed. Car parking spaces look like becoming another tax point or lucrative investment.

Rent Out Your Car Parking Space 
If you live in London  or other in demand location and have a car space outside your house but don’t own a car it’s likely that you could rent the space out for up to £250 a year. We live near an airport so would be happy to rent our space out for those wishing to park reasonably close to the airport and who don’t wish to pay heaven knows what a day(that is when it’s not being nicked by the oh-so-caring-for-the-environment-but-stuff-other-people Mr Prius owning man who thinks nothing of dumping his hybrid car on our drive for 2 week stretches when he jets off abroad) Though I probably always underestimate the amount of people in this country with more than enough money to get by. Divisive times.

Car parking tax source

Rent out your car parking space

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