Taking a Lend

Banks are getting away with murder at the moment, and meanwhile, the thick mutts of Britain are being bombarded with rhetoric by The Daily Mail, and The Sun in an attempt to divert attention away from the real scourge of our society – towards minority groups and political opponents who would like to see an end to the status quo. They’re doing a great job as well. The fact that the banking fraternity of Britain, and the wider world was directly responsible for the economic crash of the previous decade seems to have been swept under the carpet expertly, and the blame for our current predicament has been squared at the poorest in our society, and mis-management by a government that was chucked out years ago.

It’s like allowing your embarrassing uncle Gary (who loves a drink, and has had several affairs with younger women unbeknown to your Auntie June) to have access to your £200K endowment pot meant to pay off your mortgage in a year’s time. He’s family, and you trust him because your dad said it would be ok. He started using it without your knowledge to put bets on at Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, and Betfred. He didn’t tell you, and after 3 months he realised that he’d blown a quarter of it. At that point, he should have fessed-up, put a plan together to repay it, and close his betting shop accounts. Nah. He borrowed £50K using the other cash as security and kept on playing. After a year, the entire £200K was gone, and he’d borrowed £200K to make it look like you were ok. Trouble is, that £200K plus interest now had to be paid back – so he told dad that it was all gone, and dad stumped up the money without questioning it. Dad needed that money back, so he gave you a brief explanation & asked you to pay £500 a month to him for the rest of your life. Uncle Gary pissed off without any worries having had a great time (and some winnings in the process), Dad shouldered the unplayable debt, but just about keeps his head above water by getting something each month until he dies, and you in the meantime just have to fork out money each month for no other reason than to pay for Uncle Gary’s lifestyle. Uncle Gary is the Bank, Dad is the Government, and you are the stupid one who has to foot a bill for their fun and games.

Anyway, back to the important stuff – Me.

Once my lease car went back at the end of April, I started using an old Nissan 4×4 to get around, with the comfort of knowing there was no finance or lease payments to cover. Unfortunately, given the high mileages I’ve been doing, the vehicle has been guzzling fuel at an alarming rate – a £60 fill-up every other day. That’s over £700 a month for a 6 day week. Clearly unsustainable, and given the servicing costs of an old 4×4, it was clear that I needed to rethink things. My wife had bought a Nissan Note for her business two months earlier, and realised that it was just too small to be practical when transporting medium to large size dogs. I used it on a trial basis for 2 weeks, and in “eco” mode, I hadn’t needed to top the fuel up despite doing the same high mileage. If I took over the ownership, and finance of the car, it was still way cheaper than battling on with the monster Nissan. The finance she had was quite expensive, so my plan was for me to take over the finance by finding my own vehicle loan with way less interest.

My first point of call was my own bank obviously – I’ll not name them for fear of legal reprisal (clue: starts with H and ends in SBC). It’s been a while since I’d applied for any form of credit, but I’m no stranger to financing new equipment via business loans. My account has been conducted superbly for 12 years. I have an overdraft facility to cover the intermittent lean months, and cashflow blips, and a commercial credit card used for occasional business purchases which are paid back the same month. Never have I had a late payment, or unauthorised debit balance. Never.

I’d done the online application before, so after getting the online quote (saving a grand in interest over 2 years versus the Nissan Finance), the loan was authorised immediately, and I digitally signed the agreement. The web page crashed as I pressed the “accept” button, and when I tried to log back in, I was told that there was a technical problem, and was required to ring one of the advisors the following day. Great.

The following day I did my duty, rang them, and my heart sank when I realised I was speaking to a 20 year old with a script and a computer screen who told me that he was going to “review my borrowing capabilities, which would take a long time” Rhetorical questions such as “what would you do if you lost all your clients?”, and “is this all you do?” didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. Trying to convince this kid that I cut my cloth on a monthly basis in order to cover my costs during the tough times was a total waste of time. The fact that the loan repayments and motoring costs were half of the amount I’d paid in lease and fuel for the prior four years was dismissed. After consulting with their underwriting department I was told to hell off, my credit card limit was slashed to something I had when I was a student in 1983, and my overdraft limit was reduced to a level that puts me in danger of unpaid items at some parts of the year (and you know how much the wankers make from those eh?). The fixed fees on both forms of credit haven’t been reduced though. I felt properly screwed over, and there’s nothing I could do about it. Apart from moving out the thousands in ISA funds of course – already done. Oh, and never considering any HSBC financial product ever agin, and looking for a new business bank account with immediate effect of course. 

The policies of the retail and small business banking sectors are a small part of the machine, but they’re indicative of the culture we have allowed ourselves to accept – a culture in which privileged, public schoolboy idiots laugh in the face of a society crippled by the lack of a safety net, and whose white, ageing population have been brainwashed by the right wing press into thinking that their bigotry and hatred of muslims will prevail, and eventually extricate huge swathes of people of diverse colours and religions who frankly contribute more to the country than Tarquin and his pals ever will. Screw you banks, screw the lot of you.

Brian Young shoots all aspects of the built environment for a range of clients throughout Northern England and the Borders.


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