Banks Succumbing To People Power, But…

Over the past few weeks a couple of stories have caught my eye which have shown the strength that people power can have on large corporations (and in this case I’m talking about banks and building societies).

Firstly, it’s difficult to go a single day without hearing someone talking about reclaiming bank charges – it’s amazing to see the spread of such an idea now reaching all areas of the media – from the TV to the national press, all are running step-by-step guides to reclaiming these unlawful fees, and yet more and more people are actually realising that it is something they themselves can do, and in most cases they will be succesful. And the fact this is Joe Public vs. The Big Banks make it all the more satisfying. In my opinion, it’s unlikely that this could have been done without the power of the internet.

On the other side of the coin, it appears that we’ve also reached a point where banks and building societies are listening to customers about the service they provide, such as with Lloyds TSB, who have announced that they are no longer going to use Indian call centres. Since outsourcing began it has been a constant cause of annoyance to many customers (not just of Lloyds, of course) who feel that they should be served by someone with some connection to the company they work for and their customers – not just someone working from a script 2,000 miles away.

Of course, knowing the banks and building societies, they will not take this lying down. By losing out on the masses of fees, and having to pay higher wages to call centre staff, they will see their bottom-line affected. Shareholders are unlikely to be happy. So how will they get their money back?

There have already been murmurings that the clampdown on fees may eventually lead to the end of free banking, if the experience in other marketis is anything to go by. Although the initial move to charging by any bank would be unwelcome (just look at the reaction their was to First Direct’s decision to start charging their current account customers), once there is a general movement in that direction, it might be hard for customers to avoid them.

And of course, the banks will probably also justify higher charges or lower interest rates on the cost of manning their UK call centres. So as you reclaim your fees, just think about the knock-on effect that it might have.

3 thoughts on “Banks Succumbing To People Power, But…

  1. Certainly something to consider. With more and more people jumping on the bandwagon (and rightly so) the banks are certainly going to feel it. Are there any estimated figures regarding the total amount banks are expected to repay in this ‘wave’ of claims?

  2. i like the line that says “it’s unlikely that this could have been done without the power of the internet”.

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