Sometimes, the Money Shot wishes that it didn’t have to spend the tail end of the week trying in vain to breezily summarise yet more incidences of avaricious underhandedness from Britain’s banks, riffing on embarrassing failings which go straight to the top of once-trusted financial institutions in the name of cheap LOLz.
But <sighs> here we go again.
This time, it’s what absolutely nobody at all is referring to: ‘PPI 2: The Mis-Sellers Strike Back’.
Tens of thousands of small businesses have been flogged complex and misleading interest rate swap deals by some of Britain’s biggest banks since 2001, products that were meant to offer "interest rate hedging” to protect businesses against the effect of interest rate rises.
But this meant that those businesses did not benefit from interest rate falls and, in many cases, suffered increases in interest payments as rates fell through the floor, with the only way out of the deals being to pay heavy 'breakage fees'.
Subsequently, the banks who've been found to be implicated - RBS, Lloyds TSB, HSBC and Barclays, who all have 'form' for this sort of thing - will have to cough up compo to the tune of billions.
“Jolly good,” you might think. “Those rotters are getting what they deserve.”
Well, not necessarily. The banks will likely pay for all this with ever-more exorbitant fees and piffling interest rates on savings.
Mind you, if there’s a silver lining to be gleaned from all this unpleasantness, it’s that it might well end up creating a shed-load of jobs – as PPI did.
If you’re not feeling suitably galled by all of this, how about this zinger – bailed-out banks Lloyds TSB and RBS will have to start jangling their metal begging cups around with forlorn looks on their faces and seek an extra £10bn if they are to see out the economic crisis, according to a top city analyst.
“If regulations become more onerous on capital ratios, Lloyds may need as much as £10bn — but it’s more likely to be £5bn. RBS as well may need as much as £5bn,” Shailesh Raikundlia told a tabloid paper earlier this week.
Well, if you’ve had it up to here with your bank and its nefarious ways, you could always send a message to them by switching current accounts. As Maxi Jazz and his merry band Faithless opined in 2004, “Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction.”
SHORT CHANGE – MONEY NEWS IN BRIEF
Loads of self-employed people have been furiously filling in their tax returns in time for the 31 January deadline.
The Twitter account of stricken high street retailer HMV has been hijacked by disgruntled former staff.
Npower has had a moan that the 7% charges under the new Green Deal energy efficiency scheme are too high. Frankly, Npower harping about something being too expensive is a bit like a cast member of Towie sounding off about something being too orange.
Car insurance prices have dropped to their lowest levels since October 2011, according to the AA Insurance Premium Index.
The lack of first-time buyers is causing a bit of concern, according to Nationwide. You'd think, then, that they'd start dishing out first-time buyer mortgages a bit more readily.
ON COVERED MAG THIS WEEK
Here's an item on the OFT’s rather surprising ruling on the petrol and diesel trade.
There was a bit on tax returns too.
A Spice Girls fan has been evicted from his home after constantly playing the 1990s pop troupe’s number one hit ‘Viva Forever’ at high volumes.
Nottingham's Gavin Townroe received a string of complaints last year, and was given an Asbo after a neighbour was signed off work due to an inability to sleep.
A neighbour told the Daily Mail: “Sometimes it would happen at seven or eight o'clock – I don't mind the Spice Girls but not at that time in the morning."
Here's the Spice Girls themselves – Sporty, Ginger, Scary, Baby and Posh - with that very hit, to play us out.