Increase Month

Obviously, November is “Notification of increases” month. A kind of Christmas gift, letting you know that “if you struggled in 2019, get ready baby, we are increasing our fees in 2020 even though most of you won’t be getting a raise!”

2 SMS’s

Over the last couple of weeks, I have received 2 SMS’s from the 2 banks I do business with. This year these messages got me thinking more than usual. Do I just “suck it up” and accept these increases? Or do I investigate some of the detail? I feel like these messages are snuck in, and we read them “on-the-go”.

The Small Print

So, this year I decided to check the “small print”. And, as the saying goes, “the devil is in the detail”. And indeed, it is.

Banking People

Before I share the devil… I mean the detail, let me make something very clear. Both personally and professionally I have dealt mainly with two South African banks; Nedbank and ABSA bank. Without exception, the actual people from both banks that I have dealt with have been professional, helpful and well-trained people. Sadly, often they are hamstrung by the bureaucracy of their own institutions.

A Summary

Here is a summary of what affects me in my day to day banking.

I am on the plan Nedbank call “The Savvy Plus” account. And I have an overdraft facility. Here are some of the monthly increases:

Type 2019 2020 % increase
Savvy Current account cost R110.00 115.00 4,5%
Overdraft facility per month R43.00 R49.00 14%
Check deposit R45.00 R65.00 44%

Are These Capital Costs?

I may not be correct, but I can’t see how these increases incur capital costs or need extra staff. I would guess, to make an increase on a fee would simply be an adjustment to a computer formula.

Click here for a more detailed explanation of my brief research.

Not A Rant..but…

The purpose of this blog is not a rant. I am however, unconvinced these increases are nothing more than, “this is what we do every year!” And although I believe businesses should make profits, if the past 10 years have shown us anything, it is the unchecked greed of banks.

My Response

As someone seeking to follow Jesus in all aspects of my life, how do I respond to these increases?

I have two main thoughts on how, as someone seeking to live out my faith can respond;

Firstly,

I am so grateful that I am in a position to need a bank. I earn a salary, and I have investments. Too many South Africans don’t have this privilege.

I am also grateful that South African banks are well regulated and were not victims in the 2008 “financial crises”. (Financial crises is the sanitised way of saying, “unchecked, rampant greed of major financial institutions” – this can lead me to a rant.)

From a place of gratitude, I must still raise an objection to these annual increases and the impact they have on the middle-class income earners who bear the brunt of both consumer increases and Income Tax!

Secondly,

Living with a “generative world view”.

Alarmist rhetoric thrives on fear created by proclaiming there is “not enough”. Capitalism needs to have people scared so that they can buy more stuff in the hope that they will keep disaster at bay.

I have been amazed as I have travelled in many poor countries how so many poor people (who) don’t just eke out a living but have a “satisfaction that exceeds their provision”.

While, I have so often been disgruntled, wishing I had more, when I already have so much.

Poverty Is A Real Thing Alright

Yes, poverty and lack are very real for many, if not most people. But a view of being generative, being creative and hopeful are attitudes of the heart and mind which no fee increase can steal.

I Believe…

I believe, that for me, I need to allow God’s generative nature to move in me, so that, as the apostle says:

Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Phil 4:11-13

Finally;

I will seek to raise an objection to what I would consider injustice, with grace, and live with a generative heart, a creative spirit and, a hope, that I believe comes through faith in Jesus.

Click here for a more detailed explanation of my brief research.

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