I just cannot believe what I am seeing on the news. The queues at Northern Rock Banks of hundreds of people patiently waiting to get access to their money. The whole tribe of leaders, bankers, experts, politicians wheeled out to tell us all that our money is SAFE in Northern Rock. No problems. Don't panic. The website is running as normal - it 'maybe a bit slow' as so many people are trying to get online to transfer their money out. Does anyone know of anyone who has managed to log on to even look at their balance? You can't even get online to open an account - if you should wish to do so - if you wanted to show your faith in the bank.
I am so sorry for all the staff at Northern Rock. From staff at HQ, to the IT Dept, and all the counter staff. I expect they are getting a lot of flack and aggro from anxious savers. At the same time they will be worried about their own jobs. The standard of staff and paperwork at Northern Rock has been exemplary. Far superior to any other bank I've had dealings with. That's why it is such a sad ending to a fine institution. It's the bosses who are to blame - and the shareholders along with the FSA and Govt.
Now I'm a saver and so is my husband. We can't afford to lose money. But as our accounts are postal and have penalties attached for cashing in early - then there is no easy access to our money however much I would like to panic and take it out. Unless the bank and its obligations are taken over we are likely to lose some of our savings. The FSCS scheme only pays 100% on the first £2k and then drops to 90% for the subsequent amount to a maximum of £33k. This sum was set up with the scheme a few years ago. I don't know whether it will ever be reviewed. Some people have had far more than £35k invested - perhaps they weren't told of the maximum re the FSCScheme as a last resort if a bank fails - perhaps banks should be required to do so in future.
Now - I also have a smallish sum - my ready cash savings in the Silver Saver On-line. There is no way I can access that at the moment. I did try at 3.30 a.m. But I am reluctant to anyway because what would happen if I arranged a BACS transfer and while my money was out there in that mysterious world of the etherbank - that strange place where I get no interest on it - while it has left one bank and takes 3-4 days to arrive at the destination bank - what would happen if the Northen Rock bank suddenly ceased trading? Would I be covered then by the FSCS scheme? Or if the NR Bank sent my money to me as a cheue through the post. My money in a cheque. But before it was paid in and cleared as cash in my current account - would I be then be an unfortuante creditor only or would I still be covered under the FSCS scheme?
Knowing how this Govt. has refused to help out pensioners with collapsed pension schemes and the Equitable Life customers; also the FSA seems very toothless when dealing with this - then are any of these schemes worth the paper they are written on? At our age we can't afford to wait xx years to find out if we will get compensation should a bank collapse and cease trading.
This latest panic on the high street just shows how none of us trust our leaders when they tell us we have nothing to worry about. They have squandered our trust over the last 10 years and are now being hoist by the petards [whatever they are!]. I hope it's painful for them all.
18/09/07 - Well said Libby Purvis : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/libby_purves/article2477756.ece