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25Feb/1511

Bank Adverts: The Biggest Lies Told On Television

Banks do not care about you. They don't care about your hopes and dreams, nor do they care about your inability to pay the mortgage or your anger over the latest unfair charge they've levied on you. Banks only care about your money; making more of it is their only metric. None of them: not NatWest, Barclays, HSBC, Santander, nor Lloyds. Banks do not give a fuck about you.

I'm wary of falling into the trap of dismissing hundreds of thousands of people who might work for banks with one fell swoop. No doubt many of them are good, honest, honourable people. But frankly many are demonstrably not good, nor honourable, nor honest. The system in which they work has been perverted to reward bad behaviour and see customers simply in terms of their collateral. Politicians, business, media and even our own sense of what material possessions we think we should have are to blame for this. None of us are innocent but the sheer hypocrisy of the public face of the sector is, however, demonstrated through bank adverts.

Oh, look, it's that Pink Ladies advert by HSBC, wanking on about how they're the world's local bank and aligning themselves with dreams coming true. HSBC, who has been using a subsidiary to help clients (including its own boss) conceal undeclared Swiss bank accounts – and therefore evade or avoid tax – and provided services to criminals and corrupt businessmen.

HSBC, helping very rich people dodge the tax that pays for hospitals, nurseries, libraries and police. Good old HSBC. The world's local bank. The bank that has the gall to say 'together, we advance'. Obviously some advance more equally than others in their worldview.

Oh, hello Barclays - LOOK AT THE HAMSTERS! Barclays, fined hundreds of millions of pounds for rigging the Libor rate, which determined interest rates for you and I, governments and businesses and potentially ruining them. 'You-shaped banking'. Fuck-you-shaped banking.

Ah, RBS – owners of NatWest – who hand out multi-million quid allowances to top bankers in an effort to dodge bonus caps and sack hundreds of British workers in preference for Indian call-centre staff. And let's not forget Forex, the rigging of foreign exchange rates to personal advantage. 'Helpful banking'.

Santander. 'Simple, Personal, Fair'. Santander, which set aside the best part of a billion quid to pay for a PPI mis-selling scandal. No doubt, if you're on the receiving end it does feel rather personal. Of course, Santander also used to go under the strapline "Together. We are Santander". Add a parenthetical "And You're Not" onto the end of it and it sounds rather more true to life.

Lloyds: take your pick. Libor, junk-product misselling, PPI. "Moments matter," they say. Homes, pets, your time. And those moments where staff were 'lavished with bonuses and champagne for selling baffling products called ‘interest rate swaps’ to small firms alongside loans' that threatened their livelihoods'.

My point is not that these specific banks must be destroyed, but that this is one case when you hate the player every bit as much as you hate the game. Banks are not simply faceless edifices nor cackling, baby-eating lunatics, any more than they are the friendly 'we-just-want-to-help' organisations they portray themselves as. But there are individuals and small groups of incredibly rich people at all of these banks who chose to make themselves richer at the expense of 'ordinary' people - either by directly ripping them off, tampering with interest rates to their own benefit, and the potential cost of others, or by attempting to cheat countries out of tax legally owed by incredibly rich people. However you want to portray that, it's utterly filthy, corrupt and immoral behaviour.

These are not rogue traders: It's endemic - the result of people who feel they are untouchable and have a right to do whatever they want, egged on by a ideology-driven government that wants to protect their right to makes as much money as possible and seems indifferent to whether this is done legally or not. Why else would HMRC refuse to prosecute HSBC clients for tax evasion or avoidance when it knew of over 1,100 and prosecuted just one? Why not employ more people to chase tax evaders, why not take a harder line with tax evaders, why not bring the weight of government to bear on people behaving illegally to the enormous detriment of the nation and its people?

Every time you see one of these adverts – where they pretend they give a toss about you; pretend they're just the friendly neighbourhood bank teaching you how to answer emails and letting your Granny cash her pension – remind yourself of these facts.

They nearly destroyed the country. With their greed and arrogance and blindness they nearly bankrupted the entire country. And, faced with no alternative, we bailed them out, whereupon they tried to fuck us and our country again and again in their efforts to make themselves and obscenely rich people even richer. At my expense, at your expense.

Banks don't hate you, you don't matter enough. Their attitude to you is halfway between indifference and contempt. NatWest had the balls to make this explicit recently in their advert about teaser-rate credit cards where they acknowledge that banks try to screw you over with dodgy fees hidden behind insincere smiles and small print. But already, just a few years on from nearly wrecking the whole system in their blind greed, banks are making noises about how we shouldn't criticise them, lest we endanger their business, even as massive fraud after massive fraud comes to light. And we seem to be prepared to shrug our shoulders and let them off the hook - perhaps we feel that we don't have any meaningful power.

It's insane. But the system we live in is insane. Move your bank account, write to your MP, sign a petition, open your window and scream "I'm as mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore," if it makes you feel better. But take heed. Bank adverts are the biggest lies told on television - that lie is that they view you as anything other than a means of making money - and their behaviour condemns them by demonstrating that neither law nor morality stands in their way.

Natwest teaser-rate advert

Know thine enemy.




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  • getagrip

    the biggest skam in history was needing a bankaccount to get payed THE BANK GETS YOUR WAGES MIND BOGGLING

  • getagrip

    sandtander adds are trully soullless and satanic meaningless sport celebs 99% of people could care less about put on tv to promote BANKING what a load of crap..sandtander are the new king of soullless banking and pretending to be there for you SO F&^KING FAKE..

    its like satanism tv along with the gambling adds…

    iv been beating the system all my life NO SUCH THING AS DEBT,no such thing as council tax or tv licence

    i have no part in it whats so ever,my brother a cashin hand eaner has 200k in a hide away place and has never in his life had a bank account

  • What about Metro Bank? Are they as evil as the rest. They are new. With no history of ripping us all off? They put customers first and have clear policies with UK phone agents.

  • What about Metro Bank? Are they as evil as the rest. They are new. With no history of ripping us all off? They put customers first and have clear policies with UK phone agents.

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  • Paul LJ Catlow

    so if the Chinese girl in the HSBC advert makes it with a fashion chain – not funded by the bank, but by co-operative donations by her hairdressing customers – then HSBC will be pleased and delighted to help her fiddle her tax
    !

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  • Rory

    100% agreed

  • Rory

    100% agreed

  • Kymera

    As a species we give our loyalty far too easily. We desperately need to feel part of a group. To feel needed. To feel included. You see it everyday with people taking ‘sides’ about things that don’t have a ‘side’. Look at internet reactions to movie franchises such as the Marvel and Dc/Warner super-hero franchises. People taking a ‘side’ and defending those multi-billion dollar businesses to apoplexy!

    The thing is, none of the things/businesses/etc that people side with actually give a flying fuck whether you are on their side or not. They just want your money. That’s it. They don’t care if you also give money to ‘the other side’ (as long as their ‘side’ gets more).

    We give our loyalty to banks, supermarkets, sports teams, countries, tv shows, movies, our bosses, coffee shops, etc, etc, etc, and none of them, not a single one, care one tiny bit of crap about us. They only care about how much money they can get from us. Every so often, we’ll realise this and we’ll do something to change the situation but that usually entails swapping one fake loyalty for another.

    When you think about it, it’s just an incredibly sad way to live our lives. And the saddest part? Even though I understand all this, I still find myself giving my loyalty to people and things that don’t deserve it. 🙁

  • Kymera

    As a species we give our loyalty far too easily. We desperately need to feel part of a group. To feel needed. To feel included. You see it everyday with people taking ‘sides’ about things that don’t have a ‘side’. Look at internet reactions to movie franchises such as the Marvel and Dc/Warner super-hero franchises. People taking a ‘side’ and defending those multi-billion dollar businesses to apoplexy!

    The thing is, none of the things/businesses/etc that people side with actually give a flying fuck whether you are on their side or not. They just want your money. That’s it. They don’t care if you also give money to ‘the other side’ (as long as their ‘side’ gets more).

    We give our loyalty to banks, supermarkets, sports teams, countries, tv shows, movies, our bosses, coffee shops, etc, etc, etc, and none of them, not a single one, care one tiny bit of crap about us. They only care about how much money they can get from us. Every so often, we’ll realise this and we’ll do something to change the situation but that usually entails swapping one fake loyalty for another.

    When you think about it, it’s just an incredibly sad way to live our lives. And the saddest part? Even though I understand all this, I still find myself giving my loyalty to people and things that don’t deserve it. 🙁

  • Kenlin Bros

    Cunts, the lot of them.

  • Kenlin Bros

    Cunts, the lot of them.

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