Friday, January 26, 2007

Results for People

Hey Jack,

Love your plan to end ATM fees. Those are such a pain in the ass to pay. While you're at it, I've noticed the U of A library charges a dollar a day per book for late fees which is really a drag to pay. I mean, how am I supposed to keep track of when my books are due? If you ask me, that's a rate of payment which is very, very high — and unfair. If you could order them to end this gouging and cut their late fees to ten cents a day, I think a lot of people would really appreciate it (and it could win you Edmonton Strathcona!!!).

Also, those new video iPods are pretty pricey too. Any chance you could force stores to all take $20 off the sticker price for them? That's be a big help.

Thanks Jack - keep up the good work!

66 Comments:

  • hahaha....

    don't forget, my Liberal membership fee is really high at 16$. Any chance of passing some law to bring it down to 1$ as it was before?

    thanx jack.

    By Blogger mezba, at 12:54 AM  

  • hahaha....

    don't forget, my Liberal membership fee is really high at 16$. Any chance of passing some law to bring it down to 1$ as it was before?

    thanx jack.

    By Blogger mezba, at 12:55 AM  

  • hahaha....

    don't forget, my Liberal membership fee is really high at 16$. Any chance of passing some law to bring it down to 1$ as it was before?

    thanx jack.

    By Blogger mezba, at 12:57 AM  

  • hahaha....

    don't forget, my Liberal membership fee is really high at 16$. Any chance of passing some law to bring it down to 1$ as it was before?

    thanx jack.

    By Blogger mezba, at 12:59 AM  

  • It's "gouging", ding dong. If you're going to rip on Layton - a completely worthwhile exercise, in my opinion - at least make sure you don't make any glaringly obvious spelling mistakes. That's positively Cherniak-esque.

    By Blogger The Dilettante, at 2:40 AM  

  • Well, at least you did not go as far as John Mulroney and claim that such a plan
    was “unrealistic”. I still do not know what he means. All I know is that a number of European countries have done this and the banking systems these countries have not collapsed. Tell me Grit just what down side to doing this? The Banks make 18 billion and not 19? They can go suck an egg. The problem with Layton’s suggestion is that it does not go far enough. The banks, for one thing, should be paying a windfall profit tax and there should be caps on all sorts of fees. Changing subjects, with the amount of money I paid in library fees at UBC and SFU I might have just as well have set up a scholarship fund. The fees were excessive. However, it sure gave me an incentive to return the books so that other students could make use of them.

    By Blogger Koby, at 3:24 AM  

  • Well it's an interesting development when you consider the NDP has the Green Party nipping at it's heels in the polls and the NDP's long held position as the only party that "cares" about the environment has been overshadowed by a green Liberal leader , a new environment minister and new Tory "green initiatives" being announced all over the place. One has to almost feel sorry for Jack Layton because aside from his struggles with "word salad" of late, the one issue that used to be the NDP's calling card which is now the number one issue in Canada according to polls, has been embraced by the two parties that can actually form a government. While Layton makes some good points regarding ATM fees, the timing of the announcement leads me to wonder if Jack is on his last legs as he flails about trying to make the NDP somehow relevent to Canadians. It's been a tough year and a half for Layton. The spat with Buzz Hargrove, open criticism of the NDP by those in the labour movement, the one issue that used to be an NDP strength is now effectively owned by Stephane Dion and finally, possibly having to prop up the Devil incarnate, Stephen Harper at budget time. Sucks to be you Jack, sucks to be you.

    By Blogger Left Right and Center, at 5:03 AM  

  • Actually it looks like Flaherty has embraced the notion of calling the banks of ATM fees. Here's the article from the National Post. Interesting comment from someone with a big brain from the U of T with likely no background in the banking industry:

    "I suspect the banks would have some tools at their disposal to fight that," said Nelson Wiseman of the University of Toronto. "What if the banks rolled up their ATMs? There would be a revolt."

    Yeah, sure the banks are going to close down their ATM's if Canadians had fee free ATM banking. Somehow I suspect that it still costs less to run a crap pile of ATM's as opposed to opening new branches and hiring staff.

    By Blogger Left Right and Center, at 7:42 AM  

  • You don't sound very intelligent when you compare a fine for returning a library book after its due date and a user fee for accessing your own money.

    By Blogger Sir Humphrey, at 9:21 AM  

  • I don't use ATMs, I don't even have an access card. From what I understand, you only pay a fee to use another bank's ATM, which seems fair to me.

    Left Right and Centre has smart things to say here - I would add, though, that Jack Layton just isn't much of a leader, and I'd say he is the author of his own misfortune. If 1980s-era Ed Broadbent was running the show, he would have stood equal chance of forming a minority government as Harper did last year. Can you imagine Ed Broadbent greeting the President of, say, China? I can. Jack Layton? Yeah, right. He should have retired a long time ago - it became very obvious very quickly that he doesn't have what it takes.

    If I were a hardcore NDPer, I'd be very worried. Elizabeth May is a spotlight stealer, and she's growing successful at making the Greens more than a one-issue party. When she leaves, Chernushenko will be well poised to take over a much bigger party - and if not him, then there will be others flocking. Who is going to replace Jack? Seriously - Wascylia-Leis? Chow? At the moment, I just don't see anyone steadfast and deep-thinking enough to inspire voters. There could be a Trudeau or Manning out there waiting to join, but I'd say the current, right-now outlook for the NDP is gloomy.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:23 AM  

  • Banks are just going to charge more somewhere else - and why should all users cough up to pay for ATM users? Oh right, I'm arguing against Marxists on this one...

    Is there a fee if you use your own bank's ATM? (My guess is no, because people always stop me in the street looking for a TD/RBC/BMO ATM.)

    If you really don't like fees, go with President's Choice. The banks will get the message. Credit Unions like Richmond Savings in BC don't have these fees, or do they???

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:27 AM  

  • It's just a typical NDP ploy to get their voter to become codependent on them. Within reason, you need to pay for what you use...for example, I will go out of my way to find an RBC machine, or make sure that I have sufficient cash if I'm not going back into the downtown...it's as simple as that. I was listening to Judy W-L yesterday afternoon on the radio, and there are some merits to this proposal, but not nearly enough.

    By Blogger Mademoiselle Becky, at 9:43 AM  

  • jason bo - I couldn't agree more. Jack is a miserable failure for the NDP, he has cost them their rural base - the only way they survive as an entity between bad elections - and if you look at the historical trends the 2004 and 2006 elections were dreams for the NDP, yet under Layton they only posted mid-level results.

    Here is my post about it.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 10:33 AM  

  • I look forward to the day where this kind of triviality really is our biggest problem and therefore really is the best use of our taxpayer-funded time and efforts.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:41 AM  

  • Government has no right to legislate user fees. If you don't like your fees, take them to ING, President's Choice, Canadian Tire, etc....They don't charge fees either!
    You are bang on this one CG. Smiling Jack hopes to buy political points with other peoples money...wait a minute...isn't that what socialism all about?

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 10:46 AM  

  • ATM fees comprise a tiny portion of banks' profits. They charge fees on a point of principle, not hunger for profit. Flaherty's point is that we have an artifical market given government regulation of banking (restricting entrants) and if banks aren't competing in a way that benefits the consumer, government is entitled to correct that little bit of market failure.

    By Blogger matt, at 10:46 AM  

  • NBPolitico,

    I can't believe what I'm reading at your linked post - I completely agree, Lorne Nystrom was the way to go.

    I thought of saying so up above, but didn't want to go off on a tangent, that the last best hope for the NDP may have been Lorne Nystrom. I think they may have missed the boat.

    I'm amazed to find someone who feels this way, I thought I was alone.

    When Nystrom made his speech and said, "We have to seriously ask, Why do people not trust us? We represent the views of most Canadians, yet most will not vote for us - why? It's because they do not trust us with money/finances," I said, "Whoa, this is the guy they need."

    Shame. It's useful to have the NDP, but I really am not convinced they're long for this world.

    But, if we get a Green Party out of it, then it will be just as useful. Same difference, I guess.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 10:58 AM  

  • Uh Dan,

    Other countries have laws similar to what Layton is proposing - and their ATM fees are much, much lower than ours. Why do Canadians need to be chumps to the banks?

    ATMs save banks money. When they came on the scene, banks were able to shed staff and close branches.

    I'm not saying we have to go back to the day when we all went to the teller every time we needed some cash, but let's face it - we don't need to pay for the privilage of not having human contact.

    Banks make money from investing our money. But it's our money, not theirs, and we shouldn't be gouged for the privilage of accessing it.

    Weather you ban the fees, or reduce them to 25-50 cents/transaction - Layton is on the right track.

    By Blogger Pink, at 11:31 AM  

  • If you want to get a sound understanding of the NDP's base (I mean, if you absolutely have less than nothing to do and precisely no life at all) I recommend checking out the forums at rabble.ca I mean, if you really have no life - not that I don't mind you

    There you will be thrilled to read threads on everything from:

    -Why aren't workers fighting to get into unions
    -Is Harper an eco-terrorist

    And much more!

    The left languishes in a world where the mainstream is seen as "all together evil" and where even the most left-leaning Liberal is spawn of the Anti-Christ.

    One hopes they fade further into oblivion because they haven't been a contender since Ed Broadbent was the leader. Since then, the party has become home to crackpots and conspiracy theorists.

    By Blogger Left Right and Center, at 11:35 AM  

  • LR&C,

    I've never been to rabble, but I used to live with a roommate who talked about it all the time. More than enough info for me!

    Although the authors are pompous jackasses, I'd recommend The Rebel Sell as a decent read to anyone about how so many of the Left left reality and wandered into crackpot land, unable to attract mainstream votes any longer.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 11:47 AM  

  • Had to add my two cents here.

    There are 3 types of ATMs you can get money from.

    1. Your bank - usually no fee.
    2. Another major bank - fee. The reason for this is that your bank will be charged by the ATM's bank. Banks are reluctant to give a free ride to competitors. The fee is probably padded by your bank, so it could be argued that it is too high.
    3. An ATM company - high fee. Many of the machines that you find in very convenient locations belong to companies that get all their income from the fees that are charged. They often have to pay the owner of the premises to keep the ATM there, and get no interest from the cash that is stored in them.

    If you think that the fee you are asked to pay is too high, find an ATM belonging to your own bank.

    By Blogger oyvindb, at 11:58 AM  

  • I'm not saying we have to go back to the day when we all went to the teller every time we needed some cash, but let's face it - we don't need to pay for the privilage of not having human contact.

    Especially when, at this point, banks charge you if you go to a teller instead an ATM.

    If you think that the fee you are asked to pay is too high, find an ATM belonging to your own bank.

    And what if there are no branches around? There are two banks in my town, Royal and BMO, and both charge monthly fees for the privilege of holding onto my money. Now, BMO waives the fee if you keep a certain balance in your account, but Royal doesn't, however I maintain accounts at both since there are more Royal machines around.

    Yet, even though I try to avoid third-party machines or ATMs of other banks, I'm still being charged $5/month at Royal for, well, nothing. These fees must end. Period. Banks should not be allowed to extract money from people who are simply keeping their money in their account and accessing it now and then, unless, that is, they are paying interest greater than the total fees.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 12:11 PM  

  • Actually, ATM fee's are a pure gravy train for the banks, and they make serious, as in tens of millions of dollars, off them.

    I personally don't care, as I consider my decision to pay or not.

    That said, you pay a monthly fee for banking, and it doesn't matter whose card you use, if you use that card at a competitors location, you pay an ATM fee.

    Presidents Choice, Canadian Tire etc... are all CIBC reseller programs, so if you take that card to CIBC your fine, any other bank, you pay.

    The cost of an ATM is roughly $15K to $35k, depending on the model. It has more than paid for itself within 3 months of usage for a large bank.

    Do you pay a fee every month for you banking? Why should you have to pay more?

    It's true, ATM fee usage is strickly a North American thing. You won't find it in Europe, or Asia.

    By Blogger WC Macdonell, at 12:17 PM  

  • I tend to agree with oyvindb on this. I don't see anything wrong with banks charging you if you belong to another bank to access your money - it's their competition after all. And the private ATM machines get their profit from that.

    If the issue is bank competitiveness then look at ways to address it. Not to sound too right wing, but micro-managing how a company should run their business isn't the job of government. Should we also regulate that banks need to offer more evening hours at their branches?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:27 PM  

  • Oh, and to clarify, I don't really have a strong preference on this one way or the other. I think it's a bit silly to force a private business to offer a service for free, hence the silly response. Someone on the Globe & Mail discusion said this would be like ordering pizza companies to adopt a "30 minutes or it's free" policy.

    But if Parliament want to do this, it really wouldn't bug me a whole lot. Like I said, it just seems a bit silly.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:44 PM  

  • I think rather than elimination, since it is a service, a cap would be better. In the states you can get laced as much as $3.75 for a withdrawal... that's pretty steep, and I've seen it as high as $2.85 in Canada.

    I remember when it was .50 cents, and then $1.00, and now averages a $1.50... you can bet it will only go up.

    A cap of $1.50 or let foriegn banks in to increase competition seems reasonable. The banks make boatloads of dough.

    We have no problem sharping the knives on profit rich oil firms for the sake of the environment, why should we be any less timid on the profit of the banks?

    By Blogger WC Macdonell, at 2:48 PM  

  • Josh said:

    "I'm still being charged $5/month at Royal for, well, nothing. These fees must end."

    So Josh, if they're charging you for nothing, I have to ask... why do you have an account? Many in this thread have complained that banks charge them "too much" to access their own money. Again, a simple solution is, keep your money yourself.

    Ah, but then you won't be able to write cheques, or access your money whenever and wherever you need it, and someone might break into your place, look under the mattress and steal your life's savings.

    So now you have to reassess whether you're really getting "nothing" for your monthly fee, and how much is "too much". My suggestion is: if it's too much, take your money out of the bank; if it's not too much, stop whining.

    The one argument I have a bit of sympathy with is the market failure one, i.e., competition in banking is not what it should be, and this allows them to set fees at their leisure. But several posts above suggest that in most areas of the country there are credit unions and other institutions that are much lighter on fees, so I'm not sure how valid this is, either. And I'm not sure how much more concentrated the banking industry is than other industries.

    By Blogger Dale, at 3:06 PM  

  • Perhaps individual accounts should be abolished and people should be able to withdraw from ATM's even if they have no money.

    The source of these funds could be the huge salaries and bonuses of bank and other corporate executives whose compensation packages tend to be astronomical and who probably wouldn't miss the money anyway.

    It would be a quick end to problems with poverty and affordable housing. Food banks wouldn't be needed nor would all those expensive social welfare programs.

    We could close whole government departments and lower taxes for everyone.

    There would be a ripple effect through the economy.

    The synergies achieved through a multitude of positive multipliers would generate even more wealth.

    We could then fund the arts properly, settle all outstanding treaty obligations with the aboriginal people and pour money into research to address climate change issues.

    Where do I sign up ?

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 3:23 PM  

  • Josh, you're a lazy bum (and a fool to bank at Royal). Collapse your accounts into one at the BMO and maintain a minimum balance and presto - no more fees. If you can't maintain that balance, you're still only paying one fee instead of two.

    Enough griping about your "little town" - I come from a town of 200 that has one bank, and one ATM, right outside the bank. Just manage your money with some common sense and you won't have to pay any ATM fees. It's almost like magic, except anyone can do it.

    The government's job isn't to take care of trifling little details that a grown adult can take care of himself - stop wasting Parliament's time, and take some freaking responsibility for your own self.

    I'm with Joe Calgary, if anything go with a cap.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 3:44 PM  

  • I think it's a bit silly to force a private business to offer a service for free, hence the silly response.

    Who said anything about a free service? Banks make money by lending our money out at interest. They should not be able to charge us to use our own money to make a profit on the interest!

    So Josh, if they're charging you for nothing, I have to ask... why do you have an account? Many in this thread have complained that banks charge them "too much" to access their own money. Again, a simple solution is, keep your money yourself.

    Ding ding! I have an account at BMO too, where I get charged nothing, however they have few ATMs around. Ergo, if I'm almost anywhere but near my branch, I'd have to pay a fee to get cash when needed, so I keep the Royal account because it is just cost-effective to have access to another bank's more numerous ATMs for free. Of course, it isn't "free" - they're charging me $5 a month purely for the privilege of holding on to my money. If I went without the monthly fee, I would actually have to pay out of pocket for ANY transaction! (and we already have to pay for cheques) Of course, as a result, my savings shrink unless I make regular deposits since the interest they pay is insignificant.

    Ah, but then you won't be able to write cheques, or access your money whenever and wherever you need it, and someone might break into your place, look under the mattress and steal your life's savings.

    We still have to buy cheques, you know - they're not even included in the monthly fee.

    So now you have to reassess whether you're really getting "nothing" for your monthly fee, and how much is "too much". My suggestion is: if it's too much, take your money out of the bank; if it's not too much, stop whining.

    I am getting nothing that can be reasonably construed as an undue expense from the bank.

    Should we also regulate that banks need to offer more evening hours at their branches?

    Absolutely. These are institutions that charge if you want to see a human being instead of an ATM, remember. And, in any case, banks are not businesses like any other, and a stable banking system is an absolute necessity, and Canada's has been structured to be one of the world's safest, stablest, and most efficient. But protection for individual account-holders has been increasingly lacking, and it's high time something was done about it.

    Answer this: For decades the banks operated successfully with tellers and no fees for going to see one. Would you like to demonstrate that getting rid of tellers, charging to see the remaining ones, and spending some initial capital investment on the ATM system necessitates high banking fees in perpetuity? As others have mentioned, they've eliminated or reduced them in Europe - why not here?

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 3:47 PM  

  • Josh, you're a lazy bum (and a fool to bank at Royal). Collapse your accounts into one at the BMO and maintain a minimum balance and presto - no more fees. If you can't maintain that balance, you're still only paying one fee instead of two.

    I don't pay any monthly fees at BMO, thanks.

    Enough griping about your "little town" - I come from a town of 200 that has one bank, and one ATM, right outside the bank. Just manage your money with some common sense and you won't have to pay any ATM fees. It's almost like magic, except anyone can do it.

    And wouldn't ya know it, I'm not always in town. Sometimes I'm (gasp!) in Halifax or Toronto or Ottawa and I'm not keen on searching around for the right bank, and as I explained above, that's why I keep the Royal account. For now.

    The government's job isn't to take care of trifling little details that a grown adult can take care of himself - stop wasting Parliament's time, and take some freaking responsibility for your own self.

    I'm with Joe Calgary, if anything go with a cap.


    Chartered banks should not be charging each other - or you - for withdrawing from another bank's machine. They manage to provide many other transactions for free - cheques, physically withdrawing and depositing to another account, making online transactions. This practice should end. As for third-party machines, fine, that's how they make their money, and I try not to use them anyway.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 3:56 PM  

  • Mr. Gould, you miss the point. The only way to improve value for money is by allowing more competitors into the marketplace.
    DEREGULATION NOT REGULATION. That is how you get more choice.
    If you choose to pay $5 for the convenience of more machines then I don't feel sorry for you. There are lots of choices out there for folks who do not want to pay fees...(ING, Prez Choice, CanTire, keep a minimum balance) etc...
    The notion that banks make money off of us is true, however, if you are emptying your bank account before every payday doing 50 transactions a week, explain to me how the bank is making money off of you?

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 4:14 PM  

  • Mr. Gould, you miss the point. The only way to improve value for money is by allowing more competitors into the marketplace.
    DEREGULATION NOT REGULATION. That is how you get more choice.


    So HSBC is going to set up shop in a rural Nova Scotia town? Get real. There are already lots of credit unions and foreign-owned banks around, but they are hardly evenly distributed much less available to many people. And that doesn't change the ATM issue.

    In any case, "deregulation" sounds like a nice rallying cry, but that's pretty nonspecific. We have banking regulation because a sound monetary system is an absolute necessity and not something we should sacrifice.

    If you choose to pay $5 for the convenience of more machines then I don't feel sorry for you. There are lots of choices out there for folks who do not want to pay fees...(ING, Prez Choice, CanTire, keep a minimum balance) etc...

    1) ING has no ATMs. Same problem.
    2) There is no Loblaws/Superstore close enough, and, in any case, the ATM problem still applies.

    The notion that banks make money off of us is true, however, if you are emptying your bank account before every payday doing 50 transactions a week, explain to me how the bank is making money off of you?

    Probably because I don't do that. And, anyway, that's why we have maximum daily/monthly withdrawls, charges for overdrafts, fees for bad cheques, and limits on the number of transactions.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 5:39 PM  

  • Our banks are a government supported oligopoly (maintained by barriers to entry, such as the fact that there are things you need to get in order to be a chartered bank). I think it is hypocritical for them to cry bloody murder over the elimination of a source of revenue (from a service that costs them nothing to do) when the entire reason they are so profitable in the first place is government.

    This is not necessarily a trivial sum of money either. If you live in a small town and have to take out money every day from some other bank, $1.50 times 365 days adds up.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 5:52 PM  

  • Josh: You didn't answer my other suggestion: don't put your money in the bank. You're paying a fee, unsatisfied with the service, and getting "insignificant" interest. So... put your money under your mattress.

    hosertohoosier: Taking out money once a day? Yikes. Here's a suggestion: take out twice as much money, every second day. Or better still, three times as much, every three days, or... you get the picture. I suppose there are a few people who spend huge wads of cash every day and for security reasons don't want to carry a week's supply around with them, but I'd think that most of us can get by with slightly less frequent withdrawls. I find that the combination of a little cash in my wallet and a *free* (hurrah!) credit card make everyday life pretty manageable.

    By Blogger Dale, at 7:32 PM  

  • the cost of the transaction is no where near the price being charged.

    it is absolutely an appaling rip off. And while a sympathize with JBG in terms of us being smart with using banks - its still a bloody rip off.

    banks should be able to merge and let some foreign banks play a bigger role in the market. it would be in customers' power to eliminate these fees under that circumstance.

    but now, its too much oligopoly.

    And don't cry for the banks: when Rockerfeller's monopoly was busted up, the seven companies that resulted were worth more than the single entity in no time.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 8:01 PM  

  • CG- You forgot fees for using parking garages and cover charges for bars. :)

    By Blogger BC Tory, at 8:28 PM  

  • BMO has no fees? Perfect - use them. We don't pay MPs to worry about this kind of triviality.

    The fees add up if you withdraw money each day??? Are you kidding?? Withdraw once a week - or better yet, once a month.

    I'll say this though: I was wrong about Jack. He's clearly got his finger on the pulse of (I can't believe I'm saying this) a major hot-button issue for a lot of Canadians.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:41 PM  

  • Personally as a leftie that thinks our first past the post democracy is fairly broken, until we get proper reform I think using legislation to protect consumers is more pragmatic than creating large government social programs. Banks are taking the piss having us subsidize the laying off of employees with these fees although the better target would be the Money Marts that truly prey on the weakest segments of society.

    The Layton-haters are certainly a vocal group and their biggest complaints usually concern his style or the fact that he is a "light weight." And there might be some truth to this, I wish he sounded more knowledgeble on foreign policy and rural issues but politics is about compromise and I think he has done a decent job of uniting alot of urban progressives and the labour movement.

    Where both he and Harper have been sucessful is in making the Liberals look bought and sold and farther away from the centre than they have often pretended. First, with Income trusts, now with banking fees, perhaps with the environment-with pressure from the NDP the Cons are proving to actually be better for social democracy than the Liberals who seem to be more religious about neoliberal ideology than even Harper. As far as I'm concerned, thats been the big surprise of this session.

    By Blogger Demiurge, at 10:51 PM  

  • What exactly is the down side to abolishing such fees? I have read a lot grumbling about how people should suck it up and up pay the fees, but this is not argument. It is misplaced machismo. On the flip side of things, there seem to be a clear benefit.

    By Blogger Koby, at 11:18 PM  

  • Jack using this to prop up the CPC is pathetic.

    Jack will support the CPC budget because of ATM fees charged by banks ???

    And the issue generates 40 posts . . . .

    Our country has lost its vision and direction !

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 11:59 PM  

  • cg: the u of a can only collect on library debts if you havent graduated yet. as soon as you get the fancy paper, you can ignore library and parking debts. Trust me on this one, much experience with them.

    By Blogger ktr, at 12:04 AM  

  • i dont think jack is dumb enough to dream of edmonton strathcona. i think his wildest dream right now has him winning toronto danforth. Oh, and i guess he may be dreaming of a big ass too.

    By Blogger ktr, at 12:05 AM  

  • jb: I understand your arguements. However, how many huge banks are there in Pewterchuk Idaho.
    I don't have a problem with their being an investigation to determine if there is collusion, in fact, I support that.
    I just have a huge problem with price ceilings and floors.
    As far as deregulation, there are lots of tools the government could use to help new banks open, as well, as accept foreign competition.

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 12:21 AM  

  • The Layton-haters are certainly a vocal group and their biggest complaints usually concern his style or the fact that he is a "light weight." And there might be some truth to this, I wish he sounded more knowledgeble on foreign policy and rural issues but politics is about compromise and I think he has done a decent job of uniting alot of urban progressives and the labour movement.

    Outside of Fantasy Land, it might be worth noting that to be taken seriously, you must be knowledgeable of foreign policy. Any NDPer must realize how much of a rural base the party depends on (and is intended to serve). Urban progressives? Give me a break. Without rural support, the NDP is nothing, and it's entirely typical of the navel-gazing, self-involved "urban progressive" to completely ignore that fact. It's sadly par for the course for the usual "urban progressive" to be totally indifferent (and often antagonistic towards) the needs of the rural supporters of the NDP.

    Jack Layton does not deserve praise for being bizarrely clueless about rural issues but "uniting urban progressives with the labour movement". Are you kidding me?

    It's time - it's high-time - for the NDP to hit the panic button on this dud. Self-delusion can be fun (believe me, I should know...), but wake up - the NDP is goivg over a cliff, and patting yourselves on the back for Jack's work uniting two sectors already devoted to the NDP while ignoring another vital component is idiotic, and completely bullshit.

    I've voted NDP before, I've volunteered for the NDP before. But whenever the fervent supporters ask, "Why don't people vote NDP? What's wrong with voters?" I just shake my head.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 10:59 AM  

  • Holy frikken Chr*st, Bogreen, are you for real? The NDP's vote (both popular, and the seat count) has risen in each of the past federal elections with Layton as leader. He's rewritten the past Liberal budgets, and he's poised to do the same with elements of the CPC budget (just watch). And he's finally shaken off Buzz Hargrove (a risky but absolutely necessary move). All this in just a few years. Meanwhile, during this time, we've seen the Liberals run through two leadership contests, and drop from majority to minority to opposition.

    I'm not saying the guy is perfect, but no leader is. But look at the state the NDP was in back in '02, and look where it's grown to today. Jack Layton doesn't get carte blanche from me, of course. He gives a lot of people a lot of ammunition (talking with the Taliban? Arghhh...) but Dion and Harper have given up ginormous gaffes in their short leadership careers as well.

    His SARS/BSE screw-up was embarrasing, but that tongue-tied braincramp could have happened to anyone. Being Jack From Toronto talking to farmers in the prairies, it hurts him that much more, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt - and I'm originally from Lethbridge, Alberta, so that should say something.

    Believe me, I'm not saying the Dipper Cocktail. A few more major gaffes and wonky policy propositions, and I'll start looking around for a replacement down the road. But you, I like the ATM proposal. This is something EVERYONE can relate to. I'm really surprised how many people on this site are actually defending the banks on this one...I'm as much of a free market supporter as anyone else, but there's freemarket principles and economies, and then there's blatant greed. Sad to see many people are incapable of distinguishing between the two.

    Of course, if it was Harper or Dion who floated the ATM idea, we'd be seeing frothy posts of praise for their "common-touch" connection with the average concerns of the "Tim Horton's crowd."

    By Blogger Playdough, at 12:27 PM  

  • playdough = I'm as much of a free market supporter as anyone else, but there's freemarket principles and economies, and then there's blatant greed. Sad to see many people are incapable of distinguishing between the two

    Free Market = Greed. Did you ever tell you boss that he's paying you too much? Greed is not a bad thing so long as there are rules. If there is collusion then shut it down. If not, start your own bank and offer a better service. You'll be rich.

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 12:35 PM  

  • Opening my own bank...what a genuinely brilliant idea! Can't believe I've never thought of that before!

    No, the free market does not equal greed, despite what a legion of Wall Street/Bay Street Gordon Gecko wannabees have successfully spun through society.

    I have no problem with banks setting record profits, and CEOs and senior muckmucks making ever-rising salaries - I truly don't. My problem comes from raking in part of those salaries and profits by gouging the average joe when the try to access their own money. There are a thousand different ways banks make money...that's one they can afford to lose, or at least lessen.

    By Blogger Playdough, at 12:59 PM  

  • Ha ha, I've often thought of opening my own bank, too - if I could just get my first million, I'd be all ready! ;)

    You know, Playdough, I was very keen on Jack Layton as councillor, and I was surprised and excited when he won the NDP leadership.

    I don't really have a big problem with the SARS/BSE thing, either -- if you knew some of the ferociously awful brain-spasms I've had speaking to people, you'd appreciate how much I sympathize with him. (But I can laugh at myself, so I can laugh at him, too....)

    It's not all Jack - I think the NDP has been in trouble for a little while now, image wise. McDonough was a disaster following another disaster (McLachlin) and it's hard to overcome that. I thought Jack was the person to do it, but I no longer do.

    I've been way too embarrassed by Layton's comments on the Taliban and Hamas -- once you gaffe that big, it's time to go, because your credibility has been shot, in my opinion.

    Of course, that's just me, just my two cents. Everyone is different. :)

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 1:42 PM  

  • Jason, a leader is never going to be everything to everbody and the fact is under Layton the NDP has gained several rural ridings including Van Island North, Skeena, NWT etc. You would have to be in fantasy land to think that these gains represent some kind of failure in rural areas. Where the federal NDP has failed is in the prairies but I doubt this is all to do with Layton. I'd like to see the NDP do a better job on rural issues and issues that matter to the prairies but I don't think its fair to say they've been completely ignored.

    The breakup of "urban progressives", sorry if you don't like the term and the labour movement was a major part of the story of the downfall of the provncial NDP in BC but in this province the federal NDP have done well with both groups under Layton. Again every region has its own dynamic, I'm just speaking from what I've seen.

    I'm sorry you are totally offended by the NDP's positions on foreign policy. Personally, its not so much the positions I disagree with but just the fact Layton doesn't sound like he knows the nuances of what he is arguing. I dislike the way our media elites have tried to paint the war on terror as either Churchill/Chamberlain since day 1 and I don't think diplomacy should be taken off the table. There are a lot of people who feel this way and they deserve representation. The media has tried to smear distort and smear the NDP position in my opinion but I've been impressed that Layton has not backed down.

    Anyways, your heart is clearly in the right place and at least you have a valid reason for why you dislike Layton, I find a lot of criticism is usually all about style instead of substance. I don't disagree that the NDP faces a big challenge to remain relevant. I hope they manage to begin championing class issues more effectively. I think this policy is decent because it does affect working people. I can see why Liberals don't understand the uproar about fees, I mean look at what you had to pay to attend their convention! But saying its the fault of consumers to not find ways to avoid bank fees ignores the fact that some people have lives that would make this harder. I see no reason why banks should be able to punish those people who are too busy(perhaps with trying to raise families on small incomes)or live in a small rural community where certain banks are located across town. Especially when banks have been making record profits after laying off their workers and replacing them with these machines.

    By Blogger Demiurge, at 4:46 PM  

  • Josh: You didn't answer my other suggestion: don't put your money in the bank. You're paying a fee, unsatisfied with the service, and getting "insignificant" interest. So... put your money under your mattress.

    Dale, I do not (1) respond to absurdities or (2) respond to people who ignore what I say, such as my rationale for keeping the Royal account. I'm dissatisfied with the service, yes, but my estimation is that it would be more costly to me *not* to have access to as many "free" ATMs.

    BMO has no fees? Perfect - use them. We don't pay MPs to worry about this kind of triviality.

    They have monthly fees, but they are waived if you keep a minimum balance. Of course, BMO still has all the same per-use fees (including charging to see a teller rather than use the ATM!).

    As far as deregulation, there are lots of tools the government could use to help new banks open, as well, as accept foreign competition.

    There are already lots of foreign banks operating in Canada, but the barriers to entry exist not to protect the domestic banks from foreign competition, but to maintain the stability and efficiency of the banking system. A "free" market approach is more likely to result in more bad credit and financial instability.

    I'm not saying the guy is perfect, but no leader is. But look at the state the NDP was in back in '02, and look where it's grown to today. Jack Layton doesn't get carte blanche from me, of course. He gives a lot of people a lot of ammunition (talking with the Taliban? Arghhh...) but Dion and Harper have given up ginormous gaffes in their short leadership careers as well.

    Exactly. I'm not too pleased with Layton lately (especially concerning his apparent lack of nuance in so many of his arguments), but relative to his immediate predecessors he's been quite successful. Which other parties have doubled their vote share since 2000?

    Jason, a leader is never going to be everything to everbody and the fact is under Layton the NDP has gained several rural ridings including Van Island North, Skeena, NWT etc. You would have to be in fantasy land to think that these gains represent some kind of failure in rural areas. Where the federal NDP has failed is in the prairies but I doubt this is all to do with Layton. I'd like to see the NDP do a better job on rural issues and issues that matter to the prairies but I don't think its fair to say they've been completely ignored.

    The NDP has been holding fairly steady in Manitoba, but I think the real problem has been in Saskatchewan, mainly due to unthinking "strategic" voting and, I think, a certain fatigue with the provincial government. For all the talk about how the NDP is "failing" in the rural Prairies, the Sask NDP has had a primarily urban base for many years now - why does anyone think that the federal party could reverse that in just a couple years?

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 5:27 PM  

  • What exactly is the down side to abolishing such fees?

    I believe the most likely outcome of this law being enacted is that banks would simply stop allowing customers from other banks to use their machines. So instead of a having a choice of whether to pay an extra two bucks or not, consumers who don't have access to their own bank won't be able to withdraw their money at all.

    (Unless they go to one of the independent ATMs, where the fees are even higher...)

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 7:28 PM  

  • I can't believe there are suckers on this thread defending the banks for charging $1.50 per AUTOMATED transaction. Do you have any idea how much more expensive the transaction would be for the bank if it was done by a person - when transactions like withdrawing money didn't cost anything?

    Jack says "legislation" because he's in opposition and can basically say anything and it doesn't matter much.

    It feels good to be gabbing about the stinkiest gouging in the country and I can't believe Liberals are defending this graft.

    ps. land in Florida available, email me.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 9:57 PM  

  • "I believe the most likely outcome of this law being enacted is that banks would simply stop allowing customers from other banks to use their machines."

    That is not supported by what has happened in Europe.

    By Blogger Koby, at 11:44 PM  

  • "I suspect that it still costs less to run a crap pile of ATM's as opposed to opening new branches and hiring staff."

    You're probably right - but who says that the banks will open any new branches if they close ATMs?

    By Blogger deaner, at 11:47 PM  

  • " Of course, it isn't "free" - they're charging me $5 a month purely for the privilege of holding on to my money."

    ... and allowing you to access it at 9:15 pm or 7:00 am, of course.

    By Blogger deaner, at 11:52 PM  

  • ... and allowing you to access it at 9:15 pm or 7:00 am, of course.

    Right, because the labour costs for an ATM are higher at night or early in the morning because they get overtime. I'll bet those ATMs get at least time and a half! Was that your "point"? That it actually matters what time you go to an ATM?

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 12:32 AM  

  • The point is that you are paying for the convenience of being able to access your money outside of normal business hours.

    If you don't think being able to make a withdrawal from an area where your own bank doesn't have an ATM isn't worth two bucks, then don't use that service. Simple as that.

    Personally, I'm outraged that a carton of milk costs more at the 7-Eleven than it does at Safeway, even though they pay the same wholesale price. I demand that the gov't regulate the prices at convenience stores!!1

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 1:25 AM  

  • Josh: ... You're paying a fee, unsatisfied with the service, and getting "insignificant" interest. So... put your money under your mattress.

    Dale, I do not (1) respond to absurdities or (2) respond to people who ignore what I say, such as my rationale for keeping the Royal account. I'm dissatisfied with the service, yes, but my estimation is that it would be more costly to me *not* to have access to as many "free" ATMs.


    Josh, I didn't mean to ignore your rationale for keeping the Royal account, but I'm not sure it's relevant. Banks offer a service. You can use that service and pay for it, or you can not use the service. If it's offensively expensive, don't use it.

    It seems like the mattress idea is absurd to you, and I agree. But this in itself should make you reconsider how much the bank's service is really worth to you. I don't keep my money under my mattress because it's outrageous risky, and because it would be extremely awkward to function in a modern society without using the banking system. But if it's unthinkable for you or I to not use a bank, doesn't that say something about how high the value of the bank's service really is? If I wanted to be cheeky I'd say we're getting a bargain....

    By Blogger Dale, at 3:12 AM  

  • Layton was just on CBC News Sunday squaring off with one of the bank reps... he was totally shut down.. I'll post something about it later.

    By Blogger m5slib, at 11:56 AM  

  • This is why people don't take the NDP seriously.

    By Blogger CanadianRyan, at 1:13 PM  

  • "Was that your "point"? That it actually matters what time you go to an ATM?"

    No - that it matters what time you go to a bank branch (or any other business), since they tend to be open during "working hours" and closed during "non working hours." The service that the RBC is providing to you is access to your funds during times that no "office" businesses (as opposed to retail or entertainment) are open. You value this convenience enough to hold an account there - you just don't want to pay for it. As pointed out, your alternatives include simply keeping enough cash on hand that you never need to visit an ATM - or even avoiding the banking system altogether.

    By Blogger deaner, at 2:26 PM  

  • Of course it's more convenient to access an ATM anytime - however, you've completely missed the point that, for the bank, it's cheaper to have an ATM than to bother with any tellers, and the relevant comparison is the cost of an ATM, on which the time of day has no bearing, and a teller working a normal workday.

    To follow your argument, a bank is nothing more than a repository for money, which completely ignores the rather obvious method through which banks make money - by lending out your money at interest. Why should they be able to charge unreasonable fees ($1.50 for an automated transaction?) to access your own money? Banks didn't charge these sorts of fees previously when they had more branches and tellers, and whatever the initial capital investment (which, incidentally, should be financed by borrowing or market capitalization, not charging customers), I see little rationale for maintaining these fees in perpetuity. The fact that they impose a cost to banks is irrelevant - so do tellers and branch managers - and if you want to argue that closing a branch and replacing it with an ATM is somehow more expensive than maintaining the branch then, well, you're a sucker and an apologist for the banks' exploitation of the regulation designed to ensure their stability and efficiency.

    But if it's unthinkable for you or I to not use a bank, doesn't that say something about how high the value of the bank's service really is? If I wanted to be cheeky I'd say we're getting a bargain....

    A bargain? How many pennies in interest do you typically get? The banks take our money, lend it out, profit off the interest, and give us nothing more than security which, in any case, is guaranteed by federal institutions and legislations.

    So, answer this, why have fees gone from 50-75 cents to $1.50? What is justification for this cost increase?

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 3:00 PM  

  • "...which, incidentally, should be financed by borrowing or market capitalization, not charging customers..."
    And just how do you think they will service that debt, or provide a return on the equity, other than by charging somebody for the service they provide?

    "...and the relevant comparison is the cost of an ATM, on which the time of day has no bearing, and a teller working a normal workday."
    Says you. The bank's costs are only relevant if they are subject to cost-based regulation. Assuming you have a job, Josh, I am sure you 'charge' your employer more than your direct cost of providing the service you are engaged for - why shouldn't banks be able to do the same?

    "...give us nothing more than security which, in any case, is guaranteed by federal institutions and legislations."
    No. You are confusing the security of the funds on deposit with your security in not carrying cash or hiding it under your mattress. If you don't like paying to use a bank then you are free to do either - but you give up the security of not having your life savings in your wallet. If you prefer to have your money in the bank, but not to use an ATM then you give up the convenience of having access to your funds when the bank is closed.

    By Blogger deaner, at 3:51 PM  

  • whatever the initial capital investment (which, incidentally, should be financed by borrowing or market capitalization, not charging customers)

    Says who?

    Why should they be able to charge unreasonable fees ($1.50 for an automated transaction?) to access your own money?

    Because people (in general) are willing to pay those "unreasonable" fees. If we as consumers decided we weren't willing to pay them anymore and stopped using their services, the banks would be forced to reduce or eliminate them.

    Why don't you try using your own actions to influence what the banks do, instead of crying to the government so they'll force the world to conform to your will?

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 7:26 PM  

  • We use our Chase Toys R Us Visa card for everything that accepts credit cards. We use it to pay at the grocery store, for utilities, medical co-pays, and other purchases.

    By Blogger Joshuathomas, at 6:01 PM  

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