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Thread: Is a life without banks possible?

  1. #1
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    Default Is a life without banks possible?

    All this business in Cyprus, not to mention previous banking disasters, has got me thinking. Is it possible to live without using these rotten institutions? Obviously, if you want a mortgage for a house, or a loan for a car, you don't have a lot of choice but to make a deal with the devil. But what about your everyday ingoings and outgoings?

    Obviously, persuading your employer to pay your salary in cash would be very difficult. You might be able to get them to pay you a cheque, which you could then get cashed at a "Money Shop" type of place, at a large premium of course. But even if you got the cash, how would you pay your council tax, TV license, utility bills, etc, without a bank account?

    It seems to me that the basic service which a bank current account essentially offers is an account number and a sort code. All these numbers represent is an address pointing to some place in the electronic ether where the details of your balance are stored, and where payments in and out can be processed. It may seem a daft idea, but what would it take to start your own "personal bank" with just one account - your own - and assigning yourself a sort code and account number? Presumably, there is an authority which assigns account numbers and sort codes to the banks, which they can then distribute to customers. Is this authority run by the banks themselves? If it is, and they prevent others from assigning sort codes and account numbers, then isn't that monopolistic and anti-competitive behaviour?

    My idea of "personal banks" would be kind of the electronic equivalent of a Scotsman stashing all his cash under the mattress. The banks of course would absolutely hate this idea, and would lobby their political friends like mad to stop it happening. It seems to me though that preventing people from doing this would be (or should be) a violation of anti-competition laws - a bit like McDonalds preventing people from starting up their own cafe's.

    As somebody who basically believes in the free market and free enterprise, I find it unacceptable that, as private companies, banks essentially operate a cartel, forcing us to use their services whether we like it or not, and co-operating with each other to set charges to maximise their profits. Then there is the collusion between the banks and the state - as we have seen in Cyprus. It seems that if people had a realistic alternative to using banks, then it wouldn't be a bad thing. It might make banks consider their ethical behaviour a bit better, and how they protect the money which people trust them with.
    Last edited by Northumbrian; 03-18-2013 at 06:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Credit Unions?
    Admin Will - Think for yourself, it hasn't been banned, yet.
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  3. #3
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    Governments, are as much the problem to get over as the banks. No banks in the equation, no control. The tax man would need the judges completely on his side to ever get a penny, that wouldn,t be acceptable either. Northumbrian, doe,s have a problem, because banks control the free enterprise we all trust in to one degree or another, they are the engine that pulls the train. One of the carriages in that train are governments. So the banks control the governments, that is unless your Chinese.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rook's Avatar
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    We could live without the investment ('casino') banks. Separate them out, limit what they can invest in, and we can keep the old boring savings and loan banks just fine. Your savings interest rate would probably be less, and we may end up having to pay for the privelege of having a bank account (which is the case in most other countries I think?), but it may well be worth it in the long run.

    As for an alternative to getting a loan from a bank, there is the Funding Circle and sites like it

  5. #5
    Junior Member Hayhead's Avatar
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    The Cyprus situation is not a first such case in the history of finance - do you know, how many times a country like Spain (for example) has hit the default button in the it's history? The story behind the economic fluctuations is an ongoing one.....Youtube has several videos on the history of money making, where it is exposed that many financial institutions such as the investment banks, actually do not create any value in the economy, they simply shuffle around big capital urging the businesses return the agreed interest, which causes quite a few scews and corner-cuts when looking for the profit. I find it more appealing to examine the birth of such understanding as morgage for a house, or even the ownership by a certain age - who has decided on this? Could it be the big corporation in my town, that owns a bank (eager to offer interest-earning loans to consumers), a construction company (eager to building and earn profit from the consumer) and a TV station, to create this illusion of "wanted" (note: not a ""needed") things in my life? What is wrong with sharing a large house with all of your family, including parents that now look after my kids? Most likely the fact, that this decreases the potential market share for the big money owners....Banks are just the instrument to satisfy the artificially created demand.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayhead View Post
    The UK technically hasnít defaulted since independence in 1066


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