Greedy Banks

Protesting greed. But why stop here? Wouldn't it be so much cooler to protest human mortality? Also, the weather could take some protesting.

Yes, banks are greedy. That’s kind of in their job description. Which is why that’s where we keep our money. For some reason, we don’t keep it in charitable institutions which will immediately distribute our savings to the needy. A bank that is not driven by greed, by the desire to make as much money as possible is no bank at all.

Since people often choose to be very obtuse about this topic, I’ll provide the following disclaimer: the banking industry in this country has engaged in activities that are outright criminal. They were aided in robbing the country blind by corrupt politicians. The removal of the regulations of the financial system has been a disaster and resulted in a global financial crisis. These issues need to be addressed, discussed, and protested as loudly as possible. Vague discussions of the big, bad greed annoy me so much precisely because they rob protesters of all credibility and make them sound like whiny, pseudo-Christian proselytizers.

In my efforts to find out more about the #Occupy movement, I only and exclusively consult sources that are very supportive of the movement. Whenever I see an article that sounds like it might be hostile to the protesters, I scroll it down without reading it. I do it because I really, really, really don’t want to be disappointed in the movement. But the images and the stories that the passionate advocates of the #Occupiers provide, do the job of disillusioning me about the protests perfectly well on their own.

15 thoughts on “Greedy Banks

  1. Loaning money to people who can’t pay it back is not greed, but stupidity. If the banks were greedy and smart they wouldn’t have lost billions of dollars by buying junk loans packaged in ways too difficult to understand.


    1. Stupidity can’t be regulated by the government. But specific banking practices can. This kind of regulations is what is sorely needed. After the regulations are restored, we will not have to care whether specific bankers are stupid, greedy, or never brush their teeth.


  2. To what country do you refer? The policeman’s and the policewoman’s uniforms do not appear to be American. Maybe they are Canadian. Recently, I was asked to sign a petition regarding Bank of America’s intention to charge its customers $5 per month for the privilege of using its debit cards. I am not a customer of this institution. But I’m smart enough to know that if the largest bank in the US gets away with this greedy scheme, other banks, including my own, will inevitably follow suit. The petition was presented online at And it worked. Bank of America changed its mind about this fee. Did they propose this idea because they are facing insolvency? I don’t think so. I think it was motivated by greed: pure and simple. Is this type of greed acceptable? Not in my opinion. It targeted its own customer base. It was designed to put an additional financial strain on the people responsible for its corporate existence. Greed is not acceptable under any circumstances. I don’t want my bank, or my government, to be motivated by greed. Greed is a huge turn-off to me; in people, in corporations, or in institutions.


    1. The site where I found this claims this is Brooklyn.

      I support the activism to stop BofAm from charging a fee. All I’m saying is that it is completely irrelevant (and also impossible to know) what initially motivated the bank to propose this change. Let’s stop psychoanalyzing bankers because it’s a useless activity. It isn’t about whether “this type of greed is acceptable.” What matters is that this kind of banking fee is unacceptable to the bank’s customers.


      1. Looking at the uniforms (especially the hats) and the building in the background, I’m pretty sure that’s London. But your comments apply equally well to the finance sector and the Occupy movement in the UK as they do to those in the US. Although, in London, the main occupation site (which that picture may or may not be of – can’t tell) was the square outside St Paul’s Cathedral, which… what?


  3. I think the protesters are outside St Paul’s in London because it is one of the very few open spaces in the City or Square Mile area of London (which is the part of London where the financial institutions are based). Probably the only other place protesters could have gathered is Finsbury Circus. This part of London is pretty old, so there just aren’t the squares or parks you find in newer cities. It is a bit of a shame that the cathedral got dragged into the dispute.


  4. Yes, these are protestors outside St Pauls in London…and the police jackets are those worn at night by British policepeople (I’d automatically say policemen but I know that this might not be the correct term…I can’t say ‘cops’ since that word isn’t use in the UK and this photograph was taken in Britain.) This photo reminds me of the slogan, tag line, used by Scotiabank which makes me furious every time I see it/hear it – “You’re richer than you think”. I mean ‘Hello’!! It’s morally and ethically wrong of the bank to encourage people to borrow money. Didn’t this financial crisis occur in the first place because the bankers went and screwed things up in the first place? Why is a bank encouraging people to borrow money that they may not have? I don’t get it. It just doesn’t make sense to me for a bank to use this strapline since they should not be encouraging people to borrow money and max out their credit cards and then wonder how on earth are they going to repay these loans? Obviously Scotiabank intends to give them all loans which have huge interest rates?


    1. “This photo reminds me of the slogan, tag line, used by Scotiabank which makes me furious every time I see it/hear it – “You’re richer than you think”.”

      -Oh yes. And there was also this insane commercial from another bank that showed people enjoying life with their families or practicing their hobbies with the slogan “There is more to life than money.” Of course, the bank was not planning to follow through on this suggestion and distribute its profits to the people in order to be able to go and enjoy other things in life.

      Also, when the bank tells you outright that there’s more to life than money, this sounds like the line they are planning to use to console you after they lose all your money in the stock market.


    2. I hardly know where to begin. First, Scotiabank’s advertising is probably targeting people who have, not just reliable income, but collateral. Next, people don’t usually secure a loan if they already have the money in question. Lastly, banks are in the business of loaning money to people, whether they need it, or not. Charging interest (usury) may be immoral in the minds of some. But it is certainly not illegal. I don’t care for banks, either. But they do serve a purpose.


  5. “A bank that is not driven by greed, by the desire to make as much money as possible is no bank at all.”

    All businesses are trying to make money. Not all are trying to do this in extreme predatory / destructive ways. Not even all banks are.


    1. I think it’s a matter of personal opinion which businesses are more predatory. I believe that doctors who prescribe amphetamines to 4-year-olds and diagnose 5-year-olds with schizophrenia for playing Batman are a lot more predatory. That’s a highly subjective evaluation, of course.

      We can have discussions as to how greed is bad. But such discussions can never be the basis of productive political activism. They bring matters into the realm of what’s highly personal, subjective, and spiritual. Politics cannot be done this way.


      1. On the doctors, yes they’re predatory. Maybe you’re right, greed as slogan obfuscates issues. I always just took it as colorful slogan/soundbite.


  6. The other thing is that these slogans are shorthand. It is *of course* not “greedy banks” literally that are the problem, it’s a more complex situation, the financial system and the way it has been run lately, etc.

    Shorthand: after Katrina when the US had abandoned N.O., Mardi Gras signs said “Buy us back, [Jacques] Chirac!” [This was a reference to the Louisiana Purchase.] They didn’t mean it literally but were saying it by way of comment on the situation. You must see this no matter how literal minded you are, right?


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