In response to a questin on my favorite motor forum,and also because I have been analyzing my own actions, I wrote the following:
Francois, what led you to pick that bank? I’m guessing you weren’t aware of the turmoil that Iceland has been in for quite some time, but even not knowing that, what led you to choose it? An interest rate significantly better? [/quote]
Here’s the sad story:
1. I am usually not interested in financial things. I’m not on this world to ‘get rich’, just to have a good time. So, indeed, I don’t pay attention to what goes on in the world of money sharks, corrupt bankers, corrupt countries even.
First thing I heard about troubles was the ridiculous American mortgage issue.
Alright, so I’m naive.
2. 4 weeks ago I learned that the Dutch ‘IRS’ raised its interest rates on money due to them to a whopping 5.4%… without really advertising that. Since I owe them money, it means I am obliged to have my money make more than that. Our regular banks don’t give moire than 3.2%…. or a bit more on deposito’s. But then you can’t get to your money without cost.
3. 3 weeks ago things started looking bad. On advice of a financial manager we hired when I lost my job, I had put money on a Belgian Internet savings account (3 actually, because, again for the Dutch IRS, I need to SHOW which money belongs where … Inc., private and my company).
Since only ONE of these three was a and/or account, being covered double, my money was at risk.
Remember… ‘Belgian’???? Fortis ?? That’s where the European shit started !!
So I decided I better spread my money and get it better covered by the Dutch Bank Guarantee fund.
4. Not being an expert, or even faintly interested, believing my money is mine and safe, not ‘plying’ on stock markets with it, I NOW had to scramble and find a good place for some of the money.
That means DIFFERENT banks each time, not different accounts as I had been doing. I already had my ABN bank, where I am a customer for over 40 years. And I used RABO for all my business.
Neither of them have anything interesting for ‘savings’ though.
So, to answer your questin, David:
I went to a specialized forum on ‘savings’ that I used before. It has information on some 30 savings banks. And what’s more, comments from actual users, good and bad. And of course, links to their respective websites.
I read all the info, went through all the comments, criticism and applaus… much like I did with BMWST when buying my RT.
Some banks I dropped right away because of low interest, Some I dropped because of bad user experience expressed in the forums.
I ended up with a shortlist of about 5 banks, Icesave being one of them. All 5 had good comments on reliability (immediate transferrals), good interest rates, good web interface, no cost and no minimum savings.
1 was Russian. I dropped that. Sorry, I don’t trust, nor like, Russians in general.
2 were Turkish, 1 with cumbersome contacts it seemed. I dropped that second.
1 was Icelandic, with great interest rates and good comments on speed, contacts and reliability (especially of the parent Landsbankii).
1 was Belgian, and I already had my money there.
The 5th had great interest, but was kind of shady as to who owned it……. Indian, Chinese, Turks?
So knowing Scandinavians in general (and I see Icelanders in that ‘group’) as very serious, calm and reasonable people, I was attracted to the Iceland bank most, the Turk bank second.
I still have the account request papers of the Turkish bank on my desk….. been trying to put all our remaining savings (my company money) back onto my Dutch bank accounts for now. That hasn’t happened yet either (!!!).
So, you may argue I am naive. I certainly wasn’t informed properly on all this. Like millions of other people with savings and lives to live.
I am busy trying to build a new business for Nina and myself, not to be a banker. I work 7 days a week from 8 to 23:00, heads down in some things.. none to do with the financial markets.
I don’t really care who’s gonna be the next US president, nor what Putin schemes in Russia. I know there are tons of people smarter than me, busy all day long trying to get rich, and even trying to do it over the backs of millions of others.
I am not a speculator, not a banker, and thought our money was put in a boring, but safe place, just generating enough to please the IRS and not drop in value.
So because it is not my ‘thing’, I don’t have time for it, and basically, don’t care that much, I got caught off guard, had to make a decisions…… and apparently happened on the wrong one.
Did I do it myself? Yes, obviously.
Do I feel screwed nonetheless? You bet I do !
Do we have a problem? A major one as I see it ! We were just getting by and don’t have any other money to take us through the next 10 years…. unless I find a brilliant Silver Bullet.