All entries for Tuesday 07 March 2006

March 07, 2006

Banking as a human right

There was a discussion on Radio 4, I think yesterday morning, which concerned banking and the 'essential' commodity of a current bank account.

One of the guests was arguing that the possession of a bank account was a human right, as life without one in this day and age is incredibly difficult. He said that he thought banks should not be allowed to refuse potential customers.

Now, I can understand the sentiment, but banks are ultimately profit-making organisations, and any other business would not be forced to do something they felt would be financially dubious, even if it were disadvantageous to a potential customer.

Also worth considering is that, for most of our other 'essential services', public organisations exist to cater for our needs: the NHS to provide healthcare, the police to enforce the law, state schools for education. Why not for banking?

So…

  • Should banks retain the ability to reject a person's custom if they want?

  • Is banking a human right?

  • If it is, but if we unhold the rights of the banks to reject customers, how do we resolve the problem?

March 2006

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