Bankers Should Not Preach about Money & Socks

At the end of the financial crisis in 2015, when interest rates were around zero, one mad hatter banking boss, Mr. Karhinen, the CEO of the OP Group, the big coop bank in Finland, started telling clients that they should stop repaying loans and use the “extra cash” for buying consumer products.

This clever banker urged clients that they only had to pay interest without loan repayments for the next year. Basically, he wanted to appear like a wonderful magician who could create “free money” out of nothing for the masses!

Over 100 000 homeowners thought this was a great idea (just like most Swedes had been doing this for years) and nobody told these poor folk that they would have to repay the loan faster when interest rates were going up again. This indeed is now happening – so instead of lighter loan costs, this 100 000 now have bigger repayments, together with more interest costs on these bigger loans, just when energy and food prices have sky-rocketed!

This “advice” was good for the bank because they got to keep a larger loan portfolio for longer and that increased their income and his bonus…

Now, the new CEO, a Mr. Ritakallio of the same bank, is giving “paternalistic advice” to people by telling them to wear woollen socks because their energy bills have increased dramatically. We have long cold winters here, and it is now quite expensive to heat your home, even with our excellent insulation.

His suggestion to turn down the room temperature to save cash and put on warmer clothes is sensible, but bankers are not known for their generous Christmas spirit which is best described as “Heads I win, Tails you lose”. Of course, he will probably be able to buy lots of socks with his generous salary and bonus of over €1,000,000 – a salary that does not reflect much solidarity with customers who will undoubtedly be screwed for every last cent by these scrooges.

People like this should avoid telling ordinary folk how to live their lives…

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