Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Please take our cash

For the past several months the financial news, and often the main bulletins as well, have been dominated by an atmosphere of gloom. Bank collapses and rumours of collapse. The scandal of sub-prime mortgage lending in the US. Egg customers having their cards withdrawn. Talk of "credit crunch", of banks fearing to lend to each other or, indeed, to us, of mortages becoming more expensive and harder to come by, of loans being called in and new lending severely curtailed.

So I was surprised, to say the least, when a letter arrived this morning from Barclays. "Thank you very much for being a valued Barclaycard customer," it began. "As a token of our appreciation, we are delighted to offer you..."

There followed a list of goodies: a reduced interest rate, a refund of cash handling fees, and a doubling of my credit limit. The letter drew particular attention to the great deal now available if I wanted to borrow more cash from them, although even with the latest reductions using a credit card for a cash loan still looks pretty expensive.

"We hope you enjoy having more freedom with your Barclaycard," the letter concluded.

Translation: please take our money. Please get deep into debt. Have one on us.

Is this, I wonder, a case of conflicting priorities among lenders, or the difficulty of turning round the supertanker of easy credit? Or is all the talk of an impending lending famine exaggerated? Do the banks actually need more indebted customers to keep their profits from collapsing?

Needless to say, I won't be taking up Barclaycard's kind offer. I'm not that desperate. Yet.

1 comment:

Brian Brown said...

Mr Heresiach

You might find article from last weeks Guardian interesting.

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/jon_ronson/2008/03/titch_the_crunch_and_me.html