Beautiful costs for beautiful banks


Soon to be the CEO of Intesa-San Paolo, Passera is at Cernobbio on Lake Como. He’s as happy as Napoleon at the end of the Italy Campaign. And who wouldn’t be in his shoes if you add up salary and stock options?

The location and the sun have moved him to make a lyrical declaration: “The integration project for SanPaolo-Intesa is really beautiful.” A picture by Caravaggio, a statue by Canova. He then reassures the clients: “They can be reassured. If they work with both banks they will see their credit ratings summed and not reduced.”

The candour of the declaration is fascinating. It brings to mind the adverts for il confetto Falqui {a brand of laxative}: “Just say the word.” If I have two credits with two banks, I can expect an increase in the credit rating, since at the appropriate time I provided a guarantee to each one.

Passera continues: “It’s an operation with only winners”. No losers. But doesn’t the merger involve that lovely word: rationalisation? That word when translated into prose means a 30% cut in personnel? But perhaps I’m wrong.

Anyway the clients will be happy. Happier. Very happy. The client of SanPaolo-Intesa is very beautiful. Straight after the merger, they can take advantage of Italian banking services at European costs. The average cost of Italian banking services is higher, much higher than European ones. We are at the top. We’re the very first. We’re beautiful. And the unlucky ones that bought tango bonds and Parmalat will be reimbursed but only after a certain age.

Gripped by sincere exaltation, he added: “if we hadn’t had a common vision, common values, the wish to work together, reciprocal understanding, in such a short time we would not have been able to get going such a stupendous project that has been started.” What feeling. What a start.

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Since this thread is way OT and of course it will be dropped soon, actually very soon, let me "boast" a little more...I also have an adequate knowledge of French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese....You could say languages are my passion...: o)
But my children....No way my friend...
They are of this "difficult" age when they don't want to look or sound any different from others of their own age...So they avoid speaking anything else but Greek...: o (

As for my opinion on certain matters concerning Italian reality now you see why sometimes I get all soft and don't want to face it....
It is different when you choose to leave your country ,after balancing pros and cons, and different when you are born abroad and always considered a foreigner where ever you go....:o(

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 11, 2006 08:17 PM

Paola, wow, what an interesting story! Enough to write a book--or three! :)

So you probably speek Arabic, German, Greek, English and Italian. When you're no longer happy with the prospects in Greece, I think you should be able to find good work opportunities just about anywhere. I like northern Europe. Now I'm in Germany, for example, and I love it here!

By the way, your children have a good opportunity to learn the languages you know--you should teach them. Another useful language to learn is Chinese.

Ah, thank you for the description of the flymow :) I've actually had that thing for a while (but I didn't know that's what it's called!! :) ). I find it's very good for edges, where a normal lawn mower doesn't go. The normal one has the advantage that it also picks up the grass and collects it in a bin.

...I think this thread will soon be bumped off the current list of topics... we'll see what's next! Ciao

Posted by: Alex | September 11, 2006 06:18 PM

Thanks Alex,very enlightening ciao :-)

Posted by: evakulnura | September 10, 2006 12:33 PM

On a lighter note...Alex,

A "Flymew" was a mewing machine that had no wheels so it made mewing much easier. It was power operated and instead of blades had a sort of fishing thread that turned very fast and thus cutting the grass with minimum efford.
I always injured my fingers because I was "clever" enough and not wait, when it was turned upside down, for it to stop completely before I could clean it...:o((

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 10, 2006 09:15 AM

I don't mind any thing said about "madreterra" after all that's why we are all here, isn’t it??

Next, maybe it's time to say a few things about myself so that our different views on the same subjects could be more easily understood.
As I understand it most of the people on this blog were born in Italy so obviously know much more about it that I do...
I was born in Egypt...Gone to Italy at an early age (lived for a while), then went to England (lived for a while) then went to Austria (lived for a while), then came to Greece, left and came back where I am now living. I have also lived in Brazil-when I say lived in some case means also worked. So I am actually an "Italiana Del Estero"...
My opinion is mostly affected by things I have seen and experienced in other countries and I must say that sometimes opinions I read on this blog (although true) are very harsh on Italy's present state.
My feelings effect a lot my judgment and not living there and not having to face these problems makes it easier to be critical….But I can assure you that Greece (another E.U. country) faces exactly if not worst problems like Italy.Immigrants,political stability, the Euro has quadrupled prices, wages are very low, people are living on credit cards, criminality has increased,unemployeement,no heavy industry, corruption and nepotism…..So comparing the two countries I still think Italy is better off….

p.s. hope you will all excuse my long OT post..:o)

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 10, 2006 09:13 AM

Eva, if everybody stopped trading on the stock market... it would no longer be a market! :)

Jokes apart, think of this: you are free to buy or not buy something. You will buy if the value to you is at least equal to its cost.

So, if you buy it, chances are you do so because after the purchase you will be better off.

When you do buy, the company that sold that product or service to you (presumably) made a small profit. If many people buy the same, the company will make an altogether fairly large profit.

But many people, like you, will be better off.

Sounds good, no?

The problem, however, is that starting, operating and expanding a company is costly. So, whoever has the idea of how better to solve a problem will need funding.

One can borrow money. But this has some drawbacks (which might decrease the likelihood of success). Or one could sell equity in the future company--stocks.

Why would people take risks? After all, the company may fail, or there may be lots of competition, which would reduce the profits.

They would take the risk of giving their money to the company founders only in the hope of being compensated for the risk.

So the company starts. Serves people's needs more efficiently than before. Hires workers, who will work there because by doing so they will be better off. The company pays taxes. The workers have more money to spend... on another company's products.

And the cycle starts over.

The real problem starts when there are distortions in the system. For example, when there is a substantial monopoly. Lack of competition may allow a company to take advantage of buyers. Another example could be fraud--a company claims something that is not true to obtain an unfair gain.

But that's the role the government to ensure that this does not happen.

So, to answer your question, I think that what you call "shareholders' greed" does more good than harm. I am not so sure we can say the same of many governments...

Posted by: Alex | September 10, 2006 09:13 AM

Alex,I have a radical question; what would happen if everybody stop buying and sell on the share market?Let's say the share market stop hipotecally,I was wondering the other day, don't you think that part of the world problems are due to the greedines od shareholders?:-)

Posted by: evakulnura | September 10, 2006 12:40 AM

Joselle, book soon, while my fees are so unbeatably low!! haha

Paola, I thought you were living in the UK. (I hope you're not in Italy, after all I said about the "madrepatria"... :D ) By the way, what's a flymow? I mowed the lawn just today... it's not so much fun... would that thing make it easier?

(Since you stuck your fingers in there... probably not!)

Posted by: Alex | September 9, 2006 11:10 PM

True, why not the Lake District??? and A+++++++ location, absolute leisure and relaxation as long as it's not timeshare :D)))))

Alex, can I book you for advice?????


Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 9, 2006 06:45 PM

But you are doing are TEMPTING me...
no mowing...Lake District...daily interest...Not you around (bad joke from a Leo but you did hurt my feelings)...I see TEMPTATION written all over..

Ahhh my friend I have been there seen that...I wish I had never left the UK..Not because I liked it that much,but it was the place were I had my best working opportunities,a beautiful house,always travelling and...going to the pubs...(!!!) And one small detail I used a "Flymow" and always managed to injure my fingers...:o)

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 9, 2006 06:42 PM


I charge the lowest fee. Believe me, it's an unbeatable zero.

And, besides, if you're not happy, you even get your money back! With interest compounded daily!

Now, compare that with your own advisor... and haggle next time! (With him, of course--I won't budge! :D)

As for investments, caution is better than temptation.

As for land and leisure: how about a trip to the Lake District? Lots of land. Lots of leisure. All free.

And you don't even have to mow the lawn yourself!
Why buy?


Posted by: Alex | September 9, 2006 06:02 PM

Let's hope your fee won’t be too high at the end of the conversation.....:o)))

I don't "Have to" and I don't think anybody ever
"Has to" put money in the stock market....The reasons are always financial (be it pure profit, saving a businesses,etc.)
But as I said, TEMPTATION some times is stronger that common sense and we are only humans, Vero??


Posted by: paola filinesi | September 9, 2006 05:03 PM

By the way, Eva makes a very good point!

A loan is debt and debt is risky. One should analyze carefully the liquidity issues (cash flows) before committing.

Most often people take variable rate loans. Now that interest rates are increasing, these will translate into higher monthly payments. One should make sure to have a margin to allow for this, before deciding to take up a loan.

Also, what would happen in case of unexpected expenses? Such as car repairs, an illness, house maintenance or... fingers crossed, you lose your job?

You sure don't want to end up with no margin of safety or you may end up losing your job AND your house. Now, that's unpleasant!

To have an idea, one should make a projection of the two scenarios: rent vs. buy and compare the results: how you end up at the end. this will also take into account the opportunity cost of buying--i.e. the foregone interest on your capital.

Have fun!

Posted by: Alex | September 9, 2006 04:03 PM


If you HAVE TO put your money in the stock market, maybe you can consider passive funds, those that just replicate an index.

The advantage is that these funds have very low management fees--because, of course, they are not managed at all! :)

Managed funds, instead, yield great profits for the managers. These, in turn, reduce your profit. The result is that in most cases managed funds underperform their benchmark index.

So, you end up worse off when the managers manage, than when the managers do nothing.

Posted by: Alex | September 9, 2006 01:07 PM

Joselle :)

The idea of renting to students sounds pretty good. A friend of mine lives in Florence and has some apartments who he rents out to foreign students. He was getting good income. Of course, the American kids would completely trash the place, but hey... he was coming out ahead nevertheless.

You buy that and you have a good money machine. But--is it a good investment? It depends.

You need to know the cost of the initial investment, for example. Maybe, the seller knows how much money you can make, and will make you pay for it.

Operating costs can be significant, especially with a high turnover. Risks too are significant and can be costly to cover (i.e. insuring against them). Some risks cannot even be insured against (tenant not paying, for ex.).

You should also account for vacancies, lawyers' fees (for contracts and/or evictions)...

Don't forget taxes (income, property...) and accountant fees.

If you, as a private individual, own such property in Italy, you are not allowed to make a deduction for costs (such as maintenace, professional fees, or amortization). Therefore, you end up paying taxes on your gross income, not on your net. It means you pay taxes on money you did not actually earn.

You can avoid that by forming a company. With large and diversified portfolios it is probably a good idea, but it adds to the operating costs...

Ah, and one thing people love to forget is long term maintenance costs. Those costs that are not due every year (such as fixing the roof or changing the heater, for ex.) but when they come due they're feel like a big whack on your head...

You should allocate those costs on a yearly basis, to see how much money you are really making. What you see is not usually what you get.

People often say that the price of real estate always goes up. Well, in real terms (adjusting for inflation), this is not necessarily the case. And also, what they fail to include inthe calculation is the money they have thrown in. Taxes, maintenance, accessory costs... and the interest they paid on that loan!

So, Josie, coming to your question: your reasoning does indeed make a lot of sense. Since you are almost done with the 10 year loan, it is likely that you bought the house before the real estate boom--and thus got a good price. It is also likely that you paid off the loan (variable rate, I guess) during the period with the lowest interest rates in a century. That makes for pretty damn good timing! :) So, chances are you made a very good move.

A smart move, if you had planned for all this in advance. A smart-and-a-bit-lucky move, otherwise.

Every instance is, however, different and those who will buy you house when you sell may not be getting the same good deal you did.

Posted by: Alex | September 9, 2006 12:54 PM

Me?? A bank auditor?? Buying Stocks??? Never!!!
But of course we did...and of course we never made any profit (as oposed to others who lost of course...) :o)))
Temptation my friend...Who can resist a promise of easy profit??? (!!!)

Land, I would buy only for leisure if I had the means....:o(

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 9, 2006 08:55 AM

Paola I did the same,what worries me,is the new laws, that anybody can get sacked very easily,who would take a mortgage?!,is a big commitment,for once i like to know the economist(Alex) opinion too.ciao :-)

Posted by: evakulnurae | September 9, 2006 07:28 AM

If you want a good stock that satisfies you, cook a good beef or vegetable stock and use it in your favourite recipes! :o)))))

The only way some people are making a little bit of profit, as I have seen lately, is to rent out rooms to students. I have come across one person in particular who bought three apartments close to the University, spending quite a capital but the returns look quite promising. With 6 students in each apartment, each paying about 500/550 Euros a month, this guy is making 9,000 Euros a month with 18 students. Quite a nice bit of interest if you work it out.

Others rent to businesses or clinics, many are very reluctant to let out houses/apartments to individuals though. Those who do pray every day that their tenants remain employed for a long time so as to pay the rent.

Owning a family home probably serves its purposes, namely having a roof over your head. Honestly speaking, with rent reaching the current market prices, I thought it wiser, in my case, to buy my house and pay off a ten year mortgage. Renting was going to cost me 600 Euros a month; the mortgage rate per month is almost 400 Euros and, by the end of 2007, the house will be mine. I think many take all these things into consideration.

Alex, I know you are the one who's a finance guru, do you think this is good or bad reasoning?

I await your answer!



Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 9, 2006 12:28 AM


All investments are the same: their purpose is to earn a return on the money you commit, with reasonable certainty.

If you buy land for leisure, however, the context is different.

Just don't buy stocks for leisure!

Posted by: Alex | September 8, 2006 06:58 PM

Alex (ex Pippo) I am not sure but amidst the confusion of "Pippos and Monoferales and Lacremine" I just thought it was you with all those nasty comments about my spelling...:o(

Anyway,I hope you don't hold a grudge against me...:o))

Thank you for your advise,as I understand it,it is a little like the Stock Market,with a longer time span,isn't it??

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 8, 2006 12:59 PM

Paola, sorry, what did I write that earned me such a nice title? :)

Sometimes I write stuff just to see how people react :D

About your quesiton about real estate in Tuscany:

Every case should be considered individually, so I cannot say. Factors such as what, for what purpose and, not least, how much you're paying for it, are crucial in deciding whether you're getting a good deal, a fair deal or a not-so-good one.

Though a good deal could pop up even in the midst of a speculative bubble, when there's soaring optimism about an asset class, well, that's usually a good time to exercise caution.

Posted by: Alex - ex pippo | September 7, 2006 09:09 PM

Aaaaa my Juda's friend Pippo...I have just read your nasty comments about my spelling....
I must tell you, you have been "one very lucky guy"
my friend because I forgot all about this article...

However since I might be blind but still manage to be a good person....have you ever thought of people buying land just for the joy of it???
My knowledge in real estate is non existent but could you explain the rising prices of land in Tuscany, Umbria and other fashionable areas??
Are people who buy there ill advised??

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 6, 2006 11:18 PM

Joselle, you're right. Salaries are low--especially in relation with the cost of living.

I think you should thank your ancestors for the big move north!

Posted by: Pippo International | September 6, 2006 09:24 PM

Yes Pippo, you are right, of course, if Italy gets kicked out of the Euro [which seems to be the policy line of some political diehards] then it will be really a havoc, chaos and political mayhem too.

The root of the problem, however, is, in my opinion, the lack of adequate employment, or better still, employment that is justly paid. Workers in Italy are amongst the least paid, and I really know what the heck I am saying!

I was speaking with one of my ex-students the other day who was telling me that on paper it appears he earns 1,200 Euros but, when getting his paycheck, his employer expects him and the other workers to give him 350 Euros in cash, meaning he really gets 850 Euros. And this guy and his colleagues gulp the whole lot in silence and pay because of retaliation or the fear of losing their only source of income. It is a very vile and vicious circle.

Let's just hope Italy will not continue going down in the mire.

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 6, 2006 07:40 PM

Your question would require a fairly long explanation, if one wants to make a watertight case.

To boild it down to a few points (which would not be too long and too boring to read):

* Real estate prices in many areas of Italy have reached levels that are unlikely to be sustainable. (i.e. too high in relation to income)

* Interest rates are increasing. This will make real estate less affordable (because of the higher monthly payments) and also less desirable (because risk-free investments will become more attractive. And real estate investments are fraught with risks.

* Higher interest rates are also likely to force people to default on their loans. Which, in tourn, should force the banks to repo the houses and sell them cheap and quick on the market.

* Italy's economy is in a very precarious state. This will mean that it is unlikely that people will be making a lot more money and will thus be able to affort ever increasing real estate prices or rents. Quite the contrary. And those selling at high prices are unlikely to keep finding buyers. When prices start declining, everyone waits for further declines.

* A precarious eeconomy also makes tenants more risky: if they lose their job, they won't pay rent. And you can't kick them out.

* Italy's finances are a shambles. The situation is very dangerous because of public debt. Besides the fact that real estate is easily taxed, there is a much greater risk: that Italy gets kicked out of the euro. In that case, your property in Italy will be worth lots of liras. Which means--nothing.

Of course, most those risks are medium-to-long term. But so are real estate investments.

Posted by: Pippo Realestate | September 6, 2006 04:30 PM

I think people buy real estate in Italy believing it will render them more profit [in the case of an eventual sale] than if their money were to be invested in a savings account or else in the rather whacky Stock Exchange.

I still think that, under normal terms, buying property is a safer option, considering that there is rarely a slump in prices, not the way the Euro is going anyway.

Can you enlighten me more on the nasty surprise when buying property? Is it tax related?

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 6, 2006 04:06 PM

The rules you are mentionig are recent--they started in 2005.

Anonimity can be maintained and, as you say, a withholding tax is applied--but only on interest. Not on dividends or capital gains. So, it is fairly easy to go around it...

The whole point in opening accounts in places like Malta, Cyprus, Switzerland, Luxenburg... and other such places is to dodge taxes.

Otherwise, why not open an account in the UK, Germany, United States?

For those in the market for dodgy deals, Europe is not the best place any more--for the reasons you mentioned. And prospects for the future are not good.

But people seeking a fair deal and honestly intending to pay their dues, it is possible to open an account anywhere. They can move their money wherever they want. At the end of the year, they receive a statement indicating their income (interest, dividends, etc.) and they file that with their personal taxes.

For people who have substantial capital, it would also be possible to use a company as an investment vehicle, which can have some advantages.

Overall, since capital can be moved fairly freely, two questions come to my mind:

* Why would anyone want to keep his money in an Italian bank?

* Why would anyone want to buy real estate in Italy? (Most people do, and they're due for a nasty surprise)

Posted by: Pippo Finance | September 6, 2006 03:40 PM

Naturally, I do know about that hitch, however, any foreigner wanting to open an account in a foreign bank is normally asked to provide proof of domicile abroad.

Besides, if you take the Maltese situation, those not wanting to declare their financial situation abroad [there are special forms to be filled] have their interests taxed at source at 15%.

With branches overseas of any bank in particular, banks are held liable to forward any relative information on clients whose gains are not taxed at source. That is, I am sure, not illegal.

Perhaps Paola, who has more banking experience, can give us more insight on this issue.

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 6, 2006 01:48 PM

Yeah, you open an account abroad and *whoops* taxes vanish.

That's because you're supposed to report THAT income in your own country of residency.

Of course, nobody does--because that would defeat the purpose. But there's a little catch: it's illegal.

And if the tax authorities find out... it will cost you more than you saved.

And there's another little catch: that once you hide money away like that, your the prey of the bank. If they screw you, you cannot sue them. Because if you do, you go public. And the tax authorities will be after you more than you are after the bank.

This little trick is used by "financial instituitions" even in presumably reputable tax havens...

Posted by: Pippo de Taxshelters | September 6, 2006 01:28 PM

Yes, it is true that Malta should be adopting the Euro... first it was supposed to be in 2006, then slid off to 2007, now it appears that 2008 seems a more reliable date. The Euro has been fixed at 42,9 Maltese cents [approx. 2,30 Euros for every Maltese Lira]. Many are a bit reluctant about letting go of the lira because it remains a strong currency unit, but I guess there is very little choice.

Well, things could change by then but I think that the banking practice in Malta, governed by the Central Bank, does not look too keenly on introducing fees for bank accounts. They are afraid that this would dishearten investors who would try investing in a different manner.

Whilst it is true that savings may not pay as much as assurances or stocks, yet, generally speaking, you can have fixed terms ranging anything from 4% to 6%, depending on the sum invested, the terms, etc. You do not pay for these accounts either.

HSBC bought and privatised what was a parastatal merger between Mid-Med Bank and Barclays Bank, and though they are strong, they lose slightly to the other Bank, which is Bank of Valletta [] - a local bank that, with the right alliances and investments has become known even internationally. And Eva, there are BOV branches in Australia, Melbourne and Sydney for sure. They have branches even in other countries, I can remember Canada for sure [Ontario]. Besides, for non-resident investors, the BOVI [Bank Of Valletta International] gives tax-free banking, with certain conditions. I think this is usually the policy of many banks with international clients.


As an aside: Who is Paolina Lacremina???? I have an inkling that it is some frigging poster from the other post, yeah! the one with four or five handles, now we must be up to six! Blimey! We'll have a bloomin' ironmongery with all this crass metal!

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 6, 2006 12:53 PM

Thanks Paola :-)

Posted by: evakulnura | September 6, 2006 11:47 AM

HSBC stands for
Hong Hong Shangai Banking Corporation
a multy national institution.
Actually if you do a search on the Internet you will find lots of info.....

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 6, 2006 10:25 AM


Then, why don't YOU do a search and find out that Hong Hong is actually written HONG KONG; and Shangai is actually written SHANGHAI ?

Do the search and, maybe, you will find out that also your own name is spelled different...

Posted by: paolina lacremina | September 6, 2006 11:15 AM

One more detail which I don't know if it will make any difference in the future but in Malta they still have the Maltese Lira until 2008
(except for 2 banks). Now when they fully join the Euro things might change...

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 6, 2006 10:37 AM

HSBC stands for
Hong Hong Shangai Banking Corporation
a multy national institution.
Actually if you do a search on the Internet you will find lots of info and I think they have a branch in Melbourne.
It specializes in houseing loans so you will probably find better rates there but maybe their savings rates are not so good as with other banks.

As for books here is a nice site that maybe it could help you with the selection of some nice reading

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 6, 2006 10:25 AM

Joselle can you please explain what's is HSBC? thank you,and OFF TOPIC, is my turn next week to hold the book club I belong to,any good book you guys can suggest? we have been reading lots of best sellers that have turn up to be lot's of crap,thanks ciao :-)

Posted by: evakulnurae | September 6, 2006 01:58 AM

Joselle: gimme the five!:)

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | September 6, 2006 12:07 AM

Ah Raffaella, now I know why I love Oscar Wilde so much, especially when I read your quotation, the last one to be precise!

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 5, 2006 11:04 PM

Eva, I was speaking about one bank in particular in Malta and which is not HSBC.

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 5, 2006 11:03 PM

But: "No gentleman ever has any money."

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | September 5, 2006 07:45 PM

You did?? I am going there>>>>>>

In the mean time:

“When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know it is”
Oscar Wilde

Let's see who will argue with that???(!!!)

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 5, 2006 02:06 PM

Paola: :))))))) (lol)
By the way, I put a new and very apt Oscar's quotation on the post about "the new feminism"...

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | September 5, 2006 12:50 PM

"That's ma man"...!!! Isn't this or something similar they say in the States??? :o)))

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 5, 2006 10:55 AM

and now... the nice quotation of the day!
"I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world."

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | September 5, 2006 10:36 AM

Raffa, you are a brave person!!
Communism and Capitalism although adverse are great in theory,it's putting them into practice that's ruined them....I think it is called
"Power strugle"....

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 5, 2006 12:43 AM

Paola: I know. I was in Africa last year, Uganda a poor country, but even in Uganda I saw so much banks, more than I thought. Everywehre in the world the profit is the most important thing, and the human values are marginal. I was always fighting against this status quo, and I finally decided to live in my own way. In my little, own world there are no banks and no profits, I earn my living and it's enough, more than enough.
My mother always told me that I was born communist, because I never had the faintest idea of private property. I always gave all my toys away to other childern and I felt happy about it. Later, as adult, I'm going on with giving my helpfulness and my soul to other people. Yes, may be my mother was right!

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | September 5, 2006 12:23 AM

I will have to disappoint you Giovanni. Experience is not an asset any more...
it costs...Bank employees are replaced by automation, school leavers can do the job, they require minimum wages....usually don't have to support a family,yet...
As for Deutsche Bank I think not, but I am not 100% sure because what happens is, no matter what the original nationality of the bank is it depends on the country it is operating;
For e.g. a Bank could buy only the branches of another bank in one country in order to expand,it doesn't mean that the two banks have merged.Also, could only have shares in a certain operation of a bank like construction but not loans or deposits and only the first bank would show and the other would be on paper...
Forget about nationalities when dealing with Banks,they are Unadentified Flying Objects..:o)

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 5, 2006 12:13 AM


A good part of that 30% will find a job in another bank that belongs to the competition or as accountants because they have experience.

I have a question: if I open an account with the Deutsche Bank will I still favor the italian banks?

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | September 4, 2006 11:31 PM

Don't worry Raffa,we all think the same about Banks...and most institutions we don't know a lot about..
I will only give you an example : In the suburb where I live there are 15.000 inhabitants and we have 14 bank branches of 14 different banks(!!!) and they all make a profit....That is 1.072 customers for each branch; which means that even children are included in the number of customers per branch...!!!
Bank profits are huge but they want more,share holders want more so what do you do??Minimize expences by laying people off work...Who will take care of these people???
The answer you'll get will be " Well I don't know, my responsibility is to my share holders"....
And life goes on....

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 4, 2006 11:21 PM

My God, Paola, I must say I didn't notice the bold letters, because I read this post very superficially. I'm usually not very interested in bank businnes, because bank means for me only a check account to crediting my salary. But in fact the banks are (unfortunetly) protagonists of economy, and economy is (unfortunetly) the leading factor our social life!
I must in the future pay more attention to this theme!

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | September 4, 2006 10:48 PM

That is the big issue Eva, and I wish I had an answer...:o(
But as always people are blinded by profit and I bet that not even one of those share holders,not even one of those big headed economists and bankers ever gave a second thought about redandant personel...
Do you think a journalist in that press room, when the merger announcement was made, thought of asking this question??

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 4, 2006 10:47 PM

Paola you are right,what are this 30% personell,are going to survive? if every bank is cutting down on cost,what are those people going to do?

Posted by: evakulnura | September 4, 2006 10:36 PM

Giovanni what you said might be correct especially your last phrase "don't get mad get even"..!!
However, has enybody noticed the bold letters
"30% in personnel cut" ???
Isn't anybody worried about that?? Or are we all share holders and we are all going to profit from the merger???

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 4, 2006 10:29 PM

Hey, guys!

Why don't we outsource our savings' handling to a Chinese bank?

If everything there is cheap, maybe even banking has the same treatment!

When those sneaky little f..ks will notice that we are paying them with their same system, they will change something.

.....and remember, don't get mad, get even!

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | September 4, 2006 07:12 PM

Cristina I will have to argue with that...: o)
During the year that you don't use your account you will still receive a balance sheet in an envelope, every month, informing you of the sate of your account. At the end you will probably receive another letter informing you that your account is dormant or whatever...
This means that a lot of paper has been wasted and lots money has been wasted on salaries paid to employees that follow your account for a year for nothing...
This money has to be recovered by the Bank. This is why you end up owing e.g. -400 Euros at the end of the year.
Don't forget I am playing the devil here,ok??
Now why this happens in Italy or other countries and not in the UK or elsewear?? For many and complicated reasons....for e.g the turn over of the bank in a specific country is higher that in another country, because some transactions are more frequent with one bank than with another. Because one bank cares about savings another cares about investments and loans.

I could go on and on but it would be very tiresome and probably useless, my advice (for what it's worth) is: find a small banking institution that you are happy with, that gives you a relatively average savings rate (if this is what you are looking for) and stick to it.

And getting on the funny side, look at banks like you do at supermarkets....they offer some products at lower prices and others at higher prices, nobody runs back and forth to get cheese from here and wine from there just for a few cents....:o

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 4, 2006 06:28 PM

If you have 20 Euros and you put each one of them in 4 Italian street Banks without moving money, in 1 year you will be - 400 Euros if you are lucky.

The same in the UK, will give you a balance of +20,000001 pounds that is always some interest.

It is time italians to wake up and see how the Banking system in Italy is simply MAFIA: wouldn't be everyone better off to have its savings under the mattress ??

Posted by: Cristina Ekipaser | September 4, 2006 04:38 PM

That's why I like to know ,wich lucky country is the one that doesn't charge,to have accounts,ciao

Posted by: evakulnura | September 4, 2006 09:29 AM

Be careful Eva....there is no such thing as
"free" anything when dealing with a Bank...
Don't forget, Banks are profitable insitutions(!!!) customers are those who "gain some, loose more"....

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 4, 2006 09:00 AM

Joselle,I live in Australia,the only free accounts,are the one in the internet,wich is the country you mention as free accounts? thanks ciao

Posted by: evakulnura | September 4, 2006 07:55 AM

Banking is a very complicated subject at least to the average consumer.After 23 years of banking experience I can assure you I still know 1/10th and even less comparing to the rapidity with which banking systems change!!
There is no black and white,or better there is..:
On one side the Bank which always makes a profit (otherwise why operate) and
the Customers who will loose some and gain some.
I believe that following the article we have better concentrate on the effect of lost jobs by mergers and automation rather than on interest rates and banking fees.

Posted by: paola filinesi | September 3, 2006 06:30 PM

I still have to understand why banks in Italy should charge exorbitant fees for their services when, in other countries, opening and keeping an account is free.

In one particular country I know so well, you can have as many accounts as you wish for free. You can select how to invest your money wisely with or without the help of your bank consultant, and there are some advantageous options such as paying tax at source at 15% - not some stimmifying 27% or so as my Italian bank seems to charge. Besides, you only get to pay charges on certain transactions. Your credit card is an option which is charged for separately, your debit card [Bancomat] costs you 4,60 Euros a year and your cheque book is free.

To add insult to injury, just look at the rates of interest on your capital... a real crying shame, and to keep rubbing some salt into your wounds, the bank cuts a big piece of the cake in taxes for your government... that is even better still.

I mean, if it works wonderfully elsewhere, why can't it work here? What was worse, if you decided to close your account, you even had to pay for that!!!! How funny indeed.

Merge as much as you like... I just hope people won't continue to be beguiled by Passera and his likes, especially where jobs are concerned. It is, after all, a common policy for many companies to merge and cut down on the work force.

I'll just go invest elsewhere... :o))))

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 3, 2006 04:57 PM

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