It’s been a while but now there’s something to write about.
While we were in America watching the American financial system drag the rest of the so-called civilized world down with it, one casualty was a small financial establishment in the frozen north of the Atlantic, and Icelandic bank called Landsbanki. Regrettably, a serious chunk of our retirement cash was lodged in a few accounts with Landsbanki through their Internet banking operation, Icesave. We had Internet access while house-sitting in California but couldn’t have done anything about the crisis anyway since the bulk of the money was in a fixed term you-can’t-touch-it-yet account. So, it wasn’t just Iceland that got frozen but our retirement cash, as well.
I must say that I didn’t expect Carol to remain as calm as she did. We were above the guarantee limit placed by the British Financial Services Compensation Scheme so there was a real chance that some serious cash would simply be lost. Nonetheless, she remained philosophically calm. Compensation didn’t used to matter in the old world – banks don’t go bust – but we are now in a brave new world where they clearly can do just that. There are several banking and financial mandarins that really should be stood against a wall and shot. They are supposed to be professionals that understand money and finances, for Heaven’s sake.
Anyway, Lord bless the British government for stepping up to the plate and guaranteeing all private investors money from the collapsed Landsbanki. Bless them also for having set up what appears to be a very efficient way of making the payments. They are phasing payments by sending people emails but essentially the process is to log on to the Icesave web site and simply initiate a transfer of one’s funds to the associated current account (in another bank).
Last week Carol got her email and I am very relieved to report that she’s got the cash back that was in her name. Yeah! 🙂 That amounts to about 98% of what we had there. I am still waiting for my email so that I can reclaim my relatively paltry amount, the remaining 2%, but it’s looking good.
Now the question is, where to put it that’s safe? (Though maybe, since our government has set a precedent by guaranteeing all private deposits in one collapsed bank, where does that leave the idea of a guarantee limit?)