Mortgages and why I hate Bermuda banks

I'm not surprised by the reveal that many Bermudians are having difficulty with mortgages of late, what with the economy still struggling and many people currently being jobless.

We've collectively put ourselves in this position, but it's the individual persons who are now in a position of trouble; the local banks wield all the power. It's only expected that individuals are now getting frustrated at feeling that there's little to no way out of a tight situation - instead several of us are now made to feel like we're mere commodities, barn animals or otherwise totally subservient to the banks.

Savings accounts? Minimal interest. Sometimes we have to *pay THEM* for the privilege of holding our money. Loans, on the other hand? Ha ha ha.

True story: when I was completely without income not too long ago, we approached our mortgage lender with the hope of renegotiating our terms. We were still in decent enough financial position where we weren't in default. However, with minimal savings at the time, we were looking to be able to spread out payments a bit more.

The bank's line was essentially that we ought to almost literally go into poverty before they'd consider. We felt belittled and insulted by their stance. I think they weren't going to budge unless we were literally eating nothing but Vienna sausages and could show that we were on the brink of default, before they said, 'hm we won't get anything from these suckers, may as well relent a little bit'.

I think this is partially why the Finance Minister indicated that he wanted to investigate the lending practices of local banks recently - although I don't have any expectation that these for-profit businesses would be at all interested in adjusting their policies (and why would they? Ownership is now overseas-based, and if they feel threatened, they can shift out at any time).

Basically, I feel that many of us are simply and irrevocably screwed.


I'm rich! The text message says so!...

From a SMS message on my (dumb) phone:
your mobile number was randomly selected as a winner of 2,500.000.00 on FREE LOTTO with Draw number (#6149102) email officialottoffice@gmail.com for claims. UU
Yeah. Death, taxes, and people trying to scam you. Constants in life.

Poll shows PLP ahead of OBA

... surprising nobody besides OBA diehards, apparently.

Don't OBA supporters recognize that the actions of the ruling Government have been controversial to say the least? Look at the percentage of polled persons who aren't satisfied by either political party at the moment. That is real, and likely undervalued.

To be fair, I suspect the PLP would be even further ahead if they didn't make their own blunders, but as is the nature of Bermuda politics, some people just can't help themselves.

Fellow blogger Bermuda Independent outlines some very legit reasons for the poll results.


CURB and legalized gambling

CURB has joined the referendum-supporting people. The only problem I have with their approach is simple.

Their argument against having casino gambling is that it will be detrimental to the black community in Bermuda. Fine. A legit concern.

However, I have yet to read a statement outlining their objections to current licensed gambling facilities in Bermuda, including one recently opened on Court Street. It kind of takes away from their arguments, in my opinion.


A plot to do away with gambling referendums

So apparently the OBA wanted to consider pulling back the referendum on casino gambling all the way back to at least April of 2013, and commissioned a study to investigate how to do it.

It's a "typical politics" approach from a political party that from inception pledged "A Better Way" and ran a campaign based on transparency and being honest. That now, has clearly been blown out of the water.

While the PLP and its staunchest supporters may be in no position to claim the moral high ground when it comes to secret strategies designed to maneuver around (and attempt to manipulate!) the will of the public, Joe Public has every right to be at the very least disappointed in these tactics.

This released document also begs the question of if the events of last October where the Opposition leader was called into a private meeting, followed by the reveal of the referendum question followed by the scrapping of such, was all an orchestration where the OBA deliberately threw a loaded question, guaranteeing a PLP backlash and thus providing impetus to scrap the referendum altogether under the guise of "attempted sabotage (via boycott or otherwise) by the PLP"?

The other major question I have is that if this situation is true, why did Government pass the bill to allow cruise ships to open their casinos in port? Was that part of the overall strategy, of a truly tactical blunder on their part? Because, if you're planning to open casinos on-island, why discourage cruise ship visitors from partaking in the new on-shore product by allowing on-ship casinos to compete for the tourist dollars?

Finally, and this has been asked by several others in the past, is what happened to change the minds of several MPs who rejected similar gambling bills in 2009? Not one MP to my knowledge has divulged their feelings on that particular aspect matter, and that's disappointing again... which seems the be the recurrent theme when it comes to most politicians in Bermuda.


Is this why the PLP Blog was on hiatus?

...because the MPs or Senators who may ordinarily be worthy contributors to such a tool are instead focusing their energies on op-eds in overseas online publications?

This seems like a most strange and unusual practice from a major political party of *any* country, not just Bermuda.

Why would they choose an audience majorly not in Bermuda to promote their op-eds versus the various local online (or print) sources, including their very own public party website? It just baffles the mind, and I can't comprehend, regardless of the actual content within, why this route would have been taken by sitting MPs and Senators.


Another local bank scam

It took a while, but the scammers are now trying me for Butterfield Bank (the multiple CapG ones I suppose are old hat). Now I actually do have an account there (no, there's very little cash there and the sooner I get out of it the better), but the scam is still laughable:
Dear Customer !

Due to added security measures on our banking and transaction servers, your account has been disables and auto selected for verification. Your attention is required to reactivate your bank account immediately.

[link removed]ACTIVATE NOW -:[/end link]

Thank you,

Bermuda - Butterfield Group
How nice. They even had an official-looking logo in the header portion of the message. However, they still fail the spelling/grammar test, the provide-enough-bank-jargon test, and make it all-too obvious it's a scam with the big "ACTIVATE NOW" link (which then fails the link-masking test too). Pretty desperate.

Try again, scammers.