who defends savers - Corriere.it

who defends savers - Corriere.it

Let's put it this way. A company produces high quality pasta. The market rewards her. Also because in recent times it has managed to stay on the market despite the explosion in energy and raw material costs. But what would we say about this renowned company, proud of its history and its link with the territory, emblem of Made in Italy, if it were discovered that it does not actually pay for the wheat, in this case durum, which it buys from farmers, starving them? The choice of wheat for this metaphor is not accidental because in history it has also been a means of payment, as well as remaining, in the collective imagination, a popular synonym for money.
Now in place of the company that produces pasta let's assume there is a bank. The favorable market moment thanks to the difference between lending rates (on loans) and passive rates (on deposits). A spread of 325 points, the highest in the last sixteen years. Profits have never been higher. And, consequently, the shareholders are happy, even if the prices are still a portion of the book value. Executives adjust their salaries heavily for inflation.

Savers and citizens

At the congress of Fabi, the largest banking union, it happens that the CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo, Carlo Messina, does not shy away - given the extraordinary profits of his group in the first quarter - to the request for a robust update of employee payrolls . The union is asking for an extra 435 euros per month over the three-year contract. But why, then, shouldn't current accounts be remunerated, which are ultimately the raw material of banking? The Abi, the association that brings together all the banks, in its June bulletin, writes that the average rate charged on current account deposits alone is 0.32 per cent (0.02 a year earlier). Still, a pittance. But there are those who also have zero. And not just at the post office. The bell rings only for the banks and not for customers – written in a Fabi document -. The gap between the trend in interest rates applied to loans and mortgages and those on deposits and accounts is widening more and more. Interest on new mortgages rose to 4.24 percent in May. Savers unfortunately count as the two of trumps. But be careful, they are citizens. And disappointing them is the worst campaign to delegitimize the economic system and the institutional structure that could ever be carried out, especially in a heavily indebted country where savings are the last real wealth. The repercussions are likely to be seen on other fronts of social malaise. Less well-off families are unable to deal with inflation which is decimating the real value of their current accounts, while they bear a high growth in the cost of mortgages. They don't have a culture of inflation. After the end of the purchases of government bonds by the European Central Bank, the Treasury was forced to turn to so-called retail customers, i.e. directly to the public. As was the case in the last century. It promises tools to defend individuals and families from inflation. But not always and completely (the Btp Futura is proof of this). In the 1980s, real government bond yields were positive. Compared to inflation, the subscriber was making a profit. Not today. If Coldiretti were behind the savers, we would already have tractors on the streets. If Fabi represented them, the restoration of better conditions would have already taken place.

The negotiating power

Popular savings have no negotiating power with credit institutions. The small saver, who has a few thousand euros in his current account, is not in a position to reserve a significant sum for other uses. To the offers of time deposits for example. Last May, the rate charged on new fixed-term deposits had risen to 3.21 per cent. The negative effect of inflation (which bites harder on lower incomes) is that small savers or current account holders take it all. Unarmed. The Republic encourages and protects savings in all its forms, written in article 47 of the Constitution. It does not discriminate in favor of those who have more or know more. And it is useless to blame laziness or the poor financial preparation of Italian families to justify the fact that they leave 1,633 billion in current accounts at the end of 2022, a third of their overall financial wealth, which is also falling to finance consumption, mortgages and expenses. The latest ABI bulletin explains that the current account allows you to use a multitude of services and has no investment function. The warned saver. But also advised, accompanied, educated? Some doubts assail us. In reality, thanks to inflation, there is a massive and silent transfer of wealth. Banks enjoy too much good press in this country. The CEO of Unicredit Andrea Orcel, on the occasion of the 145th anniversary of Il Messaggero argued: We have to see it in another way: if we look at the average deposit of an Italian family in Unicredit under 15 thousand euros. So normally the deposit is seen as something that helps meet all the payments that come in on the family. Are we sure that account holders all think so? Cutting the wedge Even a few tens of euros a year of interest, even with a tax rate of 26 per cent, still represent a tangible advantage, especially for poor families, significant in percentage terms and, in some cases, greater than the effect of the cut of the tax and contribution wedge which has been widely discussed in public opinion. In this historical moment, the saver is the least protected citizen. He offers his raw material at negligible if any rates. The Treasury coaxes him with products which, however, unlike in the past, do not protect him from all inflation and if he turns to managed savings, he discovers that he pays higher commissions than other countries. Silence and discipline in this case are not an expression of patience and virtue.

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