Banking in Malta

I refer to John Consiglio’s letter ‘What type of banking?’ (9 May). Banks are there both to do business and provide a service to the public.

Banks make money hands over fist and I have to see a bank that does not make billions of profit each year, with its executives receiving hefty bonuses while the account holders get little or no interest. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the aggregate cash deposited by small account holders, which banks lend at exorbitant rates, banks could struggle.

I can see from the photograph accompanying the letter that the queue comprises young people. What’s wrong with them? Don’t they have a mobile phone or iPad, or a brain? The population in Uxbridge is approximately 120,000, and I’ve never seen a queue of more than four or five people inside the bank, let alone outside. Mostly, you just walk in with no one around but, then, people only use the bank as a last resort. I was last in Lloyds before Christmas last year.

Have people in Malta ever heard of direct debits/standing orders to pay bills? What about having their pension/income paid directly into the bank? In advanced (the operative word here) countries, few people (if any) now use cash. Even people collecting for charity with cans and buckets take credit cards. Cash is taboo.

But banks do not help either. If I want to go into my bank account over here, I tap the app and it asks me for three characters from my password and I’m in and can do any transaction I wish, including transferring considerable sums of money.

Photo: Chris Sant FournierPhoto: Chris Sant Fournier

But if I need to check a simple balance at BOV, first it asks if I’m a robot, then my ID, then I have to get the fob out and enter a password, which then gives me a choice of two numbers, which then asks me to put another number into the grid – by now I’m lost and I have to start from scratch. Then,  if I want a simple answer to a question, they send an encrypted message which you need an Enigma machine to decode… In the end, I suppose I can see why people queue outside a bank.

Sadly, technology in Malta is still of banana republic standard, as indeed is mostly everything else. Try transferring electric/water accounts or a TV account (I was asked for a notary’s signature by Melita). I could go on for ever.

But everyone loves Malta because nothing ever changes. Ignorance is bliss.

Paul Brincau – Uxbridge, UK

The way banks seem to be operating seems to justify what Mark Twain had stated tongue-in-cheek when he wrote:

“A banker is a fellow who willingly and gladly lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back immediately the moment it begins to rain.”

Frans Said – St Paul’s Bay

Lacking lay participation

It was a joy to participate in the concelebration broadcast from St John’s Co-Cathedral on Palm Sunday. The ceremony was indeed sober and very spiritually uplifting throughout, shorn of any trace of theatrics regrettably so familiar with our annual parish festas.

In particular, I have in mind the Valletta St Paul Shipwrecked boisterously irreligious church festa. What struck me, apart from the short but otherwise apt and very strongly-worded reference to the rape of the Ukraine in the homily, was the subdued, almost military precision, of the rubrics.

The choir at St John’s as usual was very pleasantly smooth and evenly controlled: well done indeed!

What jarred was the total absence of any lay participation, especially female, in the Mass. Why?

These omissions, which I hope were quite unintentional, appeared to me as rather odd when one bears in mind that we – the laity – are now about to participate in the Synod called by Pope Francis.

Amabile Galea – Balzan

Letters to the editor should be sent to Please include your full name, address and ID card number. The editor may disclose personal information to any person or entity seeking legal action on the basis of a published letter. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us