With Montreal calling in an extended State of Emergency, and with the numbers of unemployed reaching new heights as businesses close, many people are turning tot he government and banks for relief.  But how much will the relief help those in need?  As I found out earlier today, when my friends called their bank (RBC) to try and get mortgage and credit card relief for their personal accounts and business accounts.  What they found out was shocking.  Now unlike most blogs on the web these days, instead of forcing you through 17 pages of back story forcing you to click the Next Page button and view a million adds before I explain why it was shocking (God I hate those sites) I will explain it right here and now.

When my friends called the bank this morning they, like many others, were hoping for a freeze on the account, in other words, no payment, no interest, as at this point many are forced out of their jobs by things out of their control.  What they were met with though, was an explanation that seemed like it would only really help the banks.

What they were told was that only the minimum payments were being deferred for up to 6 months.  The interest however would still be accrued on the account.  So while you are unable to make payments to the banks while being in isolation, the banks will still be adding up the money they will eventually collect if and when the world get’s back to some semblance of order.

That’s right, that $300 of interest that gets slapped onto your credit card every month, will still be added, despite the state of emergency.  You just don’t have to make a payment for the next 6 months, but there will be an added $1800 of interest waiting for you when the payments resume.

I personally do not think this is fair.  I think that the government should step in, and allow banks to FREEZE the payments AND interest.  The banks will still get their money as as interest kicks back in when the payments do, there is no need to keep gouging people for more money when they have no income coming in.  Things will be hard enough for them recouping after getting back into the swing of things, if their jobs are even there when this is over… Do you think they really want to have to worry about the added interest that would be tacked on to their cards?   This form of relief is a band-aid fix that in the end does not really help anyone.  It may provide temporary relief, but at what cost?  This measure will just put people more in debt.

SO be warned, when you call your bank for the relief… ask as many questions as you can, find out what the real effects of the relief will be.  And them make your decision based on the results.  It is better to be informed than waking up one morning and seeing that you just went deeper into dept because the banks tried to help you (but really just helped themselves).

REF: CBC Article on the subject

On to another subject

One way people can help out is by donating your spare computer idle time to a project called Folding@Home, for those of you familiar with the old SETI@Home project, the concept is pretty much the same, but instead of processing the data from outer space looking for signs of extraterrestrials, you are helping to simulate protein dynamics.  These simulations help organizations speedup the data collection to help find cures for all sorts of ailments. The latest project they are putting through the pipelines is the Covid-19 virus in an attempt to speed up finding the cure. They have installers for Windows, MacOS and Linux.  Every bit helps.

If you do decide to help out, join our team “Considered Normal” using the team code 249522.