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Canajun Finances Home » What the Hustler Taught Me About Banking

What the Hustler Taught Me About Banking

One of my favorite movies is “The Hustler” (the original with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason). Mr. Newman played “Fast Eddie” Felson a hustler who wants to be a success, and his goal was to beat Minnesota Fats (played by Mr. Gleason). The movie is an intricate set of stories, one of which is the thematic premise about how to deal with your victims (patsies, marks, etc.,):

The Hustler at Amazon
The Hustler at Amazon Canada

“Always leave a mark with some money in their pocket, that way they keep coming back”

The Hustler

That is how banks have done it for years. They are finding new and more exciting ways to bleed some money out of you, but not so much that you decide to bank somewhere else (also, they are all doing it, your only other option is to put it in your mattress).

The scary part is that Insurance, Telecomm Companies and most service providers have gone to this model. Bleed out as many fees as they can, until you threaten to leave.

My opinion of the banks’ thinking in this area? Let me quote Fast Eddie from the Colour of Money:

“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”

They aren’t earning all this extra money, they are winning it off you.


These days, it is hard to find a service not attempting to extract extra service fees. Airlines, have gone berserk with fees, we shall see if COVID somehow reforms their fee lust.

Learn how the game is played, or you will get hustled.

This was originally written many years back, I have added a bit more to it.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. AHH! The good old days. When the bank was actually glad to see you walk in and deposit $10 in to your savings account. All those ten dollars could be used to lend to someone else and you got interest on you monies no matter how insignificant (to the bank). Not now. If you are evryday Joe Blo looking to scrape together a few dollars to get ahead of the game the bank will make sure you do not do that. Where is it that the banks have now gone over to negative interest rates (Sweden?) as they want to eliminate physical money from the system. The reason is obvious as then ALL transactions are documented and the banks and governments are sure to get their cut.
    But what is really obscene is the money we scrim and save to put in to a bank account at probably 0% interest. The bank will then lend it to the various governments, at say 5% to be conservative, who are just about always running a deficit. The governemnt will then tax us to pay back the deficit plus 5% interest bank loan which is in reality our own money.
    Now please explain to me why the governemnt can not offer CSB’s at even 4%. That way we would not have to pay a middle man, read bank, to administer our money and at least we could, in theory, make a slight (taxable) profit from borrowing our own money to pay oursleves back with taxes.


  2. I have lived in Canada since 2004 and was shocked no interest on checking accounts and you are charged. I use Manulife One. The interest on my savings is offset against the interest on my loan so I effectively make the mortgage rate on my emergency fund/ vacation/ property tax fund/ hay bill. My fee is $14 pm
    ATM fees kill as they have a limited network but if I have to get a lot out ( pay for $5k hay cash ) I call and they put my card limit up temporarily and i do it in less transactions. Everything else I put on my PC card , let the points add up and it pays for Christmas food and a few gifts .
    I cancelled my cable because i hate being forced into a package i don’t really use

    My motto is buy bank stock don’t be the sucker they are making money on , be the shareholder they are making it for .

  3. Banks have massive trust from the public and make the most of their apathy.

    If I had a dollar for every time some one said my bank doesn’t charge me for my investments I would be in Hawaii now lol

  4. I don’t doubt that what you wrote is true, but can you please expand upon it a bit? Specifically, what are the “new and more exciting ways to bleed some money” from us?

    Many thanks for this, and for your blog in general.

    1. Specifially for me (I can’t comment on other banks), but TD raised their minimum deposit to avoid monthly fees from $2500 to $4000 thus making me pin down more assets to NOT pay $14.95 month, the bank fees alone are obscene, but we pay them (as well). Ability to transfer money to another bank, does that really cost as much as they charge us, or are they charging us as much as we are willing to pay?

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