In this article, Stephen Tiley, a Pensions Manager for Wincanton Plc and a Volunteer Adviser for the Pensions Advisory Service, ponders over whether we have become over reliant on financial institutions. In particular, he questions whether a return to more traditional values and family self-help, or perhaps mutual organisations, could serve consumers and society better. This coincides at a time of greater scrutiny of charges for defined contribution pension schemes in the United Kingdom as auto-enrolment into pensions by all UK employers kicks off. These are Stephen's personal views and not necessarily those of his employer. Stephen does not have an interest in Zopa except as a customer.