Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Of Wire Strippers And Banking "Culture"

Perhaps one doesn't ordinarily associate Standard Chartered Bank with stripping, but the recent filing by the NY State Department for Financial Services makes fascinating reading. And in telling the story of SCB's U.S. dollar-related "wire stripping" activities through its own internal emails and operations manual, yet again a bank's "culture" is exposed as ultimately self-interested, regardless of the potential cost to society:
"Lest there be any doubt, SCB's obvious contempt for U.S. banking regulations was succinctly and unambiguously communicated by SCB's Group Executive Director in response. As quoted by an SCB New York branch officer, the Group Director caustically replied: “You f---ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we're not going to deal with Iranians.”"
Coming hot on the heels on the news of HSBC's sanction-busting activities, these revelations inevitably raise concerns about the practices of other banks.

"When will it all end?" I hear you ask.

It probably won't. 

Scandal after scandal after scandal after scandal related to numerous banks' dealings with their consumers, corporate clients and regulators, tells us that banking as we know it is culturally, socially and economically flawed.

It's high time the politicians focused on how to encourage new entrants and alternative models.

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