The Phartford Files: Case of the Bungling Banks
Submitted by Ironside
Last weekend’s electronic theft of thousands of dollars from the accounts of several commercial bank customers and the subsequent response of the banking cartel (a.k.a Banking Association) to the crisis should leave no doubt in anybody’s mind that said banks do not have our welfare at heart. In pure Bajan terms, they don’t give a phart about us!
But we knew this all along, what with the plethora of idiotic bank charges that have been levied against customers over the last few years and the draconian fees charged to customers to get a mortgage.
An acquaintance of mine has had the experience of having a certain bank, with origins in mountie country, telling her relative who lived overseas that they would treat her application for a mortgage to build in Barbados as an “investor mortgage” meaning that she would have to pay higher interest charges: their logic was that she was not going to be living in the house here immediately! That was a few years ago. But can you believe that?
Incidentally, when that pooper was challenged the bank did an about-face, albeit a late one, for by that time my acquaintance had taken her relative’s business elsewhere!
The truth of the matter is that most of these commercial banks, like lots of other businesses here and overseas, are now indulging in corporate bullying. While a whole lot of mouthings are being made about bullying in schools, nothing is being said about the corporate kind. Corporate Bullying Awards are long overdue!
Perhaps the Blogmaster will find and post one of those many ads by CARIFS that encouraged Barbadians to use their bank cards rather than carry cash. We listened and we complied. You bankers achieved your hidden agenda of reducing the demand for in-bank/teller services! Then you left our Bajan “botsies” exposed at the ATM!
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I listened to one pastor’s video on this matter and I agree with him 120 percent. It is the banks that were ripped off and therefore, they are the ones who should be reporting the theft to the police. He is right! Their first order of business should have been to make an apology.
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However, if the new (April 2019) Barbados Banking Association Code of practice is any guide, the banks may argue that they have up to ten days to make such an apology. Here is an excerpt from the Code:
Each bank will, in response to a written complaint: –
+++7.3.1 Send a written acknowledgement, within ten (10) working days of receiving a complaint. This acknowledgement may take the form of letters, emails, texts, or such other forms as the bank may have available for communication with the Customer. +++
Where are you getting your customer service advise from, BBA! Melmac? BBA standards are voluntary but that advice must be the biggest phart on customers I ever heard! Ten days?
This is not the first or second time that this type of fraud has occurred.
On February 19, 2016, Barbados Today reported Acting Assistant Superintendent Jefferson Clarke as revealing that “in the past year alone, an estimated $50,000 was stolen from local ATM cards through skimming”.
The same article reported that in October 2013, “two Bulgarians were arrested and charged in what was described back then as the country’s largest case of ATM fraud, involving about $1/2 million”.
The sum total of the police’s response (according to said article)? “exercise greater care when using the banking machines”. Easy for them to say!
But, what was the collective response of the banks? According to said article, President of the Barbados Bankers’ Association at that time, Glyne Harrison intimated:
+++From our end though we do have a process that has been in place since we had the last incident with the Bulgarians. We do have a bank anti-fraud committee that sits and reviews these types of incidents and that committee is currently working to identify the compromised customers as well as the compromised ATM locations+++
What crap is this we are hearing? Money is being repeatedly stolen from ATMs and you are “sitting”! Where? On the corporate toilet? No major improvements in ATMs? No high tech surveillance on ATMs? Just what the heck have you really done of any substance to protect the ATM user in the last 7 years? And still up to today, a 4-digit only ATM pin number? Excuse me, but you must be having diarrhoea! If so, you need to get out the Dica!
Please get real, BBA. Flush this approach to banking security down the nearest corporate loo and come again. You have to make much more sense than the Police Fraud Squad (or whatever its name is) which can’t seem to figure out what is necessary and what is pure Bajan “maliciousness” in making a statement about such fraud!
You bankers need to give back the affected people their money you allowed hackers to steal IMMEDIATELY before we explore a class action suit. The Police Force is NOT responsible for refunding bank customers! The “investigations” you are talking about are mere bullying and stalling tactics; the same type we are seeing with the refunds to the beleaguered Clico policy holders!
We understand that bank deposits are covered by insurance up to $25,000. Therefore, once the customer has clearly pointed out the unauthorized transactions, the banks, if they really believe half the jobby they put out as customer service slogans, should have our monies back in our accounts no later than 24 hours of the report. Customer service is also about fast turnaround time, if you didn’t know!
So my dear, friendly bankers, get up off your bullying, bungling, corporate arses and get some real ATM security! And don’t phart any additional charges on us for it either!
UPCOMING in this series: “Nursing under the Microscope” Reviewed