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Amitava Chattopadhyay


Amitava Chattopadhyay
Emerging Market Multinationals - Amitava Chattopadhyay


Lying, cheating banks and bankers: The case of Standard Chartered Bank

I watched the movie “Short It” last night on my flight back to Singapore and was reminded about the self-centered and corrupt nature of banks and banking executives. Why do I say banks and bankers are corrupt? Both personal experience and research suggests that banks and and, on average, bankers are liars and cheaters!
Let’s begin with research. The Economist on 22nd November, 2014, in an article entitled “Lying, cheating bankers” reported on an experiment published in the highly regarded journal, Nature. In that research, according to the Economist, “128 bankers with an average of 12 years’ experience in the industry were split into two groups. The “control” group was asked a series of anodyne questions—for instance, how many hours of television they watched each week. The “treatment” group was quizzed on their work at their bank.” The bankers were then asked to toss a coin ten times, in private, and report the results. “For each toss they could win $20, depending on whether the coin landed on “heads” or “tails”. (If it landed on the wrong side, they got nothing). The bankers reported the results of their ten flips on a computer, and received payment automatically.” Thus, with luck or bald-faced lying, the participants could earn $200 in the time it takes to flip a coin ten times!
Bankers compared to those in other professions, e.g., pharmaceuticals, were more dishonest. Importantly, the control group was only slightly dishonest, as on average, they reported that 52% of their tosses had been winners (chance suggests 50% should be winners). The treatment group, i.e., those quizzed about their work, which the authors argued would put them in a more materialistic frame of mind, were significantly more dishonest, reporting they had got winners 58% of the time. According to the Economist, “a tenth of the treatment group claimed the full $200, despite there being a one-in-a-thousand chance of this happening to an honest flipper.”
Let’s turn now to personal experience and the case of my interaction with my bank in India, #StandardCharteredBank. I came home to find a letter from Mr. #ManishPathak, #Head-LIABILITIESOperationsStandardCharteredBank,India, which made the claim that “Despite our repeated attempts, we have not been able to establish contact with you and would be updating the same in our records.” Now the bank has both my email address and my mobile number and I haven’t heard a peep from them. The individual responsible for contacting me in line with #RBI regulation are just warming their seats, making no effort to contact their customers, and covering their backsides by issuing a form letter. I just thought it’s time to burst their lazy, lying bubble.

Standard Chartered Bank

From my experience with banks in general and Standard Chartered Bani in Particular, that there is absolutely no concern for its customers or for that matter it’s brand.  Sure, from my experience with running programs for banks, they pay lip service to it, but in reality, it’s all about self-centered money making without any real concern for customers as this experience as well as the research above shows. I’ve written an email to my relationship manager and to #BillWinters, Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank. I’m waiting for their replies. But, since, this is the third such letter from the bank, even though in the past I’ve pointed out their egregious lying, I thought I’d share my experience publicly. If by good fortune the #ReserveBankofIndia or Mr better still Mr. #RajanRaghuraman see this, even better.  I’ll keep you posted when I hear from Mr. Winters!

  Mar 1, 2016 | Musings




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