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Trust me, I'm a Banker

My husband's copy of British *adult* comic magazine Viz landed on our doorstep this weekend. (Whatcha gonna do? - at least he's not into football)

In it is a wonderful two-page spread called 'Bankers! True-Life Heroes of our World' (Next week Somali Pirates)

(I'd show you the comic but 1. copyright issues yadda yadda yadda and 2. while we are not a *family* publication - I will spare Finextra readers the site of a cigar chopping fat 'banker' getting a blow job in back of a limo with two other well-endowed ladies pouring champagne.)

I'm not here to argue whether the blunt satire and school-boy humour of Viz has nailed the financial service industry with razor-sharp insight.

But I'm reading a book about the French Revolution (A place of greater safety - Hillary Mantel) at the moment - where the aristocracy hunts, eats and whines its way around Versailles without ever realising that the French public had started to believe that they took "...baths of human blood."

If banks are to rebuild the trust they lost - they may need to look at themselves through the lens of public perception - instead of granting interviews like this one. 

Bankers! True-Life Heroes of our World
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Comments: (2)

Mark Sitkowski
Mark Sitkowski - Design Simulation Systems Ltd - Melbourne 21 August, 2012, 04:47Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

What Dimon is saying, is that the loss of one or two hundred million, whether through fraud, incompetence or negligence, is trivial for an entity that size; it merely makes the annual profit 5 billion, instead of 5.1 billion. In that context, splitting up the banks is Not A Good Idea, since an identical loss, for an entitiy whose annual profit is only one or two hundred million, would be an exit call.

By and large we, the general public, couldn't care less about that kind of loss, since it doesn't directly affect us. What does directly affect us is the kind of thing recently reported, where some anti-social oaf from Halifax ripped off real people's accounts by raiding ATM's. When you access your account, and find it empty, it's a personal attack and, I think, that kind of thing will impact on a bank's image (such as it is) a thousand times more seriously, than the news that yet another corrupt banker has run off to South America with the tea money.

Fix it, guys...

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 21 August, 2012, 09:14Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Halifax is not going to tell a customer "your money is gone, one of our oafs stole it". What the Halifax worker did (allegedly) was steal from a bank. It's the bank's loss, and will come off the P&L. The difference here is one of scale: he handled paper currency and the sum involved wouldn't break my calculator.

When talk turns to trillions (as it does with Jamie Dimon) it's difficult to understand. But banks do have a responsibility to communicate in a way that doesn't involve being completely exasperated at the inability of ordinary people to get it that  a loss of 5 billion is simply a run of the mill business mistake (a la Dimon). "That Kristal and hooker evening was simply a 0.5 bp adjustment to our third quarter earnings" won't win anyone any friends.

 

Elizabeth Lumley

Elizabeth Lumley

Global FinTech Commentator

Girl, Disrupted

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