All of the banks’ customers are equal but are some more equal than others?


Australian Banks asked for customers’ addresses, telephone numbers and transactional history

This month there has been a lot of debate about access to customers’ private information. There was Westpac assisting the Police with their investigation into Nicky Hager and yesterday we looked at Xero handing over a report showing the credits and debits of each account connected to a customer’s subscription in response to a request by the Official Assignee.

In Australia banks when requested have been handing over customer details to the equivalent of our GCSB.The past financial year, there was a 300 per cent increase in reports to the national financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, of suspicious terrorism related transactions. AUSTRAC can ask banks for customers’ addresses, telephone numbers and transactional history but not locations and IP addresses from mobile phones or computers where transactions were made.

Australian jihadists are increasingly taking out small bank loans with no intention of paying them back and maxing out credit cards or overdraft limits immediately before travelling to Syria and Iraq, Westpac’s former chief financial crime officer says.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Cassie Chadwick

The High Priestess of Fraudulent Finance

Her claim of being “the Heiress to $15,000” was just one of the many falsehoods that carried Cassie Chadwick from city to city and bounced check to bounced check

In the spring of 1902 a woman calling herself Cassie Chadwick took a train from Cleveland to New York City and a hansom cab to the Holland House, a hotel at the corner of 30th Street and Fifth Avenue internationally renowned for its gilded banquet room and $350,000 wine cellar. She waited in the lobby, tapping her high-button shoes on the Sienna marble floor, watching men glide by in their bowler hats and frock coats, searching for one man in particular. There he was, James Dillon, a lawyer and friend of her husband?s, standing alone.

She walked toward him, grazing his arm as she passed, and waited for him to pardon himself. As he said the words she spun around and exclaimed what a delightful coincidence it was to see him here, so far from home. She was in town briefly on some private business. In fact, she was on her way to her father?s house, would Mr. Dillon be so kind as to escort her there?

Dillon, happy to oblige, hailed an open carriage. Cassie gave the driver an address: 2 East 91st Street, at Fifth Avenue, and kept up a cheery patter until they arrived there?at a four-story mansion belonging to steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. She tried not to laugh at Dillon?s sudden inability to speak and told him she?d be back shortly. The butler opened the door to find a refined, well-dressed lady who politely asked to speak to the head housekeeper.

Read more »

Kiwibank successful at keeping banking costs down? Apparently not.

One of Labour’s big claims and justifications for them deciding to launch an insurance company to compete with the other 96 insurance companies in New Zealand was that Kiwibank had done a wonderful job of keeping banking costs down.

Hmmm…the NZ Herald reports something altogether different from Labour’s claims.

New Zealand’s big four banks collectively made more than $3.5 billion of profit in the last year in another record year for the sector.

Profits grew more than 9 per cent on 2011/12 – a boost of $303 million across the ANZ, Westpac, ASB and BNZ.

John Kensington, head of financial services at KPMG, said loan growth, lower funding costs and less pressure in competing for deposits had helped boost the bank profits.

At the same time the banks had also managed to keep a tight lid on costs while holding on to their margins. ? Read more »

Why isn’t this the biggest privacy scandal of the year?

I’m sure we all remember the “outrage” about the GSCB bill legalising the spying on a dozen or so kiwis during a year.

I’m sure we all remember how this tore at the fabric of society and it was the beginning of the end.

Well, you might be right.

A Whaleoil investigation shows

A man who was told after a knock at the door that he was $22 million richer initially thought his visitors were real estate agents.

He now says he is “really, really chuffed” that he was tracked down – after not bothering to check his ticket because a workmate said the prize had been claimed.

Lotto NZ officials had tracked the Christchurch man down after he had failed to realise he was sitting on the winning Big Wednesday ticket.

Aww, that’s nice. ?How did they track him down? ? Read more »


Millionaire Bludgers Too Stupid To Play With Risk

We all know farmers are bludgers and whingers.

They are now complaining they are too stupid to understand basic contracts, despite most being multi-millionaires all capable of getting independent legal advice if their arms were long enough to reach into their deep pockets.

Some farmers say they relied on their banks – notably National Bank and Westpac – for advice and did not understand the true nature of the risks they were taking on, though the contracts they signed stated they did understand and that the banks owed them no fiduciary duties.

So either farmers are unsophisticated stupid accidentally wealthy ?bludgers needing laws to protect them from signing documents they are too dumb to understand, or they are successful “entrepreneurs” who are the backbone of the country…….still too dumb to get advice or read contracts before signing.

Next they will be wanting corporate welfare and bailouts…oh wait!


First newspapers, now banks?

via Andrew Sullivan

Interesting comments ont he demise of traditional media.?Especially?worth reading the link on?democratizing effect of technology

We?re pretty much in a perma-recession, small banks are?failing left and right, the biggest ones get bailed out, but the people who are in charge of the financial world?which is now optimized for algorithms, not people?are still burning $100 bills to light their?Cohibas.

Isn?t this the kind of primordial soup that spawns an industry?s overhaul? I mean, people in my line of work got our asses handed to us by the?democratizing effect of technology. Journalism used to be a few powerful people dictating what information you need to know, and now look at us. Blogs, twitter, well, I don?t need to rehash this old saw. Journalism was gutted by technology, in some cases for better, in some cases for worse.