Scam has been working flat-out to solve the technical glitch that is frustrating the customers of Scambank, who apparently think the money in their accounts is theirs to do with as they wish.
“Were you not supposed to be at some sort of Scam sales away-day and motivational teambuilding session this week?” I asked the chairman of the implausibly-sized investment company Second Coming Asset Management as we enjoyed a couple of pints of Double Ton at The Blessing On Each And Every Regular Reader – All Three Of You.
“It certainly would have been nice,” said the chairman through gritted teeth. “Only you may have noticed one or two other minor issues have cropped up on our corporate plate since last we spoke – primarily with our Scambank operation.” “A few small IT glitches, perhaps?” I guessed. “That’s just how I described them,” nodded the chairman.
“OK – so no Scambank customer has been able to pay any direct debits or standing orders over the last three or four weeks. Or use their cashpoint cards. Or their chequebooks.
Or basically access their money in any way whatsoever. We’ve been working flat-out to fix the problem. We’ve visited the help desk at the Brent Cross PC World and almost every computer shop on the Tottenham Court Road. (Scam continues below)
“What more do they want from us?” “What indeed?” I sighed. “I suppose they are making that age-old mistake of all non-banking types in thinking that when they pay money into an account it remains theirs to do with as they wish – as opposed to the bank’s to do with as it wishes.” “Well, exactly,” the chairman enthused. “Couldn’t have put it better myself. Ah … you’re being sarcastic, aren’t you?”
“Just a little,” I nodded. “But tell me, has Scambank been involved in any of this monkeying about with Libor and Euribor?” “Absolutely not,” the chairman assured me. “Though only because the big boys won’t let us play in those games. As such, we have had to make do with participating in the Utterbor and the Liethruteethbor.”
“I see,” I saw. “And could you define ’participating’?” “I know what you’re driving at,” said the chairman. “So, before you start judging our Scambank traders on their actions – or, worse, on the admittedly quite alarmingly high testosterone levels displayed in their email communications with their submissives, sorry, submitters – let me ask you this.
“If only one bank is massaging its lending rate numbers, then obviously that is a bit naughty, but what if you know everybody else is at it? I mean, isn’t that what makes a market? If we are all nudging the figures to our own best advantage, then isn’t there a chance we may eventually arrive at the right overall number albeit in a not very right way? At the end of the day, who really gets hurt?”
”If only one bank is massaging its lending rate numbers, that is a bit naughty, but if we are all nudging the figures to our advantage, who really gets hurt?”
“You mean, aside from the many, many, many people who may have lost out by owning one of the many, many, many financial products that reference the various ’Bors’?” I asked. “There you go again with this strange idea that banking is about customers, not banks,” sighed the chairman. “If you insist on clinging to such an extraordinary notion, I’m not sure how we can continue this conversation.”
“Actually, in the wake of these Libor manipulation stories, I have been struggling to think what new revelations about banks would genuinely surprise me any more,” I said. “That they have been working with organised crime to collect overdue mortgage payments? That they have been investing in Al Qaeda ’as a bit of a punt’? That they are the front for some alien master plan to take over the world?
“Nope – those all sound pretty plausible possibilities to me now. Hang on, I suppose finding a banker with any concept of the degree of contempt in which the general public holds their sector or indeed one having even a rudimentary grasp of the difference between right and wrong would be a shock.” “Please don’t start trying to bring morality into this,” sighed the chairman.
“OK,” I said. “But might you even be forgoing your bonus on this?” “As chairman of Scambank?” the chairman clarified. “Absolutely – though only because we’ll be lucky to have any cash at all once the FSA has finished with us. I’m just grateful it’s never occurred to them to start banning or even jailing bankers for our little peccadilloes.”
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