Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bankers behaving badly

Up the spout by Pants

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the cashpoint machine...

From Australia comes a banking scandal of tantalising chutzpah. Have executives gone back to paying themselves multi-million dollar bonuses while the rest of us pick through the wreckage looking for our lost pensions I hear you gasp. Is the pope a racist? No, no. That's boring BAU stuff. I'm not talking stuffy old corporate malfeasance here.

In the week when Gordon Gekko gets out of jail and relaunches himself onto the world stage with the self-penned Is Greed Good? (Now there's a rhetorical question if ever there was one), a band of lowly clerks in a Melbourne bank has been caught running a successful drug ring using the company's email system. Fourteen staff members at the ANZ's collections department have been implicated in the importing and selling of the party drug meow meow.

'ANZ spokesman Stephen Ries said a number of staff linked to the investigation had left the bank "some time ago", but he would not elaborate on why they had left, or if they had been sacked.'

'Some time ago' turns out to be about the time the Australian Federal Police started sniffing around. The employees were either sacked or resigned for 'breaches of the company's email policy' which presumably states it is not appropriate to use it for ordering drug shipments.

"We have been completely shocked by this matter and everyone at ANZ is incredibly disappointed at the matters the police are looking into," he said.

Disappointed? Yes I imagine any banking executive would be considering the lofty standards of probity they have come to represent. It's unthinkable that their underlings would want to exploit their position to enhance their personal wealth using means that a lot of people would think of as not exactly legal.

'We have zero tolerance on these matters and none of the staff linked to this investigation are with ANZ any longer.'

Zero tolerance! My that does sound reassuringly diligent doesn't it? Wouldn't you love to see the section in the staff manual that prohibits illicit pharmaceutical transactions? I know I would.

On a bright note. To all the downtrodden corporate grunts out there - when your company tells you their internal email system is 'strictly monitored', they are probably telling porkies. I'd go for it if I were you.