To trust bankers or not to trust bankers

Banks have always promised us that they care about us, our personal data and finances; however in action we sometimes think how less they could care about the way handling our personal information.

Banks run very expensive marketing and advertising campaigns across the world but it seems very little given to customer service and security. Security is not necessarily the chip and pin technology or devices to minimise fraud; breach of security can simply be handing in someone’s bank details to someone else totally stranger.

Our personal data is the most confidential aspect of our life; we may talk about a night out but we don’t necessarily talk about our finances openly. How much one earns or where and how they spend their money is their little business and no one else’s. In today’s age and day banks know a lot about everyone’s business; thus they should act responsibly and authentically. Of course they do their utmost to keep it that way, but we unfortunately hear often that they failed on delivery.

Banks are supposed to be vigilant and protective when it comes to our finances and personal data; but do they really care to make sure our details are always safe and secured? They may say “yes” in their press releases and advertising claims; but the bitter reality says something otherwise.

Santander Bank personal finances and credit cards and loans and mortgagesOn 20 February 2012, one of the highly trained cashiers at Santander Bank in London handed in a customer’s bank statement to someone else totally by accident. It is quite disappointing to see how banks treat our data and so blatantly consider themselves entitled of astronomic bonuses. Of course the individual passed the bank statement is not the head of Santander but, she can potentially be one in the future.

The cashier however was very good at thinking how she could make herself a good commission by up-selling the bank’s other services to the customer who received someone else’s bank statement. But did she think of what would happen if a conman gets hold-off someone’s bank details so easily? Sense of ownership and sympathy with regards to customers’ personal data and security are skills seem bankers sadly failed to develop. Having seen this incident I remembered about unsecured banking system of Lloyds TSB back in 2008, when customers put certain amount of money in their accounts and soon after exact same amount was transferred to another account in a different country.

On above token, it seems banks never attempt to learn from each other’s mistakes or even bother to double check what they’re about to hand in to the customer standing in front of them. It appears carelessness in banking industry is the progression path for a few to make fortune through high salaries and bonuses.

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Ehsan has been working in social media and digital PR since 2006. He is a keen blogger and has over 40 published articles. He has spoken about social media and digital branding at the British Chamber of Commerce, University of Westminster, University of Milan and numerous startup communities in Europe. Michigan State University and Miami University have referenced his work in their study of social media in 2012.