Monday, 1 June 2009

The dark side of Polish banking?

The title speaks for itself, below I paste an article from the today’s issue of “Dziennik”, which gives an overview of malpractices and pathologies of target schemes in force in our banks. I’m getting on (successfully) with my examinations so I can’t find time to translate the whole article into English, some key or curious excerpts are translated (or rather summarized) under the Polish version. I won’t comment on it, all the readers of this blog are wise enough to draw their own conclusion. With this food for thought – good appetite!

The confession of four bankers “ashamed of walking down the street”. Bankers bend the rules just to live up to their superiors’ expectations. They foist bank products on their friends, acquaintances, members of families, sometimes the product sold them becomes a burden, that’s why one of the bankers is afraid to look in his friend’s face… They take up roles of debt collectors, hounding the defaulting creditors… All four interviewed bankers are no longer under illusion of bright future. When they started their careers in banking a few years ago banks were reputable institutions and the profession of banker was held in high esteem. Today mud is slung on bankers, however they deserved their fate. Some of them cannot resist the pressure, quit their job or turn to tranquilizers to get by. The key factor to blame is the remuneration scheme – bankers have a diminutive fixed salary, which is supplemented by commission, of course depending on the sales figures. The amount of money they get is conditioned on the amount of innocent clients dragged into the mire of current accounts, credit cards, insurances, etc. The ones who fail to meet the target (PL: wyrobić plan) are sacked. In spite of the crisis, nonetheless the targets were not cut back – an “advisor” is expected to sell as many loans as before the collapse – but nobody deigned to notice the number of creditworthy clients shrunk by a half!
That’s why bank salespeople resort to various tricks to meet the targets…
a) Stealing one another clients – to get the colleagues commission – mean?
b) Opening accounts, credit cards, etc. for the family members, friends, etc. Employees of one of the bigger banks were taking down the deceased’s names from graves and opened accounts for them, even paid the account fees for them just to get the commission.
c) Opening the accounts and flogging credit cards to the credit applicants (allegedly to make a credit decision) – a patent of one of the banks
d) Lying to the clients about the terms of insurance, fees, etc.
Some of the banks added to their salespeople’s scope of duties debt collection – what makes them similar to the loan sharks like Provident – uncivilized world in a word… The bankers are bound to visit the defaulters in their crack houses (any better translation of Polish word “melina”?), some come back jittery, like Provident’s agents they risk their health and lives.
Another remarkable example: one of the bankers foisted a loan, insurance policy and mutual funds on his professor. Having got drunk the bragged about his feat, then someone blabbed it to the professor, to save his face, the guy had to sell his car and clear his own bank account.
In some branches salespeople even pass the hat round to pay off the bad debt… Just to get the commission. Commission which has become a deity for them…

The pathology runs deeper – it’s source should be traced back to the unprincipled, full of themselves, SMALL bank executives who set infeasible targets.

In the centrally planned economy directors of the state-owned plants lower their capacities to exceed the plan and get the bonus. In the market economy bankers lean over backwards to meet the target and do not hesitate to play foul to do that.

Few weeks ago I found out how it feels like – after opening a deposit in the bank saleslady asked me if I didn’t need a cash loan in the amount equal to the amount of deposit. At first I asked myself if she really thought I was an idiot – if I had needed that money I would simply have spent it instead of paying it into a bank and taking out a loan on the much higher interest rate. Not much later I realized she asked me hoping to make the next step on her way to reach the target…

Sorry for the quality – I’ve been writing this post in haste. The next one comes on Thursday!

1 comment:

news said...

Sounds just like the banks in Britain. Right down to the ¨know longer proud to be a banker¨ comments.

One trick is to contact you and say your account is due ¨for an annual review.¨ So you waste your lunch hour for a face-to-face meeting at the bank. What follows in simply an attempt by a junior salesperson to extend an overdraught, sell you a loan, a new mortgage, or household/travel insurance. You have to feel sorry for the salesperson, they are simply trying to meet targets and earn a decent salary.