Thursday, November 06, 2014

Luxembourg Leaks

A consortium of journalists has published a list of 550 Luxemburgian tax laws: these 'Luxleaks' are now public on the site and told stories about how these are used by multinationals to evade taxes. See also this article in Dutch.

The destruction of banking

The site Follow The Money (FTM) has an article (in Dutch: "EEN BLIK ACHTER DE GORDIJNEN BIJ RABO’S BIJZONDER BEHEER") about the department for problematic customers of Rabo Bank, based on a number of interviews with former employees and customers of the bank.

In the past this department operated as you would expect such a department to operate: trying to get as much money from the customer as possible. Now things have changed and an important part in that has been played by the activism over the local oversight organisations.

Several former employees confirmed that they are judged on filing their reports on time and having checked all the points in the file and not on how much money they have saved for the bank. Rabobank is very afraid that its more than hundred semi-independent local branched don't have their files on order, among others because they got a fine a few years ago from the AFM (Authority for the Financial Markets) because there were problems in the mortgage files of some local branches. Oversight of the banks has also become much stricter since it was transferred to the European Central Bank. ‘Banks in Europa are under great pressure to make clear how many bad loans they have and whether they have enough provisions to cover them. That causes labor intensive administration that doesn't benefit the customer’, according to Sonja.

Nowadays the accent in the department is on "closing the files" and reporting. One employee describes spending five days to write a report on a client who went bankrupt a week later. Adapting a loan - reducing it or delaying the payment - has become a very burdensome bureaucratic process that needs several approvals.

The big question of course is to what an extent similar processes are happening at other banks. I am not optimistic.