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No, not that bank.

swamiOFswank 26 March 2009 29

This afternoon right outside the front door of the Salvo’s store at Mitchell, a well-presented blonde woman representing Citibank was approaching customers entering and exiting the Salvo’s offering credit cards and debt consolidation together with the offer of a loan with 6.something% interest.

I realise I’m taking the moral high ground here, but honestly, how low can a bank or its representative stoop?  I thought it was a disgusting tactic to stand out the front of an op-shop enticing people who are possibly financially challenged, to consider more credit cards or a loan.  You could argue that it’s a free market, that the street is owned by nobody, or that she was actually promoting good financial management as a community service…

…but I’m far more cynical than that.

I just thought it was shameful.

/dobbing in a community disservice


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29 Responses to No, not that bank.
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what_the 10:33 am 30 Nov 12

I remember Commonwealth Bank getting busted handing out credit cards to remote indigenous people on welfare. Seems self-defeating if you already know your clients don’t have the capacity to pay you back.

TheDancingDjinn 10:22 am 30 Nov 12

Felix the Cat said :

colourful sydney racing identity said :

It is a sad reflection on the industry that this doesn’t surprise me. My two year old nephew received a letter from a particular financial institution informing him that he had been pre-approved for a credit card with a $5000 limit based on a very small bank account his parents opened for him.

I got a similar offer the other day, I think it was from Citibank as well. I thought this type of thing (pre-approved unsolicited credit card offers) were now illegal?

As neanderthalsis said, trying to sign up Vinnies customers isn’t that different to Harvey Norman and the like offering interest free loans to customers. Just because someone shops at Vinnies doesn’t mean they are down and out or on welfare, plenty of well heeled people shop there just because they are tight arses and like saving a buck. Go for a drive past one day (Saturday morning is usually the busiest time) and check out all the cars parked out the front. You won’t see many clunkers there, plenty of late model cars including the obligatory “soccer mom mobiles”.

While the customers may not always be “down and out” – the people who work inside, and live behind it are there for addiction treatment. It is a full residential rehab clinic for men, its called ManCare. Those guys don’t need that stuff, they are trying to get back up – not be destroyed by what I can only imagine is a pretty girl in some office wear telling them they really really need this credit card. Also, Harvey Norman will not give credit to someone with no current credit that is not damaged, its hard to get a GE card sometimes – but this looks like they are making it easy for people already in dire straights to make bad decisions.

Duffbowl 9:40 am 30 Nov 12

Before we feel smug about not dealing with Citiwank, you might want to check what institutions operate your credit card on behalf of your bank. I know at least three banks with branches in Canberra that have their credit card services provided by Cw. They are nefarious and ubiquitous.

For the record, the bank that I use (no names, no bull rings) makes use of Cw, and I’ve not heard the staff have a single good word to say about their services or methods. Unfortunately, tellers and service officers have very little say in how their employers do things.

Deref 8:56 am 30 Nov 12

Pssst! Feelthy postcards? Genuine Rolex watches? Fake IDs? Credit cards?

It reminds me of a joke:

Why is the Irish unit of currency called the Punt?

Because it rhymes with bank manager.

SusanV 8:18 pm 29 Nov 12

Reality is it is mostly people who have lost their jobs due to the current economy who have been forced to turn to credit cards. No reasonable answers for those in that situation have been given. Credit cards are pretty much unregulated and they will do what they darn well please putting; balances way out of reach for some. The economy today is so much different from periods experienced before and who knows when we will get out of current depression like phase. Don’t place judgement on all those having financial hardship and having to turn to their credit cards or installment loans for bad credit. Try actually walking in their shoes in this employers choice job market.

joy123 12:42 am 02 Apr 09

People who are desperate do desperate things, I only hope they didn’t fall into that trap

Felix the Cat 9:04 pm 26 Mar 09

colourful sydney racing identity said :

It is a sad reflection on the industry that this doesn’t surprise me. My two year old nephew received a letter from a particular financial institution informing him that he had been pre-approved for a credit card with a $5000 limit based on a very small bank account his parents opened for him.

I got a similar offer the other day, I think it was from Citibank as well. I thought this type of thing (pre-approved unsolicited credit card offers) were now illegal?

As neanderthalsis said, trying to sign up Vinnies customers isn’t that different to Harvey Norman and the like offering interest free loans to customers. Just because someone shops at Vinnies doesn’t mean they are down and out or on welfare, plenty of well heeled people shop there just because they are tight arses and like saving a buck. Go for a drive past one day (Saturday morning is usually the busiest time) and check out all the cars parked out the front. You won’t see many clunkers there, plenty of late model cars including the obligatory “soccer mom mobiles”.

Jonathon Reynolds 3:37 pm 26 Mar 09

PBO said :

Is that even legal?

No it is not – unless of course the Minister is now issuing exemptions for the banks to undertake such activity.

Part 2 “Hawking in Public Places”, 14. Restriction on hawking near commercial premises, of the Hackers Act 2003 states:

14 Restriction on hawking near commercial premises
(1) A person commits an offence if—
(a) the person carries on business as a hawker at a location in a
public place within 180m of commercial premises; and
(b) the person is not an exempt person for the premises.
Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units.
Note An exempt person may carry on business as a hawker within 180m of
the commercial premises to which the exemption applies (see s 14 and
s 28).
(2) This section does not apply to a person who carries on business as a
hawker for an exempt person in accordance with the exemption.
(3) An offence against this section is a strict liability offence.

http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2003-10/default.asp

jakez 2:31 pm 26 Mar 09

LaLa said :

In a previous life I had some dealings with Citifinancial – an arm of Citibank that targeted low socio economic households with poor credit ratings for very high interest loans.

I don’t believe it is illegal, but totally unethical.

Tell that to the US congress.

LaLa 2:29 pm 26 Mar 09

It’s not new, they have been doing it for at least 5 years to my knowlege. They used to employ people to stand around at footy games in Western Sydney to hand out forms for high interest loans. As they were providing credit to consumers that were such a high risk I am not surprised they are in trouble now.

Someone once told me that the interest rate could be as high as 40% though that is totally unverified.

AG Canberra 1:54 pm 26 Mar 09

This is interseting given the current talk of toxic debt etc.

We took advantage of Gerry’s interest free period (actually ptovided by GE finance) with no problem at xmas. The staff did however confirm that about 30% of applications were being knocked back. And some when they could see no reason not to have the credit approved.

If I was a Citi shareholder and knew this is where they were shopping for clients – I’d be very annoyed….

screaming banshee 1:05 pm 26 Mar 09

I think Citibank were also offering a gift voucher if you spend with their credit cards. If you spend $10000 in two months they give you a $25 gift voucher, I cant really understand how they can afford to be so generous.

LaLa 12:31 pm 26 Mar 09

In a previous life I had some dealings with Citifinancial – an arm of Citibank that targeted low socio economic households with poor credit ratings for very high interest loans.

I don’t believe it is illegal, but totally unethical.

neanderthalsis 12:00 pm 26 Mar 09

Being “right outside the front door of the Salvo’s store” wouldn’t the Salvos be able to move her on? provided she was on their property and not wandering the street.

It is not really any different to Hardly Normal or Ptomaine offering intertest free terms to folks who could never afford to make the payments anyway and then enjopying the 26+% interest when they fail to pay their purchase off in the time allocated.

When the government and media is blaming predatory marketing and lending practices by banks as a cause of our current woes, one would think that a bank would think twice about approaching the potentially impoversihed and offering them credit.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 11:25 am 26 Mar 09

I believe Citibank are in the rather unique position of being both profitable AND insolvent.

jakez 11:18 am 26 Mar 09

GB I agree with you (except for your last resort). Boycotts and consumers using their market power are all part of the free market as well. The free market is merely the sum of unimpeded voluntary agreements and interactions.

peterh 11:14 am 26 Mar 09

aren’t citibank in strife now in the downturn? I wouldn’t be trying to turn away clientele when times are so bad.

GB 11:08 am 26 Mar 09

jakez said :

You could argue that it’s a free market, that the street is owned by nobody, …

We have aspects of a “free market” for finance shysters.

But the street is owned by us, not nobody.

The bank is morally wrong, and so we should act against it – by using our individual market power, force of public debate, and as a last resort our collective force through government action. Throwing things at the individual is probably about as useful and ethical as swearing at Indian call centre operatives.

“Its a free market” is never a good argument for inaction. You have to look at the results the market is producing, and decide whether you want to influence it.

At the moment, if this story is accurate, then this bank is bad; so no custom from me and mine.

Icepoet 10:46 am 26 Mar 09

“reminds me of an insurance company who has roving sales people that target specific demographics and sell based on the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) factor. Targeting people who are down and out, and sell the “life” insurance by telling the punter that they would leave their wife and kids with nothing if they didn’t sign up right away…”

Reminds me of a group of insurance/funeral plan companies who advertise mainly during Dr Phil and Oprah using ‘scaremongering’ tactics to convince people to buy their rip off plans.

Pommy bastard 10:25 am 26 Mar 09

I wonder how much commission this person was on? I wonder how they deal with the moral dimension of their actions?

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