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Home » Daily Briefing » Daily Briefing - 16 March 2017

Daily Briefing - 16 March 2017

A still shot of TD employees talking to CBC's Go Public.

Canadian news show Go Public has a simple methodology. It invites complaints from the public — much in the same way as the CFPB in the US. It's likely that the Wells Fargo cross-selling scandal prompted three tellers at TD Bank to approach Go Public with their own stories of a high-pressure sales culture at TD. The story first aired on Monday 6 March, with a second slot following on Friday 10 March. Then the floodgates opened. Emboldened by the airing of the stories, employees from Canada's big five banks began contacting the station with their own stories. By yesterday the story had grown far more serious as emboldened employees shared their own stories. A sample quote: "When I come into work, I have to put my ethics aside and not do what's right for the customer," according to one experienced teller. "In nearly 1,000 emails, employees from RBC, BMO, CIBC, TD and Scotiabank locations across Canada describe the pressures to hit targets that are monitored weekly, daily and in some cases hourly," the broadcaster reported. "An RBC teller from Thunder Bay, Ontario, said even when customers don't need or want anything, 'we need to upgrade their Visa card, increase their Visa limits or get them to open up a credit line. It's not what's important to our clients anymore'." It's worth recalling that it was the CFPB that pushed the Wells Fargo story into the open, driven by complaints from bank staff. And why did those Wells Fargo staff complain to the CFPB in the first place? Mostly because whistleblowers who followed internal whistleblowing procedures at Wells Fargo found themselves vilified rather than rewarded for exposing wrongdoing.

The battle between Australian banks and Apple has reached the point at which the banks are now claiming that the tech giant's refusal to open up the iPhone's NFC antenna to banks will stifle future innovation in the country. The latest submission by the banks to Australia's competition authority — dated 9 March 2017 — points out that Apple has a larger than usual market share in Australia, making its control of the infrastructure all that more significant for the banks, which do have access to the NFC antenna on Android platforms. Also, it's a fascinating read that comprehensively lays out the arguments for NFC access, going so far as to reference other banks that have grappled with the world's biggest business. The banks point to other common apps on the iPhone which allow the apps access to the iPhone's microphone, camera and other hardware: "For example, a third party camera app can capture photos itself, and does not need to launch the Apple Camera app to take this step." The banks are insisting that an open NFC antenna will allow not just banks but merchants and providers to invent new ideas, which would have "public benefit". Observing the relation between mobile wallets and loyalty programmes, the banks are insisting that an overly complex wallet (Apple Pay) means a lot of fiddling around at the turnstile. The banks are also arguing that the current state of play means that public authorities in Canberra are essentially accepting an argument by Apple that no innovation in mobile payments is possible. By contrast, banks are saying that "access to the iPhone's NFC function would allow a future in which customers and merchants have a real choice of mobile wallets to suit their needs and preferences".

Japanese banks are eyeing Amsterdam as their European headquarters, according to Bloomberg: "Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group are bolstering their units in the Dutch city, where they both hold a banking license that enables them to serve clients throughout the European Union." Amsterdam will probably have a period of optimism now following the re-election of the Dutch centre-right party yesterday. It's a sign of how much politics has changed in the last year that the European establishment sighed with relief when far-right politician Geert Wilders failed to swing the Dutch national election to his party. "MUFG, Japan's biggest bank, sought to build its Amsterdam offices even before Brexit became a reality because it wanted the city to serve as a hub for operations on the European continent. Three of the lender's European offices already report to Amsterdam and it plans to add eight more including Germany, Spain and Portugal from the year starting April 1", Naoki Mizoguchi, Tokyo-based chief manager of the global planning division, said in an interview.

Michael Hasenstab bets against euro in populist hedge
UK creates body to coordinate corporate watch for money-laundering
Wells Fargo's new CEO got 17 percent compensation increase in 2016
US: Gmail on Android can now send and request money

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