Starve The Beast

17 Oct

In observing the “Occupy” movement now growing around the Western World, your humble blogger recalls an old wisdom story, attributed to a Native American elder:

“Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog, all of the time.” When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, “The one I feed the most.”

On the weekend I was reminded of this wisdom, upon reading the following article in Australia’s Sunday Telegraph:

Banks are handing out bonuses to staff who upsize your debt

BANK staff are being offered Christmas party bonuses, free meals and other prizes to push more credit cards, loans, insurance policies and other products to customers.

Australia’s biggest lender – the CBA – has launched a “double up” campaign to push personal bankers and tellers into selling twice as many products, such as increasing credit limits, each week.

The other three major banks – the NAB, ANZ and Westpac – are also forcing branch staff to meet stringent weekly sales targets as the “big four” battle for market share.

An internal CBA document obtained by The Sunday Telegraph reveals the pre-Christmas push to supersize customers – increase their credit limits, convince them to take out home and contents policies and open up new accounts.

“We are under increasing pressure from competitors who are looking for a greater share of our retail banking business,” CBA retail banking boss Ross McEwan says in the document.

The briefing reads: “The campaign encourages sales teams to double their sales productivity during October and November to earn double the fun (and funds) at their end of year team celebrations.”

Staff at the four major banks, which are expected to record a combined profit of $24.2bn this financial year, have also revealed the tactics used to win over customers.

Sales targets differ depending on the branch size and location. Convincing a customer to roll their credit card debt into their mortgage is a target winner.

At Westpac, each personal banker has a revenue target of about $3750 a week.

Selling a credit card earns $150 towards that goal. At NAB, a city branch with four staff would have to sell 72 products a week, while a teller has to make 10 “quality” referrals to personal bankers that result in a sale.

Personal bankers have to sell 13-16 items. Debt products are worth the most because they are more lucrative for the bank.

All banks encourage staff to “cross sell” so when a customer opens a savings account, staff are likely to offer an increased credit card limit or income protection insurance.

“Staff get really desperate, to the point where they will convince customers they need something when they really don’t,” a Westpac staffer said.

Even more telling, the small inset story accompanying this article, in the paper’s print version:

Bank staff say their targets are so high and unrealistic they are selling customers products they don’t need or can’t afford.

Staff from Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and NAB describe work as a pressure cooker and say they are forced to meet stringent targets – a claim all four banks categorically deny.

Workers say white boards are used in branches to track sales.

“We don’t want to be pushing debt on to people but you have the pressure of your job security hinging on it,” a CBA staffer told The Sunday Telegraph.

“A home loan is a life long debt. We shouldn’t be selling it like a box of crackers.”

After three years as a CBA teller, the “cut-throat” environment became too much for 20-year-old Tyson Adams.

“The whole time your target is being pushed on you really hard and it is never negotiable … it doesn’t even matter if you are off sick, you have to make it up.”

An NAB worker said” “It is not about whether you are great with the customers; at the end of the day it is how much you have either referred or you have sold.”

A Westpac banker said: “They give us lists of customers who have almost paid out their home loans so we have to call them and get them to borrow more, go get an investment property or something.”

Your humble blogger has a word of advice for the growing thousands in the “Occupy” movement, who are (apparently) protesting against Greed.

Just DON’T Do It.

Borrow, that is.

They say that “money makes the world go ’round”.

They lie.

Our world runs not on “money”, but on debt.

Your agreement to borrow is The Beast’s daily bread.

In the old Native American wisdom tale, the winner in the fight of good versus evil was the one that he fed the most.

A simple, alternative view of the same tale, is that the loser is the one we feed the least.

Starve The Beast.

“After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”

* Please see also “The People’s NWO: Every Man His Own Central Banker”

UPDATE:

Paying down (y)our debt, and refusing to take out more, is the fastest way to kill the Beast. Most people don’t even realise that the simple act of paying down debt (and not taking out more) reduces the banks’ “assets” on their balance sheet. Eventually, all they have is Liabilities (your actual savings, plus outgoing interest payments owed to you on your savings) … and no Assets.

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14 Responses to “Starve The Beast”

  1. Jodie October 17, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    Ugh, I totally understand the pressure to put people into debt. I use to work for a check cashing company, and week after week I would get “talked to” about not pushing the product on enough people. Finally I said enough is enough, quit and went back to school. Lol, to bad I graduated in the middle of an economic crisis.

    Thanks for sharing this story. 🙂

    • The Blissful Ignoramus October 17, 2011 at 8:34 am #

      Good for you, Jodie. I for one am proud of you.

      As more and more people begin listening to (and heeding) their conscience, things will begin to improve.

  2. Twodogs October 17, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Why do you think overlimit fees are so high? To encourage you to increase it! A return to the gold standard would put an end to most debt, alas I think the beast is too big to allow that.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus October 17, 2011 at 9:25 am #

      Paying down (y)our debt, and refusing to take out more, is the fastest way to kill it. Most people don’t even realise that the simple act of paying down debt (and not taking out more) reduces the banks’ “assets” on their balance sheet. Eventually, all they have is liabilities (your actual savings, plus outgoing interest payments owed to you on your savings) … and no assets.

      Australia’s post-GFC increased savings rate is one of the key reasons why banks are pushing staff so hard, to con us into taking on more debt. Their business model is in jeopardy … increased savings + debt aversity = major problem for banksters.

  3. JMD October 17, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    True enough TBI but there is a way to skewer the beast rather than just starve it.

    Don’t LEND to the Reserve Bank. As a dollar holder you are a creditor to the Reserve Bank & thus the government. Only with this public ‘guarantee’ can the government guarantee the debts of commercial banks, carbon credits etc etc etc

    Without the backstop of the government the commercial banks would have to be prudent or face bankruptcy. In times past it was not unknown for defaulting bankers to be strung up by angry depositors.

    But I’m not holding by breath, the lure of money is infinite.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus October 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      “skewer the beast”

      Indeed. Be still my beating heart – you’ll get me all excited with talk like that, JMD.

  4. JMD October 17, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    my breath

  5. Edmund Johnson October 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Greedy Banks.no concern to the peoples welfare.Staff do not do this to us aussiies.The vunerable will suffer greatly.and you all will be responsible for this crime

    • bushbunny October 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

      Even Al Gore is now championing the ‘occupy’ financial rebellion,(you recall that chap that started all this and is believed to be a carbon billionaire). How hypocritical eh? we have all been encouraged to borrow money in the past to gain the price of the product at today’s prices. However, add interest and you are not.

      It seems the riots or rather protests are gaining interest against the banks world wide. Won’t be long before shots are fired I suspect.

  6. Jazza October 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Go into any bank and they say when your business is complete,”Is there anything else i can help you with?”

    I knew this of the Commonwealth,having said such words as “NO, I don’t bank here usually” and “No thanks” as I turned away but earlier this year I was asked this at my own bank, the ANZ.

    I personally know one young woman who became so stressed having to meet targets, and face the carpet on such “appraisals” in the Commonwealth bank locally, she resigned and went elsewhere to work, saying she could never work in a bank again.

    Now I wonder why the banks feel bound to deny this subterranean policy?

    Do they know just how greedy this makes them look I wonder?? …sarc off.

    That said, people don’t HAVE to sign up to anything,and if we all showed our contempt for the high pitched pressure sales in some areas of our society we might just change things.

    This coming from a pretty mild mannered someone who has had enough ,and rudely today hung up on two different begging charities or salespersons , invading her personal space via phone.

    Dang it, my home is open only on invitation!

    But I think these protesters are pretty juvenile,baaing like sheep, give me a roaring grand Final crowd any day!

  7. Tomorrows Serf October 17, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Whilst ever we have a “debt based monetary system” we’re going to have serious issues to deal with.

    Few people have any idea that our “money” IS debt. Our borrowings, (car loans, home loans, credit cards, etc) are “assets” on the books of the banks. So as we borrow, we unwittingly expand the money supply.

    Their “liabilities” are your deposits in your accounts, which are then loaned out to other borrowers, due to the wonders of “fractional reserve banking” meaning that if you deposit $1000, they lend $10,000 (maybe more?) So while you get 5% on deposit, they make 50-100% by a process akin to monetary magic. And still it’s not enough for them. They NEED more, to fund their multi-million dollar bonuses and boon doggles.

    You could make a case to prosecute every bank CEO in Australia for trading whilst technically insolvent.

    Cut up your credit card, and tell your kids to do the same.. Pay down debt as fast as you can and resist taking on more debt. Barnaby hit it on the head.

    “If you don’t control debt, debt controls you.”

    Truer words were never spoken!!

  8. Twodogs October 18, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    Abbott should wind back the taxpayer, sorry, government guarantee as his second order of business.

    • Tomorrows Serf October 18, 2011 at 5:29 am #

      Couldn’t agree more Two Dogs..

      Last I heard, banks are private businesses. If they need taxpayer funded help, then start clipping some executive salaries FIRST….then tell them to go to blazes.

      And people, when you hear the word “government”, think “taxpayer”.

      The government has NO MONEY. They steal it from us then spend/waste most of it.

      Then they think up new ways to hit us up for more.

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