Maybe arrogance is a job requirement for bank executives.
Some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it, the BBC has learnt.What business is it of the bank how you spend your money? And why did HSBC demand that customers tell them why they needed their money?
The reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.Let's ignore the fact that most financial crimes happen in the process of getting money, not while spending money. Let's also stop with the side-splitting laughter at the suggestion that banks want to protect their customers.
Instead let's look at who is asking the questions.
Recall that two years ago HSBC got fined $1.9 Billion for laundering $7 Billion for Mexican drug cartels and $19.4 Billion for Iranian terrorist groups and a Saudi Arabian bank the CIA has linked to al Qaeda?
In 2008, for example, the CEO of HSBC Mexico was told that Mexican law enforcement had a recording of a Mexican drug lord saying that HSBC Mexico was the place to launder money.No criminal charges were ever brought against HSBC and the bank's charter was never in danger of being revoked.
It was because of this case that Eric Holder confirmed that banks are Too Big To Jail.
Then just a few months ago, HSBC got fined for laundering money for terrorists again.
A major U.S. bank has agreed to a settlement for transferring funds on the behalf of financiers for the militant group Hezbollah, the Treasury Department announced on Tuesday.Ah! So if you voluntarily report it, then it kind-of never happened.
Concluding that HSBC's actions "were not the result of willful or reckless conduct," Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control accepted a $32,400 settlement from the bank. Treasury noted, as did HSBC in a statement to HuffPost, that the violations were voluntarily reported.
Remember this is the same bank that after being busted the first time said: "The HSBC of today is a fundamentally different organization from the one that made those mistakes."
- HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver
These guys at HSBC, the same people who have repeatedly laundered money for drug cartels and terrorist groups, crimes that would send you to jail for life if you did them, are now demanding you tell them what you want to do with your $5,000 dollars because of some new found fear of criminal activity!
The hypocrisy meter has been pegged.
Of course there may be a perfectly sound reason for HSBC's actions.
A Hong Kong-based research firm has warned investors that HSBC has overstated its assets by £50bn and will therefore need to inject £70bn worth of capital by 2020.If you find yourself short $80 billion, you might not want people to pull out their cash, and you might be more willing to look the other way when drug cartels and terrorist groups want to launder their money through your bank.
One thing is for certain, if HSBC really is in trouble, it would be a shock to the system at least as big as Lehman Brothers.