Banks, of all companies, are expected to get the math right. But in at least one case, the numbers didn’t add up for hundreds of thousands of customers — and that cost depositors millions of dollars.
Citizens Bank agreed to refund at least $14 million and pay $20.5 million in fines for shortchanging customers who made mistakes on their deposit slips, federal regulators said Wednesday.
The bank engaged in “shoddy practices that deprived consumers of money that was rightfully theirs,” said Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
From January 2008 to September 2012, Citizens Bank investigated and fixed errors only if the discrepancy was more than $50. From October 2012 to November 2013, the bank lowered that threshold to $25.
The failure to fix errors violated the bank’s own promise in account disclosures to verify deposits, Cordray said.
“The bank chose to ignore these discrepancies and harmed many consumers by pocketing the difference,” said Cordray, whose agency was alerted to the problem by a whistle-blower.
Citizens Bank, which operates in the Northeast and Midwest, said that its practices for dealing with mathematical errors “could have been better.”
The bankster's excuse, after being caught in the crime was basically, oops! our mistake . . . we "could have been better."
This reminds The Gadfly of the late great blogger bartcop's law which states: Any time a person or entity makes a "mistake" that puts extra money (or power) in their pocket, expect them to make that "mistake" again and again and again.
Allow The Gadfly to dissect this for you dear readers.
A major banking institution, over a 5 year period of time, knew that customers were making errors on their deposit slips, errors basically shorting their own deposits, and the bank, instead of correcting the errors and notifying these customers of their errors, pocketed the mistaken difference and said nary a peep about it until a whistle-blower reported them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Holy fucking wow!
Here we have a case of a major financial institution outright and knowingly stealing money from it's customers in broad goddamn daylight, over several years period of time. And they damn well would have gotten away with it if an insider hadn't fingered them. But does this story even register so much as a 10 second mention on your mainstream tv or cable news? No. Why? Because your wonderful media has decided that the story of who Donald Trump is going to insult next is a much higher priority "news" story than anything else.
What is truly stunning in this story here is that this bank, at one point determined that maybe they were being just a bit too greedy by stealing upwards of $50 on deposit slip errors, so they dropped the maximum theft amount down to $25 - in other words, they actually were of the view that stealing less money from their customers than they were somehow exonerates their criminal behavior in total.
What is even sadder about this sordid story is that there will be no criminal prosecutions of the bank's CEO or corporate officers who knew of, and by their silence, were accessories to the criminal behavior. Nosiree .. for everyone knows that in the Plutocratic States of America only the poor and downtrodden go to jail for stealing. There's no telling how many millions they made off of interest on the stolen money or by investing it in the criminal playground of Wall Street. And that fine that was levied? Hell - that chump change will simply be written off on the bank's year end tax filing as a cost of doing business.
Oh - and let's not forget that if it weren't for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) going after these crooks, they would have gotten clean away with the heist. And it also needs to be noted that everyone of the Republican candidates for President has vowed to do away with the CFPB if they are elected - which should - in a sane world - be evidence enough demonstrating their manifest unfitness for higher office.
But this is the America that the oligarchs and plutocrats have always dreamed would be theirs dear readers - one where they can plunder and pillage with impunity. And the Citizens United decision by the black robed co-conspirators on the SCOTUS which declared that corporate entities have the same rights that you and The Gadfly have as individual humans and citizens, has only enabled their zeal to further consolidate their ill-gained wealth and power.
And now, frighteningly, as we head toward the third decade of the 21st century, a large portion of the American electorate is actually enamored with the prospect of electing one of these narcissistic plutocrats to be the leader of this country, and by proxy, the face of our nation to the rest of the world. Yes - The Gadfly is referring or course to this elitist asshole:
In one sense, The Gadfly wonders if maybe this self-absorbed buffoon isn't who America truly deserves. Let's face it, our oligarchs and their sand box known as Wall Street were primarily responsible for the global economic collapse of 2008. And after we little people suckers bailed them all out, they went right back to the rigged financial system roulette and craps tables as if nothing had happened, unconcernedly leaving financially ruined lives across the globe in their wake like a category 5 hurricane. And how did we as a nation respond to it all? By praising them and pretending that they are the best of America and naively trying to convince one another that if only we would just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps just a little harder, and sacrifice more of our blood, sweat, tears and what little there is that remains of our own crumb sized portion of economic wealth to the oligarchs, then one magical day, in the magical future, we too could all be independently rich and "successful" - just like them.
Sigh . . .
Maybe George Carlin was right. Maybe it really is just better to divest one's self from the demoralizing business of caring about the impending unpleasant and cruel fate that is awaiting this country once the hubris and greed reaches it's inevitable tipping point. The Gadfly supposes that going that route wouldn't be such a difficult undertaking if it weren't for the fact that The Gadfly has children and grandchildren whom he desperately wants to see have long, happy and prosperous lives ahead of them.
And therefore, on that note, The Gadfly fights on. Because The Gadfly sincerely feels that to give up hope and to meekly surrender his destiny to the greed and avarice of these cold-blooded plutocrats and the conservative political monsters who do their bidding, is the equivalent of selling out his children's and grandchildren's futures. And The Gadfly simply could not live with himself if he were to do that.