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There are two sites that feature my podcasts. People who support them on the Web - find my palavering real fun. I jibe at politicians and others - whenever they deserve it. The podcasts here are separated into those in Macedonian and the few in English. There is "About me" page too and some family pics. I plan to run conversational Macedonian chats, but need experience. This is on an OSX platform produced on a GarageBand and featured by iMac on iWeb. This is yet another, my all-Macedonian language podcasting facility put together and maintained by my friend George Zafirovski, an interface Merlin who builds (quickly) his reputation in London, UK. He is quite professional. So

Monday, June 07, 2010

ABN-Amro Bank lies to its clients


When a respectable bank, say a bank like De Bank, that is ABN-Amro Bank, an iconic institution, sends a Statement to a client, one is bound to take it at its face value. The trust in the bank's integrity is probably the most important, the basic understanding of a relationship between the financial institution and its client. People may suspect that their bankers are greedy, people may believe that the bank managers take huge risks, almost gamble with the assets of their clients, people may be ill at ease with the lavish remuneration of the top executives and may doubt, like the Holly Father in Rome, the bankers' moral judgment when demanding usurer's interest rates.

But people never ever doubt that the bank will lie.
It is unacceptable that the bank will write "your order was executed" the payment was completed, your so much moneys were transfered to the beneficiary you have pointed - when actually the bank did not do it. To some smart lawyers this may seem a passable mistake. But it is not.

Mr. Gerrit Zalm, the CEO of ABN-Amro Bank and former minister of finance of The Netherlands needs to go to the bottom of this post documenting that somewhere down the line in the bank he guides there are people who lie, there are people who over-ride the software and after the client had received a written confirmation, a statement that his transaction was executed - annul it, make it null and void.

The other day I went to the branch office of ABN-Amro Bank in Amstelveen and the officer on duty volunteered, after he heard a part of my complaint, to prove me wrong, that such a thing is simply impossible, that I must have guffed it somewhere. He worked for couple of minutes on my account and when he got the statement Your order was executed, told me, satisfied: "You see. It is done. You probably made a mistake".

The very patient gentleman, his name is Alex de Waart, was willing to check wheter the amount was really debited from my account. His mouth dropped when he had seen it was not. His bank cheated him too and he was embarrassed. He said he had never ever seen such a thing nor he could believe it is possible.

The legal and the practical aspects of such a complex meddling with the software and the reputation of the bank, such an outright lie thrown at the face of any client are huge. Not only individual people but institutions, like the Belastingdienst (Inland revenue) or the notorious BKR are not expected to go and check the truth of a bank statement. This means that a cheating bank can ruin the lives of people and ABN-Amro certainly did severely damage my well-being and overall life of the last ten years or so.

The last time I had differences with some rather strange people in the branch office of ABN-Amro Bank in Amstelveen, Mr. Rijkman Groenink found it necessary to personally and in writing extend his excuses for the mistakes of his staff. This means that those people remain in the branch office while Mr. Groenink is gone. Long time ago I have met Mr. Zalm who stood for the indisposed Wim Kok, the then minister, during talks with a Macedonian financiers delegation. This time I expect that he may wish to go right down to the bottom of this sickness in one of his branches because this situation is alarmingly indicative.

In any case, I would be very, very thankful to any suggestions for legal help here. Is there a watchdog over the practices of the financial institutions, over misuse of the depositors moneys, are there legal ways to bring ABN-Amro Bank to the book for if this can happen to a small one-man-firm (einmanzaak) what would stop the same people ruining a large firm or misappropriate millions or billions of euros. I do not nourish much hope that a gallant Dutch
lawyer will ride in on a white horse to help me and save the face of ABN-Amro Bank.