As the whole industry is several years deep into a crisis of trust, in which a very large part of the global population believes us bankers to be crooks and scoundrels, what do the business minded and innovative leaders of Barclays business strategy come up with to make a little extra money for the bank?
(Drum roll please…) they are going to sell their client’s data. Yep. You read it right. They are going to sell your data!
There is one thing that I have grown up with as a banker and that is that client data is sacrosanct. I mean sacrosanct. Absolutely, unequivocally not up for negotiation, end of. The only way to get me to release that info is by waterboarding me. (Sorry I ain’t Jason Bourne)
Client confidentiality and banking secrecy affects a banker’s life completely. It’s all encompassing. For example, in my circle of friends some are also my clients, my wife knows never to ask were I know people from, who I've met or where I've been when I say I've been on business. It’s that simple. Being a banker's significant other is not for the jealous type.
I am paid to keep secrets and dammit I will do it. This is the one thing we bankers pride ourselves on: We keep your personal stuff private. It’s not just a legal obligation, it is also a moral one.
I’m actually getting a bit agitated writing this and thinking about what Barclays has done. Reducing the way its clients live their lives to just statistics on a spreadsheet that can be packaged and sold to some marketer willing to pay for it.
Barclays have waxed lyrical about customer names being kept private and they won’t be divulged. What’s the point of selling the data if the buyer of the data can’t hit the person with some advertising? Who would pay for information that just says: “Based on our database, we know 4 million white fat blokes ages 34-48 who spend a bit too much on beer and crisps”??? Absolutely no one is going to pay for that. They want names and they want access.
So you can bet that when your data is sold, there will be some kind of program that sends some kind of advertising right into your email or Facebook wall. And if there is such a program, there is some spotty kid, sitting somewhere in Russia who can hack it and hack it they will.
All your life can be gleamed from your financial transactions and behaviour.
And that’s all I have to say about that.