Bankers aren’t too popular these days, but causing the credit crunch is just one of the many reprehensible things they’ve done. Forcing people from their homes, destroying the rainforest and financing the arms trade all feature in 10 Unethical Things Banks Do With Your Money.
If you’re like me, you think that when you deposit money in a bank, the bank takes that money, puts it in a mattress with your name on it, and has a fat guy sleep on top of the mattress so that nobody can take it. Not true. It turns out, when you give your money to a bank, uh, what they, uh, do with it is, uh, anything they want.
We give a bank our money to keep it safe for us, and then the bank turns around and gives it to someone else in order to make money for itself. Banks can legally extend considerably more credit than they have cash. Still, most of us have total trust in the bank’s ability to protect our money and give it to us when we ask for it.
10Financing Land-Grabbing Companies
The National Austria Bank lent 200 million dollar to a palm oil company linked to land-grabbing. The company illegally cleared land with fire and took land from indigenous tribes with no consent.
09Racist Lending policies
Evans Bank was accused of refusing loans for homes in areas with large black populations. The entire town of Buffalo, NY – home to 75% of the city´s black population – was redlined.
Banks rearrange transaction times to maximize the number that will trigger an overdraft. Large payments are moved to earlier in the day, meaning more smaller payments will lead to overdraft charges.
07Banks Enable Blood Diamond Trade
Old Mutual had stakes in a Zimbabwean diamond company linked to the blood diamond trade. The company reportedly had miners beaten, handcuffed and mauled by attack dogs.
In 2010 US bank were caught approving foreclosures without assessing paperwork. 3.8 homes were falsely foreclosed, driving thousands of families into homelessness.
05Financing Illegal Deforestation
Westpac financed WTK group, who illegally Papua New Guinea´s rainforests. They used force to make local sign over land. The logging led to water pollution and food shortages.
04Money laundering Drug Money
Murderous drug gangs laundered billions of dollars through Wachovia Bank. Money paid for planes which carried 22 tons of coke during Mexico´s drug-war, which killed over 22.000 people.
03Moving Terrorist Money
HSBC were accused of moving money for Al Rajhi, a Saudi Arabian bank with terrorist links. Al rajhi was a key financier of Al Qaeda and provided money to one of the 9/11 hijackers.
02Funding Cluster Bomb Production
139 banks invested 24 billion dollars in companies producing cluster bombs. Commonly used in the Syrian conflict, the weapons have caused over 260 deaths.
01Financing Companies Using Child Labor
ANZ financed a Cambodian sugar plantation which employed children as young as seven. Plantation gave no training – 1 woman was killed by a harvester while asleep in the field.