Bottom left: Mr. James Crosby; Bottom middle: Mr. Werner Schmidt, and Bottom right: Mr. Alexander Lebedev”
Once considered heroes, some bankers finally turned to be cynical businessmen, by leveraging their power, money and influence to take bad decisions that affect millions and even using their financial knowledge and contacts to break the law in dubious manners.
Octavio Rojas, international communication expert, published author and PhD candidate, while preparing his next book “Fintech Disruption”, recently conducted a worldwide poll of the “World’s Worst Bankers” in which close to 12000 people participated.
“From my study, I realised that the bad reputation of bankers would be a big problem for traditional banks, and a big opportunity for startups with young, trustable CEOs with no reputation issues. I have to point out that just a few of the traditional bankers have ended in jail or even being prosecuted, while common people have been incarcerated for demonstrating against them or have to face difficult times due to the economic crisis,” says Mr. Rojas.
The result of the polls indicate that bad bankers are perceived as people who used their privileges to even break the law.
Bernard Madoff – Voted as Worst Banker in America (and with more votes to nominate him as the Worst Banker in the World).
Mr. Madoff admitted he had never made any legitimate investments with his clients’ money. Instead, he simply deposited the money into his personal business account at Chase Manhattan Bank (turned JPMorgan Chase). He may have earned as much as $483 million by using the money in his bank account. He finally has been given the maximum prison sentence of 150 years for masterminding a massive fraud that robbed investors of $65bn. (Source)
Rodrigo Rato – Voted as the Worst Banker in Spain
Mr. Rato’s was chairman of Bankia, a giant Spanish bank, which collapsed under his stewardship in 2012, aggravating Spain’s financial crisis and pushing the country to seek a bailout for its ailing banks. In 2015, he was detained by the tax authorities and the police in Madrid as part of an investigation into fraud and money laundering. (Source)
Alexander Lebedev – Voted as the Worst Banker in Russia
Mr. Lebedev, KGB’s ex-officer and chairman of board of russian National Reserve Corporation, has acted as a fierce opponent of the offshore companies and seemingly fought against corruption, but he recently appeared in the “Panama Papers” related to Barzia Holdings, Inc., and he is also linked to “Immortales International Inc.”, both under the jurisdiction of British Virgin Islands. There is an open investigation in Russia to clarify if he and his bank have attempted to circumvent the tax requirements by using offshore financial models. (Source)
Werner Schmidt – former chief executive of the German bank BayernLB
A German court handed former BayernLB Chief Executive Werner Schmidt a suspended prison sentence of 18 months for bribing an Austrian politician when acquiring Hypo Alpe Adria (HGAA). The sentence is one of only a few cases where a German bank manager has faced punishment for actions that led to the near-failure of a business during the financial crisis. Schmidt, who stepped down in 2008, has admitted to bribing the now-deceased head of government of Austria’s Carinthia state, Joerg Haider, during negotiations to buy the bank. (Source)
James Crosby, former CEO Halifax
Mr. Crosby had escaped criticism over his role in HBOS’s collapse that triggered a £20bn taxpayer-funded bailout, but questions mounted in 2009 when a whistleblower told the parliament he had warned Crosby about the bank’s dangerous lending. A subsequent parliamentary inquiry labeled Crosby as the architect of HBOS’s destruction, prompting calls that he should be barred from working in the City. (Source)
The author and the study
“Some of these results can be striking for some, because they may miss many other bankers who have been involved recently in scandals throughout the world. For instance, the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo in the US or the statements from Kweku Adoboli, a former USB employee in the UK, indicating that the culture of financial institutions is to compel their employees to give results at any price”, said Mr. Rojas, author of several books published in Spain and distributed in Latin America and the United States, as well as researcher and university / business school professor in International Communication, Marketing and Business School and speaker in Spain, Mexico and Ecuador during more than 20 years.
Mr. Rojas indicates that “studies on white-collar crimes are not abundant, even after the current global economic crisis, but recently Eugene Soltes, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, wrote “Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal”, in which he provides ‘insights into why some of these criminals see the immediate effects of misconduct as positive, why executives often don’t feel the emotions most people would expect, and how acceptable norms in the business community can differ from those of the broader society’”.
In a similar way, University College London professors, Neil Garrett, Stephanie C Lazzaro, Dan Ariely and Tali Sharot, indicated in the article “The brain adapts to dishonesty”, published recently in Nature, that “many dishonest acts are speculatively traced back to a sequence of smaller transgressions that gradually escalated. From financial fraud to plagiarism, online scams and scientific misconduct, deceivers retrospectively describe how minor dishonest decisions snowballed into significant ones over time”.
“These analyses could explain why bankers act the way they do, but it is not enough to explain why some do wrong and others do right. Most of them are perfectly aware of what is wrong or even what is a criminal behavior while doing their jobs, and not only keep doing what they are doing, but they also refuse to admit their mistakes and felonies”, explain Mr. Rojas.
“What is odd is that there are so few bankers in prison after having committed some of the worst mismanagements in their positions, reaching some of these criminal activities, and causing a lot of pain and economic hardship for millions of people around the world,” says Rojas and concludes “It seems that not only are banks too big to fall, but bankers too powerful to go to the prison“.
The study was conducted during July and August 2016 through the online application Easypromos published in the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WorstbankersintheWorld/ in 4 different languages: English, Spanish, Russian and German. The voting mechanism allowed to identify the IPs from where the vote was aired to have greater control. To promote the vote, a Facebook Ads campaign was launched in the 4 languages and with geographical segments for each country. Also, to foster voting, participants were offered to enter a draw of Xbox and iTunes cards.
Bankers nominated by country:
USA: Bernie Madoff, Hank Paulson, Jimmy Cayne, Sandy Weill, Stan O’Neal, Marion and Herb Sandler, Dick Fuld, Kathleen Corbet, Frank Raines, Joe Cassano, Alan Greenspan and Angelo Mozilo.
Spain: Manuel Escribano, José Luis Méndez, Lucas Hernández, Francisco Fernández, Roberto López Abad, Josep Maria Loza, María Dolores Amorós, Ricard Pages, Domingo Parra, José Luis Pego, Juan Salido, Manuel Troyano, Rodrigo Rato, Isidro Fainé, Angel Ron, Francisco González, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri and Ana Patricia Botín
United Kingdom: Tracy Garrad, Nathan Bostock, Joe Garner, James Crosby, Niall Booker, Paul Pester, Stephen Hester, Stuart Gulliver, Antonio Horta-Osorio, Ross McEwan, David Duffy and Jes Staley.
Russian Federation: Mikail Shishkhanov, Alexander Lebedev, Mikhail Fridman, Dmitryi Ananjev, Oleg Tinkov, Roman Avdeev, Aleksey Ananjev, Rustam Tariko, Mikhail Prochorov, Igor Kim and Arkadyi Rotenberg
Germany: Werner Schmidt, Martin Blessing, Michael Kemmer, Constantin von Oesterreich, Gunter Dunkel, Herbert Hans Gruntker, Dr Ulrich Schroder, Hans-Jorg Vetter, Thomas Burkle, John Cryan, Theodor Weimer and Wolfgang Kirsch
Company Name: ICMB School
Contact Person: Octavio Rojas