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All Asleep at the Wheel- Citibank


mrttrain It is ironic that the tagline of Citibank is “Citi never sleeps”.

I received a letter from Citibank yesterday regarding the SMRT card that cannot be used from tomorrow onwards.

That is 2 days notice. If my wife and me had known earlier, we would have not topped up our cards when it was near zero. Now we need to go and line up at the ticket office to see if we can withdraw our money in the card.

Also, the thing that takes the cake is that the letter says that ‘upon expiry of your Citi SMRT Platinum Visa Credit Card, you shall be receiving the new CEPAS-compliant Citi SMRT Platinum Visa Credit Card.’ So if my card expires in December 2013, is that when I’d get the card? That’s ridiculous!

The letter did say what I can do to get the card. I must call their dreaded services hotline which is very likely to be super ultra busy and I’d probably be on hold like 30 minutes because the rest of the 400,000 customers or more are all calling the bank at the same time. Leading to stressed out call centre officers (who will probably be in an overseas call centre like in India or Philippines). And angry customers who will probably have to wait like a few months for the cards.

When I was a student I was working part time during holidays helping out Digital Equipment to maintain computers in the CBD area. As part of the job scope I had to look at the computer ID numbers of Citibank officers. These officers were, even to a young impressionistic me, larger than life, proud, mighty and with the aura of invincibility. They looked impressive then.

This aura was totally gone the minute Citi was deeply embroiled in the financial meltdown last year and staring at bankruptcy and was only saved by a massive bailout by the US government of around $50 billion. However, they still managed to pay their CEO, Vikram Pandit, $38 million in 2008 up from $3 million in 2007. This was despite the bank hemorrhaging money and needing government guarantee of $306 billion in risky assets.

$38 million for losing money. What hypocrisy, and they cannot even cough up the cards to replace the redundant cards or even think through a plan to send the card out in batches. I remember reading that Warren Buffet pays himself a salary of around a quarter of a million each year which he richly deserves since his company Berkshire Hathaway is making billions not losing billions.

Since the bank is obviously not interested in its customers. I am going to cut up my card tomorrow and cancel the card. I have lost any remaining respect I may have had for the totally comatose and unconscious bank.



1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikram_Pandit#Compensation

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citibank

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Musicwhiz said...
September 30, 2009 at 11:50 PM  

Hi Lemizeraq,

There is so much hypocrisy and greed in this world I don't even know where to begin. Suffice to say all this fiasco makes one a deep cynic, and I for one never trusted banks and their so-called caring for their customer. CEOs of large corporations are always paid astronomical amounts, even if they do not increase shareholder value. Richness undeserved I call it, but that's just the nature of capitalism.

Berkshire Hathaway is really like a one in a million case, where Warren lives like a simple man rather than a king surrounded by Ferraris and gilded suits. At least you can say there is one upright, honest and sane man amongst all the insanity. Sometimes, I think it's better to remain as a kid, innocent and unblemished.


Lemizeraq said...
October 1, 2009 at 10:55 PM  

Hi Musicwhiz,

Thank you for your comments.

Yep, I find that it is harder to relate to what banks are doing and how they take customers for granted, unless you happen to be a priority high net worth client. Those they will try to skin you alive :)

The rest they just ignore you or slap you with charges like what DBS is doing to ordinary people with small deposits.

Warren Buffett when he gave it all away with like 30 something billion puts every single financier in Wall Street to shame. Along with his relatively pittance of a quarter of a million.

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