miwahni (miwahni) wrote,

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Where did it all go?

One of the most tedious parts of my job involves checking through three months' worth of transactions on loan applicants' bank accounts, looking for undisclosed debts or ongoing commitments. It can be pretty time-consuming, especially on everyday transaction accounts that get regular heavy usage, and when I'm short on time and needing to get something approved it is downright annoying, wading through page after page of transactions.

When I'm not pushed for time, though, it can be pretty fun. It's always interesting to see how people dispose of their disposable income. For example - earlier this week, going through a customer's account, I could see visa purchases made at the local boating / camping / fishing store just prior to Easter, while the long weekend included payment for the car ferry out to the Moreton Bay islands. Then there were purchases at an ice cream shop, and an island restaurant, over the weekend. That customer's asset position had included a 4WD Landrover, so no prizes for guessing how he spent his long weekend.

And sometimes the info uncovered can be quite useful. One customer, recently, had been to Bali, and I noticed that there were a number of withdrawals on his account, all on the same day, and for the same amount. It looked suspicious so I emailed him and asked him to take a look. Turns out that they were all withdrawals from an ATM; the first one was genuine but the rest were not. It wasn't a deliberate fraud, but rather a machine error, and he'd have discovered it for himself when his statement arrived, but my call saved him the hassle of reporting it, and also strengthened his relationship with the bank. Considering our focus is to "surprise and delight" our customers, it was nice to think that I'd helped to do just that.

I'm constantly amazed by the amount of money some people spend on takeaway. One family was spending on average $300pw on dinners! Different priorities I guess. And that's the really interesting thing about the account search.

The really scary ones are those with $40k /$50k in unsecured debt - credit cards maxxed out, that they want to roll into their home loan - and a quick perusal of the credit card statements show that they're using them for lifestyle purchases; if you're putting restaurant meals and hair stylist appointments on your credit card, do you really want to be paying for them over the next 30 years with your home loan?
Tags: work
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