Naked Among Cannibals: What Really Happens Inside Australian Banks

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Allen & Unwin, 2001 - Business & Economics - 306 pages
This insider’s story explores how Australian banks have lost the trust and respect of their customers by relentlessly pursuing profits. It describes the various new devices implemented by the State Bank and adopted by other banks to increase their revenues to the detriment of their staff and customers.

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This is a lively read for everyone, not just those in the banking industry who must be ducking, hoping the spotlight does not shine in any dark corners they have inhabited.
The current Royal Commission may have used this as a springboard to their inquiry.

Selected pages


The biggest bank heist of all time
From showdown to lowdown
The trusting sleep of the innocent
The end of the other state banks
Reinventing the Bank
Management by committee
Pricing Committee and barefaced effrontery
From revered to reviled
Transfer pricing rules OK
All go at Altco
Shades of Gray in Treasury
Give me the child and Ill give you the man
Show me the money
First State first rate
Going broke in broking
Bank for sale highest bidders not welcome

A muchloved borrower
Funny Money
Once were customers
An element of the fantastic
Cash for comments
Cries from the heart

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Page 62 - Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Page v - People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Page 291 - If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
Page 208 - The sense in which I am using the term is that in which the prospect of a European war is uncertain, or the price of copper and the rate of interest twenty years hence, or the obsolescence of a new invention, or the position of private wealth owners in the social system in 1970. About these matters there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever. We simply do not know.
Page xii - Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws.
Page 28 - Kindleberger's distinguished and fascinating book (Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises [Basic Books, 1978]) has ably demonstrated, economic crises have been with us as long as the market economy. At some point, greed overcomes fear and individual investors take greater risks in the pursuit of greater returns. A shock occurs and the market prices of assets begin to collapse. Bankruptcies of leveraged individuals and institutions follow. Banks and other financial institutions...
Page 208 - uncertain" knowledge, let me explain, I do not mean merely to distinguish what is known for certain from what is only probable. The game of roulette is not subject, in this sense, to uncertainty; nor is the prospect of a Victory Bond being drawn. Or, again, the expectation of life is only slightly uncertain. Even the weather is only moderately uncertain. The sense in which I am using the term is that in which the prospect of a European war is uncertain, or the price of copper and the rate of...

About the author (2001)

Graham Hand was deputy treasurer of the State Bank from 1988 to 1994, after eleven years at a major Australian bank. He became managing director of treasury at NatWest Australia before retiring in 1996 to write full-time. He still acts as a consultant to the banking industry and writes for Euromoney magazine.

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