Monthly Archives: April 2012

Never Do a Favour for a Bank

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Earlier this week, an envelope was delivered to my rural mailbox, addressed exactly correct, postal code included, except for the name.  The return address only had the business name of TD Investment Services – no address of any kind.  Expecting a solicitation, I opened the envelope and discovered a stranger’s account number on a letter asking for further account information from the account holder, whose first name is George.  I nearly threw the letter out but decided that if I were George, I would have appreciated knowing that the receiver of the letter would have tried to notify the bank that their mailing information is incorrect.  So I called the number that was listed in the bank letter – the number associated with the Easyline telephone banking.  Through a series of automated telephone button pushes and using up approximately five to ten minutes of my time, I finally got to talk to a bank employee, named Rob.

This was not Rob’s lucky day.  I told Rob that I was in possession of this letter and hoped that he could have the information corrected on George’s behalf.  Rob seemed confused and didn’t seem too interested in helping me or George, but what could I expect from a bank employee.  Handling delivery mishaps like this are not addressed in the bank procedures manuals and banks don’t hire folks that make common sense decisions.  In fact banks test potential employees to make sure that they don’t use common sense.  Banks only want employees that are going to follow, to the letter, the procedures manuals so how is Rob supposed to know how to handle this situation?  Banks have created the ‘Robs’ of this industry – they’ve gotten exactly what they want.  And the customers pay the price for it. 

Rob told me to put the letter back in the mailbox and mark the letter as undeliverable.  But I knew that taking that action wouldn’t solve the problem because there was no return address on the envelope.   The letter would end up in Canada Post Lost Mail Mountain.  Rob also suggested that I physically deliver the ‘lost’ letter to my local branch.  I considered offering to deliver the letter directly to Rob but I don’t think that his hand would have been the receiving location that I would have chosen!  I explained that I felt that I was already doing TD a favour by contacting them to point out their simple-to-correct error. 

Rob told me that he couldn’t provide me with any information due to the privacy laws of Canada.  Fully aware of the privacy laws and fully frustrated, I told Rob that I didn’t call to get information, I called to give information in order that Rob could correct George’s account problems and demonstrate that TD Investment Services take care of their account holders.  Isn’t that what that cushy, expensive, green leather chair in all the TD ads is supposed to remind us? 

 I had just about had my fill of Rob and told him that maybe what I should have done was to try to contact George directly.  In this day of technology, it wouldn’t be too hard to find George.  This way I could tell George exactly what kind of incompetent folks he’s turned his money over to.  Maybe even suggest that George find a new bank.  I must have hit a nerve because this finally got Rob’s attention.  There must be a page or two in the procedures manual for this type of action because it didn’t take long for Rob to be very interested in what I had to say and instantly became my ‘friend’.    

 Rob took the account number from me and George’s full name.  I stated that I hoped that Rob would look after George’s best interest as I knew that he should.  Needless to say, Rob was not impressed with me and treated me as an annoyance in his day.  But wherever George is, he would be happy to know that I looked after him, in spite of Rob, and I don’t even have a procedures manual to tell me to do that.  It just comes naturally.  Guess I can’t ever work for a bank.  Did I just hear a collective sigh of relief from TD, RBC, BMO, CIBC……?  Maybe that was just a sigh from Rob? 

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Ontario Egg Producers Give Blank Cheque for 2012 Business Operations

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Though I didn’t attend the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the EFO, I did manage to take a peek at the 2011 annual report and financial statements that were handed out there.  Since the numbers contained in that document are as vague and disguised as a politician’s pre-election speech and absent of any 2012 budget figures, I asked an EFO attendee if any budget information was made available to the Ontario egg producers.  The reply was a definite and resounding “No”.  I thought the response was just a joke.  Wrong.  How could that be?  The two hundred plus egg producers of Ontario have given a blank cheque to a group of individuals who have landed the EFO smack dab in the middle of a multi-million dollar law suit.  Given a blank cheque to a group of individuals who provide only general information, when convenient and keep all details of the egg industry business behind closed doors.  Given a blank cheque to a group of individuals who are supposed to be ‘volunteers’ but wait!  That same group took home over $700,000 in ‘per diem payments and expenses’.  By the way, wouldn’t those payments be considered taxable benefits by the CRA?  Were T4’s given?  I think all of us know the answer to that.  Not bad for volunteers, eh? 

Since the past chair of the EFO likes to use ‘old sayings’, here’s one that definitely applies to Ontario egg producers after this lack of action at the annual meeting:  “A fool and his money are soon parted.”  Giving an open and ‘sky-less’ budget to the current EFO leadership team is completely incredible.  Where is the Chief Financial Officer, giving advice to the producers, telling the producers that it is a wise and necessary action to complete and approve a budget for the upcoming year’s revenues and expenses?  An action that promotes accountability.  Wait.  What am I thinking?  Isn’t the Chief Financial Officer or in this case, the secretary-treasurer of the Board, Harry Pelissero?  Is it wise for the keeper of the cash to be the same person that makes the decisions on how much cash to spend?  Why would Harry advise the producers to take a wise and proactive step to make HIM more accountable?  He’s just made it easier to avoid accountability for his actions.    

What are the egg producers of Ontario thinking?  Not thinking with their brains obviously!  I didn’t know the Board of Directors and the management team of EFO could have the same effect on the Ontario egg producers as a gorgeous woman has on a virile heterosexual man.  I can’t imagine that Harry is dressing that provocatively these days!  These producers are simply making it so easy for supply management opponents to make a case for the dissolution and/or major changes to the supply management system.   

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