Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bank Buzz

Recently the Standard Bank identified "fraudulent transaction" in my old Church. I therefore asked the bank, among other things, to inform me of simple banking procedure. How did it work? What happened next was extraordinary. The bank's ombudsman sent me 13 pages of rules and guidelines, and a form to fill in, but nothing about procedure. Then the bank refused, in writing, to communicate with me further. So I made formal application for this information: "a copy of the bank’s procedure". The bank then referred me to 65 pages of legislation, and sent me another form to fill in, then another one, but nothing about procedure. They gave me a 16-digit security code, and I paid them a fee, and so on. But I suspected that it was all just cat and mouse. This morning, therefore, I walked into the Standard Bank, and asked a business banker: supposing I should open an account here? She told me everything, all of it, then asked me if I wanted to know more. OBSERVATION: Here's what I learned: the Standard Bank can fail to notice fraudulent transaction. However, it is not possible for a single account signatory to miss it -- at least, it should not be possible. Failure at this point makes the auditor critical. He should report "fraudulent transaction" to the members -- however in this case he did not. He himself was fraudulent. Then, at this point, an independent, professional review of the Church's finances becomes critical. But (the present situation) the Church Diaconate refuses the review, seeking first to amend the Church constitution -- which, the bank told me this morning, is the basis for all simple banking procedure.

POSTSCRIPT: There has been a strong interest in this post. Basically, a Church finance system can fail at four levels (or maybe more), one after the other:
(a) at the officers / signatories,
(b) at the bank,
(c) at the audit, and
(d) at an independent review.  
In my old Church, the system has failed at levels (a) to (c). This leaves a last safety net (d). However, the officers / signatories refuse to do (d). At least, they do not say yes to it, and they have put that in writing.

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