(Article published in the Jun 11, 2008
issue of Manila Standard Today)
There is noticeably a marked asperity and an increased alacrity in the manner of telecollectors calling on behalf of bank credit card issuers, particularly the foreign banks operating in the Philippines.
One plausible explanation--though certainly not an acceptable excuse—is that, despite the studied pretense in scripted introduction saying, “this is a call from “X” bank, the telecallers are really not organic to the banks they are purport to be calling for but are instead employees of some outsource service provider who could not care less whether or not you have had a long standing satisfactory relationship with the bank credit card issuer. Hence, the “you are just a account number treatment”.
The more understandable justification is the unhappy expectation, which the banks nevertheless had brought upon themselves by what others call their strategy of “predatory lending,” of a world-wide increase in bad debts in the coming months due to the anticipated global economic downturn.
Moody’s noted last May an
increase for the third consecutive month of the so-called “aggregate
delinquency rate.” The ADR measures the credit card payments that are
overdue by 30 days. Moody’s, whose assessments continue to be highly
regarded, despite its recent admission of a bug in its computer model that
led to erroneously grants to CPDOs (Constant Proportion Debt Obligations) of
triple A ratings when 1.5 to 3.5 notches lower were more appropriate,
thinks the natural consequence of this increase in the ADR is higher level
of defaults in the near future.
We credit card borrowers, compounding the problems of our being already over-indebted in the first place, are facing an increase in cost of living (witness the cost of fuel, for instance) and a decrease in income (witness the slow down in sales of both goods and services and even slower payments by those who owe us, including by banks themselves which make up every excuse to delay settling our bills). Credit cards, perceived as they are of in good times exacting blood-rate interest on revolved amounts, are certain to end-up way down in the payment priority list.
The marching orders therefore from the credit card issuing banks are to their army of barkers to increase credit card debt collection and to their marketing staff to become more strict, in reversal of previous strategy of shoving credit cards in the face of anyone who fits their computer generated profiles, in assessing the credit worthiness of applicants. Already, foreign banks have started to slow down credit card lending in 2005 and 2006 after a noticeable rise in defaults.
For the comfort therefore of my credit card creditors, who for several months now have been frantically trying to get me to pay my accounts, I am happy to disclose that lately I must have become the luckiest person I know. To them I hereby assign, transfer and convey, without recourse and at their own risk (in the manner that they securitize their receivables and sell them to their trust clients), all my rights up to the amounts owed by me as per their latest statement dates over what an e-mail to me said is a receivable from the United Kingdom.
Last 31 May, I got an e-mail from one who purports to be “Promotions Manager UK”. He tells me that I ought to contact a certain Mr. Hick Jeans to claim £2,000,000 GBP which I supposedly won in the UK National Lottery. Needed to be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org were, says the message, my name, address, age, occupation, telephone number, and country. Since I am paying my credit card creditors out of said winnings, I hereby ask them, in (but not on) my behalf, to supply instead the required information pertaining to the CEOs or countryheads of their respective issuing banks so that they could collect my winnings. To them too I also convey, pari passu, what may be in excess of what I owe on my credit cards.
In addition to the UK National Lottery, I also assign in payment to my credit card creditors the amount of the total value of £1,500,000 that my E-ID won, according to an e-mail dated 28 May 2008, by being selected in that week’s award promo of the British Online Lottery. Receipt of the e-mail must be acknowledged by e-mail address to Mr. Richard Cook at his address, email@example.com. Since basically the same data of me is required, the data of their CEOs given to Hick Jeans should suffice.
If my purported winnings from the UK National Lottery and the are not sufficient, I am throwing in, additionally, what, on 30 May, Kalabe Zongco wants to give to me. Kalabe Zongco purports to be a banker by profession from Burkina Faso in West Africa, allegedly holding the position of director of a bank named Bank of African (B.O.A.) Quagadougou. He says that one of the clients of the bank he works for died with his entire family in a plane crash that happened on 31 July 2000 and left funds over $15.5 million in the bank.
My credit card creditors must in my stead confirm, as required by Kalabe Zongco, the genuiness of the deceased’s death by clicking on the website, http:/newsbbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/Europe/859479.stm. That should be, for my credit card creditors, easy to do, since confirming the death of someone who is said to be deceased is as easy as their telecollectors saying that my account is overdue simply because the computer he or she is staring at says so, without regard to whether that very same day some payment to keep them at bay had been paid to their designated payment centers.
Kalabe Zongco proposes to split the amount 60/30 with me, the remaining 10 to answer for expenses. Kalabe Zongco, I am told, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. If my credit card creditors cannot contact Kalabe Zongco, they should try Kabo Uago, the head Accounts and Audit Department of, also, Bank of Africa, Quagadougou.
The message says the sender discovered an abandoned sum of US$13.5 million in an account that belongs to one of the bank’s foreign customers who died along with his entire family in 2002 in a plane crash. It is a bit smaller than the Kalabe Zongco discovered amount, but still substantial. It must be global warning that has caused at least two clients of the Bank of Africa at Quagadougou to die with their entire families in a plane crash in the last two years. My proferred share is 35%; he gets 55%; 10% goes to expenses.
If for some reason, my credit card creditors do not wish to collect from my foregoing benefactors, by reason, say, of professional courtesy among members of the same species, they would have no choice but to fall in line and quietly wait for full settlement as my finances will permit. They will get paid, I assure them, in cash or in kind; if they choose the latter, they will get of the same kind that they are wont to dealing with me now.