We are living in a world of sharp contrasts. On one side, we have 2,153 billionaires who have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people. They have access to the most sophisticated banking and financial systems. And on the other end, we have over 1.5 billion people who do not have access to a banking channel.
In many a case, the poor are denied access to a secure bank account for the lack of a simple document to prove who they are. International banking standards demand that people opening a bank account provide specific documents, fill the rigorous 'know your customer' form, so that the banks know the potential customers are not involved in money laundering or terrorism. Yet, there are revelations like the ones exposed in FinCEN files that prove there are different rules for the common man and woman, and different guidelines for the rich and moneyed.
Between 2000 and 2017, a number of big banks helped their clients launder money or move it around in ways that break 'conventional' rules. Over $2 trillion 'dirty money' was moved around in ways that could not have happened without the help of the big banking system.
Oligarchs, criminals, terrorists were served for the sake of commissions and incentives. Lust for money has ripped the very institutions that we trusted in our drive to achieve a decent living for all by shoring up financial reach. Ethics have been sacrificed on the altar of greed. FinCEN files, just like scores before it, won't be the last. In a world where success is often measured in terms of bank balances, can we expect any change?
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