Bolivarian ironies

There are very few countries where people and companies are guaranteed the absolute confidentiality of their bank accounts. Not even in Switzerland!
Nevertheless, in almost all countries the authorities only have access to bank customer information upon presentation of a court order issued on the basis of a well-reasoned petition and for justified cause.
So it is difficult to explain why, on October 9, the Superintendent of Banks ordered all banks in the country to provide Sudeban with all the information of private individuals with average movements of Bs.400 million a month on their bank accounts.
This request by Sudeban is in contravention of the General Banking Law, compromises bank secrecy, and violates the guidelines laid down in current legislation.
This is an unheard of measure. First, because in the Venezuela of today it has become possible to use lists such as the Tascón-Chávez and Maisanta lists, promoted by the government and used against millions of Venezuelans who “dared” to call for the revoking of the President’s mandate. And second, because it is common knowledge and has been widely reported in the press and other media that data from Onidex (Identification and Immigration Office) on all residents in the country and which should be kept confidential can be had from many street vendors for just a few bolivars.
Evidently, no one can guarantee that the information Sudeban is asking for will not end up in the “secondary market,” particularly in the hands of groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) or the Bolivarian Liberation Force (FBL) or any common criminal to further boost the already booming kidnapping “industry.”
The other irony is that, the next day, October 10, Sudeban issued a circular instructing banks to increase their controls regarding “the reviewing and verification of the documentation” of their customers and to evaluate their customers’ payment capacity so as to “mitigate the risks inherent in the mass granting” of credit cards.
So, it is difficult to understand–much less excuse- how Sudeban has not lifted a finger to oppose the decision handed down by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (December 2005) or that of the Political-Administrative Chamber (March 2007) that suspended the use of SICRI (Central Risk Information System). This was the ideal mechanism for reducing credit risk as it allowed the banks to share information on users who default on their obligations.
It is truly ironic that the government, on one hand, forbids an instrument of proven efficiency for minimizing bank risks such as the SICRI on the grounds that it violates the right to privacy and, on the other, it orders the banks to reveal confidential information on bank customers.

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