Today’s Opinion: Safe banking

POSTED: 05/12/11 1:03 PM

Are ATMs really safe? We had to marvel at the action the Windward Islands Bank took this week after noticing that skimmers had been at work at their automatic teller machines.

The bank took a pro-active approach. Instead of covering up unsavory criminal activities, they took the news to their clients in a way that is best described as near perfect crisis management.

The whole financial system, be it in St. Maarten or elsewhere in the world, depends on trust. Clients must be able to trust their banks with their money. They must have confidence that banks do their utmost to offer financial services that keep their accounts secure. And when something unfortunate happens, clients expect their banks to compensate them for any damages they may have suffered.

As it stands now, this is exactly how the WIB reacted. Accounts are secure, eventual damages are covered, clients have nothing to worry about. That’s how it should be.

In the past skim artists have sent ignorant East Europeans to St. Maarten with a pack of forged bank cards to pump some money out of the system. These people have been apprehended and sentenced.

So far the WIB has reassured its customers and there is no reason not to believe the bank. While customers have to pay attention in how they handle their bank cards (for instance by not carrying their pin code written down with them or, worse, write it on the back of their bank card) the prime responsibility for safe banking rests with the banks.

It’s good to know that the WIB is aware of that responsibility.


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