I have written previously how CITIBANK's deceitful practices and predatory lending techniques functioned to almost send me into bankruptcy in 2003-2006. These 2 popular articles were simply called CITIBANK AND ME (Part 1) and CITIBANK AND ME (Part 2). I had planned to follow up on this by noting how CITIBANK and other large U.S. credit houses support a whole network of credit counseling and credit management firms. One of the more scandalous of such credit management firms, which I had been involved in, was U.S. Credit Management of Irving, Texas. I will discuss this further below.
The fact is that what Citibank and other banks are up to around the world is far more than a North American affair. (See Mikko's CITY BANK AND ME-A FARCE IN INFINITE PARTS.) For this reason Citibank-UK is getting its share of criticism in recent months.
My current financial manager in Kuwait calls a lot of the debt management schemes and investment con-games that are soaking the elderly "Cowboys". This is because the Brits and most of the rest of the planet have come to call the worst of American individualism and unfettered capitalism "cowboyism".
While I think such terminology is unfair to "honest hardworking cowboys" and "gauchos" around the globe, I think it is safe to say that when America talks about its image problem abroad, America's corporate actors are among the worst "cowboys" out there.
The obvious problem is that corporations and members of such organizations are not held criminally accountable. Further, America and world communities of corporatists fail to regulate each other. The late Anita Roddick once asked why are not such companies, like CitiGroup, Union Carbide, Exxon-Mobile, being kicked off of Stock Exchanges?
Roddick, who passed away this past month, worked hard to change business as usual around the globe. The following quote of Roddick's is from one of the last interviews the founder of Body Shop gave. (It was presented on Democracy Now recently.)
ANITA RODDICK: "I remember being invited to the International Chamber of Commerce some years back to do a talk, and I'm always invited, because, you know, I'm supposed to be a founder of a very interesting organization, top brand in the world and no advertising. You know, the question is, 'What can she tell us? You know, she didn't go to business school. I mean, she must have tripped, and this must've been a series of brilliant accidents. Well, let's see what we can learn. It's going to be really cheap bringing her over.'"
"And I remember always going into these conferences and never telling people what I am going to say, because I usually travel. Before I go onto a conference, I spend time in the area. And I traveled with the Huichol Indians, and I saw the pesticides that are produced, that are scattered in those tobacco fields, and all the babies that were born with no genitalia as a result. And within the audience were a lot of the heads of tobacco companies in this particular International Chamber of Commerce. And I was showing the slides and telling the story."
"And the most painful thing was their reaction. It was almost a coldless sense -- a bloodless sense of good manners. They clapped, they -- no reaction, no embarrassment, no shifting around in the chair, no -- you know, none of this. It was an acceptance: "Well, this is business. Hang on, you know, this is business. We've got business here. Now, come on, grow up. Now, you know, we're business people. We have to be strong about this." And it reminded me what Mahatma Gandhi said when he called this source of indifference is timid kindness, where you intellectually know that this is wrong, but that knowledge cannot move you to action, does not polish your human spirit to such outrage that you promise yourself you would never do these things, never be part of this."
"And so, the question, which is a big conundrum for many of us, is, why do people who are good and true -- care for their kids, are good in the community -- why are they so careless? Is it racism? Is it easiest to say -- is that, you know, well, we don't care that, because it's not part of our local community; this is not a local problem; this is so far away that we can't relate -- is it that? Is it because we have a language which approves of this? You know, we approve of this. This is a language of business. Is it maybe the clothes we wear? The minute we're going into the office, we're wearing these suits and these ties, this new coat of appearance that separate us from who we are as fathers and husbands?"
"Whatever it is, it is fashioning a schizophrenia in many of us, or many business people, that allow this to happen. I've never understood how people can go to church and pray and ask forgiveness, but never ask forgiveness about their behavior. I can't get it. I don't know what happens or what -- maybe there's something in -- maybe it's something in the breakfast cereal that stops people having a sense of empathy with the human condition or stops them being imaginative to know the responses of their actions. I am utterly, utterly confounded. I do not know why."
Worse than adversely affecting the poor, there is also evidence that Citigroup and similar corporations are working continually against good governance and the commonweal. (Check out Jake Lewis' "Citigroup Bankrupting Democracy" for this and similar trends in multinational corporations born in America.) Profits-before-people is drilled into these people in the corporate world.
U.S. CREDIT MANAGEMENT
Now, if we want to see how the name "U.S." can become tainted within American borders quite easily through bad corporate greed and bad corporate management, let us look at the service company and credit negotiating company, now bankrupt, called U.S. Credit Management of Texas.
Recall that I had first become involved with U.S. Credit Management in January 2004 after (1) Citibank had unfairly charged me several thousand dollars in penalties and caused me to borrow more money from Peter [i.e., my family] to pay Paul [i.e., Citibank and other creditors] in 2003.
Recall, also, that (2) I had closed out all of my credit card accounts as of November 2003 and had originally worked with a more well-known credit counseling and management company firm out of Florida.