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Do Bankers Lie or Not? – Georgian Businessmen’s Views

Georgian businessmen respond to the article published in the Financial Times.

Swiss researchers have come up with what they say is compelling scientific evidence that bankers have a tendency to lie if they’ll gain from it financially.

The team at the University of Zurich used game playing experiments to show “that the prevailing culture in the banking industry weakens and undermines the honesty norm, implying that measures to re-establish an honest culture are very important”.

The study, published in the leading journal Nature, probes the psychology behind what the researchers call “a dramatic loss of reputation and a crisis of trust in the financial sector”, as a result of rogue trading, rigged interest rates such as Libor and tax evasion scandals.

Two hundred bankers took part in the study (including 128 from a single unnamed international bank). The researchers divided participants randomly into two halves.

The Zurich researchers suggest a series of measures that could restore honesty to the financial sector. For example, they support the idea of bankers taking a professional oath akin to the Hippocratic oath for physicians, which would “prompt them to consider the impact of their behaviour on society rather than focusing on their own short-term benefits”.

CEO of the development company Arci Tornike  Abuladze agrees with the Swiss scientists. He says  that if bankers lie  in Switzerland, the problem is even much more widespread in Georgia.

In Abuladze’s words,  TV advertising on free loan is an obvious deception.

Businessman Lasha Papashvili believes  that not the bankers, but in general, people are inclined to lie. In his assessment,  better protection of consumer rights or the strict regulation of all service providers will help to resolve the problem.

Businessman Cezar Chocheli partly  shares this opinion. In his words, there  are “plunderer” banks in  Georgia ” and the banks that are more or less normal.

According to Armaz Tavadze, a founder of the insurance company Ardi,  customers do not like bankers in any country, but in Georgia these feelings have much more real reasons.

In his words, banks have massively used  our population’s  ignorance in the financial field for their own selfish purposes for many years . Along with that, over the years it was hard to find a businessman who had a good knowledge of finance.

“A lie, how else can it be called when years ago customers were offered such banking products which were directed to bankrupt them intrinsically. Unfortunately, the goal was achieved and today it  is hard to find healthy borrower in the country “, – Tavadzeadds.

Tavadze assesses  the current situation noting  that bankers have not lost a desire to cheat but the population has become more cautious and  do  no longer trust them. The state was forced to toughen up regulations to protect clients.

Businessman Anzor Kokoladze thinks differently. In his opinion,   to say that the bankers lie and others not, or vice versa, will be a little bit wrong. The banking process is the same business process in  any other company.

As Kokoladze adds, a bank as well as any company  can have a disguised marketing, so the separation of the bankers will not be correct.

Zurab Ramazashvili, Chairman  of the Supervisory Board of Telavi Wine Cellar, states  that he was not deceived by the bank or  the banker, and in general, nobody deceives anybody.

He estimates that every person who interacts with the bank should carefully read the contract and evaluate his own capabilities to avoid  misunderstandings.