Financial Crimes Destroy CredibilityFinancial crimes seem to be occurring one after another － a domino effect brought on by a problem that is endemic in our society, from organized financial crimes such as "Chung Hyun-joon Gate" to individual acts of embezzlement, such as the case involving a Chohung Bank branch manager in Kwangju. Such acts as embazzelment, fraud, and various other illegal transactions are being committed all over the country.
The sums involved are often staggering, billions of won, and the means that are being employed to chisel, cheat and steal are getting bolder and more complex. It is not without good cause that financial institutions are now perceived as having degenerated into a hotbeds of crime and corruption. Since September, more than 10 major cases of crooked financial dealings have been reported to the Financial Supervisory Service. This figure would undoubtedly grow more were it to include crimes which go unreported.
There were financial crimes in the past, but now they are getting bigger and more frequent. If branch managers at reputable banks can''t be trusted, who can be? Attention must be paid to these financial crimes because credibility is the single most important asset a financial institution has. If it is lost, financial reform and the national economy will be jeopardized.
The primary cause for a crime such as embezzlement is a lack of a moral character. Those who have become intoxicated with the prevailing fantasy that making it big overnight is possible, even in a time of economic uncertainly.
The insufficient supervision of the financial watchdog and the lack of a mechanism to prevent financial crimes is partly to blame. It is urgent to institute a voluntary watchdog system within financial institutions. Banks should immediately reinforce their supervisory activities and, if problems are found, they should be reported to the supervisory organ. Bank employees should be ordered to take time off so that their conduct and transactions can be examined. A system of transparent reporting and supervision over all bank transactions is desperately needed. By creating an environment in which bank employees can work with pride would be an important step in restoring the damaged credibility of financial institutions.