AMEX joins the list of companies using short-sighted practices

Image credit | Clicknique

AMEX has been caught using ‘unsavoury’ practices to retain small business cardholders. This comes after reports that Goldman Sachs was using AI to approve loans for customers, which was biased towards men (biased data in, biased data out).

The issues of trust, privacy and social responsibility, it seems, have now spread far beyond tech giants such as Google, Facebook and gang.

According to Business Insider, ‘Amex salespeople reportedly ran credit checks without consent, misrepresented cards’ rewards, and issued unwanted cards to retain small business owners who had a Costco card following the loss of the Costco portfolio’. 

The Costco portfolio was a large piece of AMEX’s revenues and it had to do something to replace the $80 billion hole that was left after Costco bowed out of the arrangement.

That said, surely now that customers have rumbled companies rummaging amongst their personal data, these kind of retention and sales strategies make no sense – certainly not in the long term.

Ethical banking has become a differentiator. Millennials, Gen Z customers – and others – will evaluate a bank’s stance on a range of ‘green’ issues as part of their decision making process. Banks – in fact every industry – need to catch up with the times.

The change has been, by generational standards, extremely quick. Less than a decade ago, conferences were considering the potential of advertising, say, how much ‘green’ electricity you wanted when you placed an order. Although at the time it was physical impossible to deliver, say, 22% of ‘green’ electricity, it was justified on the basis of the overall sources the distribution company was using.

At the time, it was considered a marginal benefit and one that would not attract more customers away from competitors.

That has changed.

Now that we have got to the cutting edge of decisions about green products, climate change and all the things we have been avoiding for the last 50 years, the differentiators for companies in every arena have changed.

And we are now beyond tokenism.

Gen Z customers are the new powerhouse, the new shoppers, entrepreneurs and decision makers. And they, and those a little younger, are, according to a report in the UK, having nightmares about climate change. It is actively affecting their lives, and therefore their choices.

Candidly, if companies do not understand this fundamental change in the decision making priorities of those now making them, they are doomed.

Trust, transparency and the attitude towards the planet have now become fundamental to the way you do business.

We should treat them as assets, when it comes to formulating strategies for the next few years.

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