Chairman major bank as brothel madame.
The chairman of one of Holland's major banks, and former finance minister, Gerrit Zalm went on stage as whorehouse madame. A hilarious sketch full of self-mockery, comparing practises in her trade and in banking.
He made his appearance on the traditional new year cabaret of his ABN Amro bank.
In previous years, Gerrit Zalm performed as a fictive brother of the CEO. As Clemens the psychiatrist, Carlo the circus director, and Frans the undertaker.
And now as a transvestite.
Click on the image to watch the sketch on YouTube.
It's in Dutch, of course, as he performed for the Dutch bank employees.
I translated part of the 12 minutes sketch. See below.
The difference in reaction, in the Netherlands and abroad, is remarkable, and says something about Dutch psyche as well.
At the home front it caught a lot of amused attention.
Not because of the transvestite act, but because what he/she was saying. Ridiculing bank practices, and the chairman of the board himself. All in the best Dutch tradition of (self) mockery.
It was largely agreed that this approach strengthened the stature of the bank, and of the chairman. Making him more human. Such a daring approach, potentially a bit risky, is appreciated in Holland.
Abroad on the contrary, reactions were mixed, to say the least. From puzzled in the rest of Europe and the UK, to rather chocked in the USA. At least, that's what the newspapers say. Would be interesting to investigate that further.
In any case, what they hear of these reactions is in itself great fun for most Dutch. With a feeling of satisfaction too. Sort of cocking a snook at the world.
Also note that it is the bank itself who put and kept the video on YouTube. This was not some improvised action.
Translation of the opening, setting the tone.
"I'm Priscilla, the sister of Gerrit.
Yes, I know, Gerrit always claims to have only brothers. But as you can see, that's not correct.
It is of course sad that, so far, he publicly ignored my existence.
I gave it some thought, why he did this. And I think I understand.
The point is, he's just jealous.
He's a mere bank employee. While I am a successful entrepreneur.
Something he longed to be all his live. But he simply hasn't got it in him.
However, I appreciate it that he asked me now, for this occasion.
Let me tell you, rightly so. Because the bank can certainly learn one or two tricks from the best practices of my business."
A few more fragments translated :
"When I grew older, I thought I should start working differently. Also in my branch, clients prefer young relation managers.
I looked how my brother Gerrit did it. Because for a long time already, he's not working anymore. Not really. He manages !
And he gets even more money than the people who do the work. Smart !
That's why, nowadays, I manage as well. I'm in charge of a large number of people now."
"I have a flourishing business. An artisanal trade fitting into a centuries old tradition.
With an excellent capital funding, a high return upon investment, and a low cost-income ratio.
And also a great balance between men and women. Correcting other companies who don't do so well on this point, like banks. I largely work with women.
In my company, it's all women on top !"
"When my brother Gerrit became chairman of the board of the bank, I thought, OK, I'll open an account for my company with ABN Amro. He is family, after all.
According to their commercials, opening an account takes just 5 minutes.
Well, I can hear it, you're guessing the outcome : not true at all !"
"Once they realised what business I'm in, they really started asking those questions.
Like, 'do you laundry money ?'
No, of course not. I'm not a bank, nor a laundry for that matter."
The working procedures of the bank are now further ridiculed as being bureaucratic, and often not relevant.
"Last question was, do you have a bank now ?
Yes, of course. I'm with ING, I said.
Oh, then we cannot accept you. Just stay with ING.
I was shocked, I felt discriminated. Me a honest entrepreneur !
This simply makes no sense !
Which sector plunged the economy in a crisis ? Not mine ! His !
And where has the client interest forever prevailed ? In my sector !
The banks only just discovered that.
And where are profits in the end sometimes mere illusion ? At the bank !
In my business on the contrary, only genuine performance is rewarded."
Follows an account comparing her trade with the bank, and inside snarling at people within the bank.
Continuing with what brother Gerrit learned from her when he became chairman of the board. He had really no idea how to tackle the bank's problems, and came to his sister for advice.
"The bank copied in extenso my way of doing business. Without crediting the source, of course."
And to end with :
"My dear, dear bankers.
You're on the right track now.
You implemented the best practices of my trade in your bank.
But now, keep on going !
Honest service, transparency, no more excessive bonuses, and the client's interest really in top.
We've been doing it for centuries. So can you now !
Good luck, and a happy 2014."
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