Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Offshore Bank Wires -- in Hollywood

As some of you may have surmised by now, my day job involves doing some work for "up and coming" Offshore Banking Services industry here in Montevideo, Uruguay.

How do you make something as boring as "banking" sound sexy? Easy, just add in a dash of "offshore"....

Viola! Now you are dealing with arms merchants, spies, monopolistic cartels, money launderers, dirty CEOs, and drug lords.

The movies do a good job of glorifying the profession (while villifying it) and making it look a whole lot more sophisticated than my brief experience has shown it to be.

I crack up everytime someone sends an Offshore Bank Wire in a movie like Mission Impossible or "Firewall". The thief (or other unsavory type) types in his account, encryption key...pushes a couple of more buttons, and then sees a graphic onscreen filling up like an mp3 download tracking the progress.

Question: why would it take longer to wire transfer 200 million dollars than it does 2 dollars? :) technically i guess you have to send an extra 6 zeros over the wire (in binary...gasp!) but....long enough to have a progress indicator? :)

While my company recently implemented online banking, and we have fancy encryption keys, etc. However, a lot of processes -- especially sending wires to international accounts have a good deal of "hands on" processes that are still handled by people....and there is a some say, "three feet of air is still the hardest firewall to crack".

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