Is there a special “stupid” gene in the culture of the National
Australia Bank that somehow forces senior executives to speak without

else would the head of the Australian banking operations, Ahmed Fahour, allow himself to be quoted in TheDaily Telegraph this morning, suggesting that banks chasing credit card business at the moment were indulging
in a risky strategy:

NAB’s Australian chief executive Ahmed Fahour questioned such lending strategies in an interview
with The Daily Telegraph.

While he steered clear
of pointing the finger directly at ANZ, the inference was clear.

ANZ’s rate of expansion in credit cards is more than three
times faster than that of CBA or Westpac.

“That’s a very
attractive short-term strategy,” Mr Fahour said, “but when you are at the tail end of an
economic boom you want to be very, very careful in that

Now that’s a stupid thing to say. NAB is about to launch a new credit
card offer in early December with its call centres being filled with
extra staff to handle an anticipated 500,000 to 600,000 calls from
current and prospective customers.

It will be the NAB’s biggest attack on the credit card market for some
years and the cost will be in the millions for the new systems, extra short term
employees, advertising and other marketing costs.

Now which bank is chasing credit card
business in an “attractive short-term strategy”?