From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

“We live in your world, i.e. India.” A banking insider has raised some concerns about the outsourcing of bank work overseas and what this means for Australian customers.

“ANZ slashed thousands of jobs and is in the process of outsourcing them all to Bangalore where they have a ‘campus’ of thousands handling the back-end work that used to be done in Australia and NZ. Massive problems technically, but where is customer data now? The private info of any customer of these institutions (past or present, i.e. all of us) is being transferred en masse where it is accessed by people in a different legal jurisdiction.”

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We put that claim to ANZ, which said the bank had operation and technology hubs around the region, including India, staffed by ANZ employees, under ANZ terms and conditions. “Our staff in Bangalore adhere to the same strict privacy requirements as our staff here in Australia and are bound by Australian privacy laws,” a spokesman said.

So is this a concern in terms of the security and privacy of Australian customers’ banking information? We might defer to IT and bank experts on this one … get in touch if you know more.

Politicians’ God delusion. We’ve had an interesting response to this story from last week on the links between religion and politics (turns out a lot of you are worried in case God is listening to politicians when they pray). This comes from a Liberal mole:

“Your item in brings to mind that Liberal Party state conferences start with a travesty called ‘The Liberal Prayer’.  Whilst the ‘God’ to whom the prayer is offered is not identified the form and substance of the prayer, leave no doubt it is a Christian God receiving the supplicants’ prayers. When former NSW division (attempted reforming) president Geoff Selig (of Jewish extraction) took office he attempted to drop the prayer.  The howls of outrage the first time he omitted the prayer forced him to continue.”

If you know of any curious links between religion and politics, drop us a line. Are groups like the Exclusive Brethren still donating significant sums to Coalition parties? Are there any powerful closed-door religious cliques in operation?

ALP makes big mistake? Welcome to the wisdom of our new PM (click through to see the image).

Rudd has been loving the social media since he recycled himself into the top job — although he’s modestly stuck with the Twitter handle @KevinRuddMP (last time around, he was @KevinRuddPM). Rudd is going crazy on Instagram, and isn’t it a relief to know that “Abby the wonderdog also very happy”? Of course there is no mention of the late, lamented Jasper the cat …

Our best-named spinners. Tip has been having fun compiling a list of our best-named (i.e. apt, splendid or downright strange) spinners, comms and media people. Here’s last week’s effort — and here are some fresh entries.

Tassie pro-logging advocates Timber Communities Australia used to have a chief spokesman called Barry Chipman. Now the head of the group’s interim board is Tim Woods.

Who handles media for Sydney Water? Why, it’s Emma Whale, of course. What an appropriate name given a recent incident in which a whale knocked out a surfer.

“Townsville Magpie” sent in this entry: “Andrew Crook on the Gold Coast is a brave and supremely confident man … fronting his long-running PR outfit Crook Public Relations. Somehow seems a good fit.” Crikey must mention that we have a reporter also called Andrew Crook.

“I once missed out on a marketing job to Tiziana Botti,” lamented a tipster.

“Years ago when I worked at the Financial Review I interviewed a corporate responsibility bloke called Stirling Habbitts (KPMG I think).” We’ve looked into it and found a Dutch finance expert called Stirling Habbitts — and we can’t think of a more reassuring name for your financial planner. Is it the same chap?

Dick Armey is a former Republican congressman and leading light of the Tea Party. “You’d think that he’d insist on Rick or Richard, but no, Dick it is,” our tipster noted.

Last week we name-checked Billy Gentle, publicity co-ordinator at the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, after a colleague dobbed him in. His response to us: “I guess I’m kind of flattered. Most people suggest my name is better suited to the adult film industry. It would be remiss of me not to dob in my predecessor in this role, who is now a publicist with Destination NSW — Kobi Print. Could there be any more appropriate name for a publicist than Miss Print?”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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