November 4th, 2010
02:48 PM ET

German bank psychologically profiles customers

A Sparkasse bank customer uses a kiosk behind a poster on the bank branch's window.

A large German bank has come under fire for creating psychological profiles of more than a million of its customers, German media report.

Customers of Haspa, a division of Sparkasse, were labeled as "adventurers," "conservationists," "hedonists" and other categories based on interactions with bank personnel, German public broadcaster NDR reported.

Bank financial advisers were trained in how to persuade each personality type to invest in financial products, NDR reported.

For example, the "adventurer" is "motivated by risk, conquest and struggle," so "arguments should be strongly emotional, to trigger their sense of impulsive decision making," NDR reported.

"Hamburger Sparkasse are doing the opposite of helping their customers make responsible choices, by getting into their heads to manipulate them into make choices that are not really in their interest," consumer advocate Edda Castello told NDR.

The bank said it would halt the practice, German news service The Local reported.


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soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. WhiteKong78

    Gee who would have guessed. The poster looks like an updated Nazi propaganda piece.

    November 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      Actually, it could be the cover of any action movie. Unless those are nazi propaganda pieces as well.

      November 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • ASupinder

      As if WhiteKong knows anything about the world that isn't stereotypes from 60 years ago.

      November 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      [irony]Yes, because everything Germans are doing is racial motivated.[/irony] This advertisment is refering to James Bond and if James Bond has anything to do with Nazis than I've missed the point of the movies.

      November 7, 2010 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Skeiron

    Basically it's supposed to be some sort of James Bond parody (that's why it says Mission Finanz-Check) lol.

    November 4, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. doc fallin

    Vee hav vays tu make ue spend monee !...

    November 4, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kraznodar

    In America it is called "marketing".

    November 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • helion

      I support this comment.

      November 4, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tandberg

      Exactly – it's market segmentation based on consumer buying behavior. Nothing sinister here, just an attempt to offer people products and services they might value.

      November 4, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tandberg

      One caveat – you're not supposed to leak the segment monikers, as these are usually along the lines of pithy one-liners.

      November 4, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anonymous

    Who cares? Websites do that with cookies all the time. Even CNN does that. Ultimately it's up to the customer to decide what they want to invest in. No one is forcing them.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AVR

      So true,that's why CNN is not even allowing me to sign into their site or "like" comments anymore.
      I've probably been profiled "high risk" due to my anti-Israel-yet pro-Jew comments of the past.I'll be very surprised if they publish this reply.

      November 5, 2010 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Ohoo you poor baby

      @avr, so you're related to dr. Bad...

      November 5, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. WhiteKong78

    Yeah considering WhiteKong isn't anywhere near 60 years old that makes sense. That's ok I will trade stereotypes with you all day.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. WhiteKong78

    I would agree that it looks more like a James Bond parody which offends the 50% English side of me.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jack Robinson

    Oh mein Gott.......das ist verrueckt!!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PARROT

    JAN BREWER WILL OPEN SEVERAL BRANCHES IN NAZI-ZONA TOMORROW !!!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jwrtr68

    Do you mean to tell me that the American way of doing business isn't kosher overseas? Who'd uh thunk it?!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gilbert

    I think this is called marketing, although intrusive and agressive, it's just business.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cat

    wait, this is news?

    November 4, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. brown

    Deutschen ... immer Denken außerhalb der Box!

    November 4, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John R

    Um, folks, this is called 'sales'. Whether you walk into Buckle or Calvin Klein or Macy's or a car dealership, you are talking to people who have been trained in exactly this way. Read the book "Why We Buy" and start taking more control in your life. Did you ever wonder why Geico, Priceline, Toyota and zillions of other commercials jam away at you every day, even though you think it's isn't affecting you?? I got news for you...it IS affecting you, and only the naive think otherwise. Caveat emptor.

    November 5, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. warsteiner

    So what? If we are all that predictable I think its time to see it

    November 5, 2010 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |