When former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman Sheila Bair visited American Banker's office this month, she reiterated her call to ban the revolving door between the industry and its regulators. That is, she wants regulators to be prohibited from turning around and taking a high-paying job as an industry or private sector lobbyist at the end of their tenure.
Moreover, Bair felt bank examiners, specifically, should be required to commit to the profession.
"I think that should be a lifetime calling,"she said. "Pay them more and train them more and give them more status, but in return, expect them to make a lifelong commitment."
Not everyone was on board with this assertion. In response to an American Banker article highlighting Bair's remarks, one commenter made a strong case for why such a commitment might not be practical … or fair.
"Constantly being on the road and away from home is not an attractive lifelong profession," the commenter wrote, adding that, while the pay raise Bair advocated was certainly in order, "it should be expected that [examiners] will move on after contributing to the public interest and learning a great deal."
The commenter also pointed out that, at times, there were benefits to having a person move from regulating the industry to working in it.
"Some of the best examiners may serve the interests of prudential regulation by being bank managers … having been exposed to the other side of risk management," they wrote.
Also, if an examiner makes a lifetime commitment to the job, will the job return the favor? Richard I. Isacoff, a lawyer in Pittsfield, Mass., who used to work out failed institutions for the FDIC and, earlier, the old Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp., tweeted that he "loved [the] work. Job left-I didn't."
Do you believe bank examiners should be required to make a lifelong commitment? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below.