BankAmerica Corp.'s top risk management official said Tuesday that the industry should not lean too heavily on technology to identify economic and other threats.

"We need to apply a very strong dose of judgment," F. William Vandiver Jr. said at a conference sponsored by Robert Morris Associates.

In wide-ranging remarks, Mr. Vandiver said rigid, centralized risk management policies must be made more flexible. People must also bear responsibility for their errors, he said.

The biggest challenge for banks is to predict accurately which industries and economies will grow and which are in trouble, he said. As an example of just how tough this is, he pointed to the overexposure of many big banks to economically ailing nations such as Russia and Indonesia, despite advice from a legion of economists.

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