Some Fine Print

The Dodd-Frank Act has suffered plenty of potshots from people who haven't even read it; just the size of the 2,000-plus-page bill makes it a target for criticism. But Yale University economist Robert J. Shiller has no qualms with the length of the legislation.

"I don't think it's a problem at all — I think it's a good thing," Shiller, co-developer of the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, said Tuesday at the Buttonwood Gathering conference in New York. "Dodd-Frank does what a Congress could do. It calls for 67 studies, but 67 is a small number compared to the complexity of this crisis."

And though Shiller said he has his doubts about the effectiveness of the systemic-risk oversight council established by Dodd-Frank, he generally likes what he sees in the many pages of the bill.

"I come out looking more favorably at our government's [response] than I would have expected," he said.

Freudian State

Speaking of Buttonwood, the two-day conference opened with an elaborate simulation of the federal government's handling of a state fiscal crisis, but nobody was fooled by the fake name that the conference sponsors at The Economist had come up with for the troubled state — least of all former White House economic adviser Laura Tyson.

Tyson played the role of the Treasury secretary in a White House economic-team meeting in 2013 to discuss the fate of New Jefferson, a 51st state with a massively underfunded pension, a $1.5 billion bond payment it cannot make and the hopes of securing a $10 billion federal loan. Not long into the simulation, Tyson, a longtime professor at the University of California Berkeley, accidentally referred to New Jefferson as California.

Tyson quickly caught the mistake and tried to quell the laughter, explaining that she's from California and assuring the audience that "California is a lot better than these numbers, by the way."

The Deep End?

Talk about taking a plunge.

Capital One Financial Corp., to drum up support for its new online savings product, ran a promotion in San Francisco Tuesday through Thursday where locals could dive, jump and even cannonball into a "Savings Pool." Each plunge earned $5 for Junior Achievement of Northern California, a financial literacy nonprofit, and a matching $5 gift card for those who dove in. Plastic balls in the pool gave residents a chance to win extra prizes.

Five-time Olympic gold medalist Aaron Peirsol also participated in the event, which promoted the InterestPlus Online Savings product.

A New Horizon

Jerry Baker has embraced social media as part of his second act.

The retired CEO of First Horizon National Corp. is now an executive coach for Building Champions, and he has shown a keen interest lately for blogging. For nearly a year, Leadership from the Trenches has offered advice to aspiring executives, particularly tutorials on managing through difficult times.

Baker's latest entry, posted Monday, applied lessons learned by a Tanzanian marathon runner to executive leadership.

Marathon runners "must be mindful of their pace and how best to spend their energy on the course that lies ahead," he wrote. "With the end result in mind, the way we spend our time becomes critical. We must clearly determine our priorities and make sure we are allocating our time toward the most productive efforts that keep us moving toward our objectives."

The blog is at www.leadershipfromthetrenches.com.

Good Sports

BB&T Corp. last week became the official bank of the Atlantic Coast Conference in a deal that will include television and marketing spots tied to college basketball and football, permission to use the ACC logo and access to tickets. Neither party said how much BB&T would pay for the deal.

"We have clients and employees near every ACC institution," BB&T's chief marketing officer, Steve Wiggs, said in a press release. "Our association with one of the top brands in college athletics is a wonderful opportunity to connect with our target audiences."

BB&T has a sponsorship deal with the ACC's Wake Forest University, but the Winston-Salem, N.C., company also has ties to Southeastern Conference schools Auburn University and the University of Alabama.

More banks are resuscitating sports tie-ins after exiting the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Last year, BB&T took a bigger role with the Wyndham Championship, a PGA Tour event. Wells Fargo & Co. said in August that it would reclaim naming rights to the PGA'’s 2011 Wells Fargo Championship.

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