We are living with a painful disconnect between Wall Street on the one hand and Main Street and Washington on the other. Unfortunately, this disconnect has tarnished the reputation of banking generally and made it harder for the industry to collaborate with the government.
So many "steady Eddie" banking operations have supported their communities and customers for decades, including through this crisis. Of course, it is not fair that they have been stained by the actions of others, particularly nonbank players such as Bernard Madoff and R. Allen Stanford. The popular media tends to cast all financial issues, particularly the negative ones, as "banking" issues. Well-run traditional banks that carefully gauged risk and always put customers first are being lumped together with wild-eyed risk-takers.