Is HR Risk Management? Noma Bruton jumpstarted a heated debate when she suggested a bank's Human Resources department is part of its risk management team."In most banks, the Human Resources function is considered responsible for the quality and ethics of the people who work there," she wrote. "Without a doubt, it should be HR's responsibility to ensure safeguards are in place to spot poor leadership qualities, flawed compensation programs and workforces ill equipped to handle a crisis." One reader championed this notion: "The sentiment regarding talent as a huge risk to any well-run company is one we should never lose." But others believed HR employees are rarely given enough control over these areas to make an impact. "The senior executives at the operating committee level along with the President and CEO decide these issues," one reader vote. "The HR Department will just carry out the plan and suggest direction." Another reader noted: "Often it just the CEO that sets the culture which is one reason why the Chair and CEO positions should be separated."

Battling over Big-Bank Subsidies:In response to a BankThink post by Abby McCloskey of AEI,which claimed big banks may be at a $14 billion disadvantage, Camden Fine of the ICBA argued that the Wall Street funding advantage is all too real. "Citing an estimated $34 billion annual cost of complying with the Dodd-Frank Act … is absurd," Fine wrote. "These are the costs of being unmanageable, and taxpayers should not be on the hook for them." McCloskey rebutted him in the comments section of Fine's op-ed. "This is to say that cost-benefit analysis is somehow unfair and just looking at one side of the equation is more accurate," she wrote. For readers, the topic remains polarizing. Wayne Abernathy of the American Bankers Association said Fine was regurgitating old arguments and, as such, merely promoting infighting between large and small banks. "All the while … the non-banking share of the financial services industry continues to grow, eating the banks' lunch," he wrote. But another reader lauded Fine for standing up for community bankers. "There is no doubt that a real and serious unfair funding advantage exists for the megabanks," this person wrote. "Denying that it exists reminds me of a few years back when certain folks and associations denied ‘too big to fail' existed. Well, we proved that point all too we'll unfortunately."  

The Financial Inclusion Problem: A few BankThink contributors weighed in on the ongoing plight of the underserved. Dan Sloan, a rural county commissioner in Michigan, defended alternative and online lenders by noting they filled a credit void for low-income consumers. "We'd better think twice before we cut off access to the lenders of last resort for millions of Americans," he wrote. "We should also consider encouraging banks, many of which receive support through a variety of government programs, to find a way to remove the barriers to folks who want to walk in the door and open a savings account." Meanwhile, BankThink's Deputy Editor Jeanine Skowronski argued mobile banking wasn't a cure-all for the U.S.'s financial inclusion problem, given that this demographic has demonstrated a need for face-to-face interaction with financial providers.

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