Lawmakers Weigh In: This week, BankThink featured columns from Rep. Maxine Waters and Sens. Bob Corker and Mark Warner. Corker and Warner discussed the need for GSE reform (which should come as no surprise, given they authored a bill that is working its way through the Senate.) "The bill we are advocating along with eight other members of the Senate Banking Committee a strong coalition that continues to grow can usher in a 21st-century model of housing finance that will create a dramatically better model for responsible, sustainable homeownership in this country," they wrote. One reader thought Corker and Warner were on to something, writing, "the above mentioned bill has merit and may bring some value to the 'floor.'" Others remained skeptical. "We don't need dramatic housing finance reform, just sufficient capital," another reader wrote. "That's what the housing lobby and politicians have continually opposed." Rep. Waters, ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, agreed GSE reform was a crucial part of preventing another financial crisis. Another essential element, she argued, was fully implementing Dodd-Frank reform. "In the three years since Dodd-Frank was enacted, about 60% of rulemaking deadlines have been missed," she wrote. "I join President Obama in urging the expeditious implementation of the remaining rules, supported by full funding for our regulatory agencies." But some readers felt Dodd-Frank was hardly the solution to future problems. "The Dodd-Frank Act has already taken over four years to implement and is estimated [to] be in excess of 80,000 pages worth of rules," one commenter countered. "In a country formed by signing a one page document that went from draft to ratification in 19 days, how can anyone believe this regulation is good for America?"
The Evolving Role of Women in Banking: In conjunction with American Banker Magazines annual Women in Banking issue, BankThink asked several leading women in banking to discuss how their experiences in the industry has changed over time as part of a new series. Columbia Bank CEO Melanie Dressel, who is featured on this year's Most Powerful list, kicked the series off by positing that, for women, opportunities often come disguised as impossible situations. "I hope we can all encourage our younger coworkers, our daughters and granddaughters, to see this opportunity and be ready to ascend to upper level management positions," she wrote. Noma Bruton, chief human resources officer of Pacific Mercantile Bank in Costa Mesa, Calif., pointed out that, while many advancements have been made, the glass ceiling has yet to be shattered."The CEO role remains as elusive for women in the 21st century as it did in the 20th," she wrote. "Until this final hurdle is cleared, women will not truly hold equal footing and stature in banking." Jill Castilla, executive vice president of Citizens Bank of Edmond, suggested the playing field could be leveled further if women and men in leadership positions focused on supporting qualified female candidates in their pipelines."As more women ascend to the leadership positions in and around our industry and are able to mentor other 'superwomen, female leadership will be less of an exception," she wrote.
In Case You Missed It: Karen Shaw Petrou of Federal Financial Analytics Inc. argued banks can longer leave policy risks to chance while Susan Ochs of the Aspen Institute suggested that the next target for reform should be Wall Streets mindset. Some readers agreed with Ochs that a brain change was in order. "Maybe if banks 'worship' simplicity more than complexity, they could be more profitable, yet less risky," one wrote.
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