Raise Your Right Hand: Daniel Alter, former general counsel for the New York Department of Financial Services, hit a nerve by calling for independent bank consultants to be made directly accountable to regulators — and criminally liable for misrepresentations in their reports. "If we keep going down the path of subjecting every report, statement, comment or action to criminal and/or financial penalties," one reader warned, "pretty soon the only consultants available to a bank will be criminal defense law firms." Another commenter groaned, "Let's not add another high fee consultant to the already overburdened compliance people." But commenter "teknoscribe" offered an even more radical counterproposal: "Disallow 'independent' reports and require the banks to generate their own testimony." Benjamin Lawsky, who recently stepped down as superintendent of the New York regulatory agency, told reporters at American Banker's Digital Currencies + the Blockchain conference that he agreed with Alter's premise of making consultants accountable, though he hadn't read his former colleague's article.

Also on the blog: Don't get too excited about the prospect of higher interest rates, writes longtime contributor J.V. Rizzi. Bankers who complain about marketplace lenders are right that the regulatory playing field is unlevel — except the tilt is in banks' favor, according to Brian Knight of the Milken Institute. Bitcoin evangelist Chris DeRose takes us even further down the rabbit hole of blockchain technology. Cloud computing executive Aaron Levie also predicts technological transformation in finance, while acknowledging the realities of regulatory requirements and cybersecurity threats. Community bank marketing executives and BankThink regular Kevin Tynan sees a branding opportunity for financial institutions in the current cybersecurity mess.

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