The Downside of Expanded Board Duties: Broadening the fiduciary duties of board directors to deter banks from taking excessive risk would be a bad idea, according to lawyer John Gorman. Expanding board oversight "would add significant additional expense, open the litigation flood gates and discourage capable persons from serving as bank directors," he argues. What's more, giving board members heightened responsibilities would fail to make banks safer, according to Gorman: "risk and adverse risk outcomes cannot be eliminated, just as the business cycle has not and cannot be eliminated." Some readers were behind Gorman all the way. Citing the AIG bailout as well as Congressional and presidential support for the U.S. Postal Service, commenter jpodvin argues that the government isn't held to such risk management standards. Commenter masaccio had a different take: "Well, it would certainly suck if boards of directors had to do something socially useful for the hundreds of thousands of dollars they collect from TBTF banks."
No Sympathy for Rule-Breakers: European politicians and bank leaders are trying to undermine U.S. efforts to hold banks accountable for compliance violations, writes Mayra Rodriguez Valladares--and she says they're doing it with a whole lot of griping. She cites a Financial Times report that European officials are planning to protest regulators' hefty penalties for foreign banks at the G-20 meeting this fall, along with HSBC chairman Douglas Flint's complaints about the strict regulatory environment. Their time would be better spent "improving their risk management, especially operational risk," she writes.
Also on the blog: Robert Axelrod says banks would be better able to comply with anti-money laundering rules if enforcement actions enumerated the specific steps that compliance officers ought to have taken. Banks can further improve regulatory compliance by hiring former Army officers, who already have extensive experience in risk management and in taking responsibility for navigating complex situations, according to Jonathan Hendershott.
The GAO report on big bank subsidies offers evidence that regulatory and industry reforms have helped make the financial system safer and lowered the risk that banks grow too big to fail, writes the Financial Services Forum's Rob Nichols. No amount of reform can help the Export-Import Bank, according to Ryan Young of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who recommends that Congress just shut it down.
Bank marketers frequently mistake digital marketing as a strategy in and of itself rather than thinking critically about its uses as a tool for communication, according to Kevin Tynan. Dave Martin says that the importance of face-to-face interactions has only increased as technological advancements provide customers with an endless array of choices. "Our team members are the human interface of increasingly online operations," he writes. And consultant Duncan Banfield says that relationship managers won't succeed unless their own supervisors are on board with consultative sales.