Slideshow 'Both Sides Can't Be Right': Comments of the Week

Published
  • November 21 2014, 7:30am EST
13 Images Total

American Banker readers share their views on the most pressing banking topics of the week. Comments are excerpted from reader response sections of AmericanBanker.com articles and from our social media platforms.

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On anti-money-laundering regulators' urging banks not to "de-risk" by dropping whole categories of clients:

"Re: de-risking & bitcoin: This is zero-sum. Both sides can't be right. Either the de-risking banks are right or the [Financial Action Task Force], [Financial Crimes Enforcement Network], and the international banks who are continuing to take on bitcoin [clients] are." (via Twitter)

Story: Banks Face No-Win Scenario on AML 'De-Risking'

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On the suggestion that regulators' stringent approach to enforcing anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing rules is doing more harm than good:

"Were banks and payments systems compliant with their fiduciary responsibilities, perhaps there would not be a need for Fincen and the regulatory expense burden on small community banks.... Libertarian arguments about administrative burden don't hold a candle to the other side of the argument, especially when [money center banks] like HSBC, Bank of Tokyo-[Mitsubishi], etc. misbehave and violate anti-terrorism statutes in our domicile."

Story: Risk Aversion Keeps Banks on the Innovation Sidelines

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On the paradox faced by banks that are urged on one hand to tighten AML compliance and on the other to avoid overreacting by cutting ties with entire industries:

"The hypocrisy of AML laws facing banks — complying means they have to de-risk. No other choice for them." (via Twitter)

Story: Banks Face No-Win Scenario on AML 'De-Risking'

Image: iStock


On the widespread trend of contradictory regulatory directives:

"Same everywhere. EU politico[s] want loans for small businesses, financial inclusion and less risk, more caution." (via Twitter)

Story: Banks Face No-Win Scenario on AML 'De-Risking'

Image: iStock

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On the extent to which bank derisking is born out of a genuine desire to play it safe:

"... What I find interesting is that even when the banks choose to stay away from [money service businesses], recent multi-million enforcement actions imposed on banks show that they choose to engage in really risky business without hesitation." (via LinkedIn)

Story: Banks Face No-Win Scenario on AML 'De-Risking'

Image: iStock


On high-tech substitutes for the human banking touch:

"[Artificial intelligence] will cater digital communications to the individual far better than the mass communications from banks have delivered in the past. AI will permit us to have a 'market segment of one' that is individually catered to that one customer. That is highly personal."

Story: Go Digital, But Don't Forget Banking's Human Factor

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On the witness list for a Senate hearing on whether the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is too soft on the Wall Street firms under its watch:

"Why is it only men who are invited to testify? And far more important why is [former examiner] Carmen Segarra not at the hearing? What about the examiners who were actually involved with the Goldman exam?"

Story: N.Y. Fed Chief Dudley to Testify on ProPublica Report

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On accusations that the Fed is under the banking industry's thumb:

"Increasingly clear that the Fed has been masquerading as a bank regulator whilst operating as a trade association for the mega-banks that comprise its board of directors."

Story: N.Y. Fed Chief Dudley to Testify on ProPublica Report

Image: iStock


On questions about whether the rise of prepaid cards is to the advantage or detriment of underserved communities:

"It seems like banking products are now akin to politics: if you're looking for a reason to be offended, you're always going to find one."

Story: Why Surging Prepaid Cards for Unbanked Is a Positive

Image: iStock


On a suggested syllabus for up-and-coming bankers that would emphasize the need for nuance in conversations about regulation:

"Perhaps our students in the business and economics programs should be required to read some [S.I.] Hayakawa and Walter Ong, just to give them a basis for intelligent participation in the cultural debates. Not simple exposure, but actual study — perhaps teach them to slow down and think a little more before acting. In finance, speed kills — it's really just a matter of who falls (or is pushed) under that train."

Story: Bringing Nuance Back to Regulatory Debates

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On a lawmaker's plan to restructure the Federal Reserve:

"[The] Federal Reserve may need reform but making it subject to politicians would be a disaster. If you look at any central bank around the world where it is not independent, it ends up being the tool of politicians whose job is getting re-elected and hence, whose attention span is that of a gnat at best."

Story: "Key House GOP Leadership Member Targets Fed Powers"

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On holding in-store branches to the same deposit-gathering standard as traditional bank locations:

"Not sure how a statement that an in-store location and a brick and mortar each need the same deposit levels to be profitable can be accurate. Their costs (both to open and ongoing operations) are almost always vastly different. And in-store locations have historically done considerably better at fee generation."

Story: "BOK's Decision to Ditch In-Store Branches Shows Banks' Predicament"

Image courtesy of Financial Supermarkets Inc.