Slideshow 'Do Chefs Sample Their Own Food?': Comments of the Week

Published
  • November 14 2014, 7:30am EST
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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 the WashingtonFirst Bank chief who requires staffers who do not have direct deposits with the bank to pick up paper checks in her office:

"Makes total sense. How can you be fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your own company if you aren't even a customer? Do chefs sample their own food? Of course."

Related Article: WashingtonFirst Chief Pushes Bank's Employees to Become Customers

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On whether WashingtonFirst employees will feel browbeaten by a policy that discourages them from banking with competitors:

"Encouraging your employees to open an account and making employees have their direct deposit go into an account are two different things. Forcing people to do something usually has a negative connotation to it."

Related Article: WashingtonFirst Chief Pushes Bank's Employees to Become Customers

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On whether transforming bankers into data scientists is an achievable goal:

"I think it is impossible to turn frontline bankers into data scientists, having tried for several decades myself. To make data work for frontline bankers, the data scientist has to think like a CEO, [chief marketing officer], [chief information officer] retail head and frontline salesperson. They have to deliver 'done for them' tools that enable them to do what the data says to do rather than interpret it themselves. 'Call Customer X and talk about this service'; 'When Y customer calls for support put them in the front of the line.' … The premise of this article is good, but the onus is on the guys behind the scenes to do the heavy lifting so bankers can do what they do best."

Related Article: Training Bankers to Be Data Scientists

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On the argument that prepaid cards can pave the way for low- and moderate-income people without access to traditional financial services to open bank accounts:

"Prepaid cards are not likely to lead to mainstream banking products for most underbanked customers; that is wishful thinking. Industry disruptors, and even postal banking, are alternatives to serve segments that the private sector finds unattractive. In fact, financial institutions working with the U.S. Post Office may be the most cost-effective way to serve this segment that will enable the for-profit sector to make a profit without ripping off low- and moderate-income consumers with high-cost prepaid cards."

Related Article: Why Surging Prepaid Cards for Unbanked Is a Positive

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On the less-quantifiable costs that banks incur with a seemingly endless stream of regulatory settlements:

"It is understandable that banks want to stay out of the press and therefore try to settle these issues as quickly as possible, but the net results are that banks are being seen as paying 'yet another fine' for 'yet another wrongdoing,' and lawyers/regulators are encouraged to continue to press complaints with the expectation of an early settlement. Not an easy situation, but at some point it seems necessary for the banks to say enough is enough."

Related Article: Legal Woes Continue to Weigh on Banks' Profits

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On the U.S. government's efforts to persuade banks that they needn't cut ties with entire industries in order to avoid running afoul of anti-money-laundering rules:

"An easy fiduciary argument can be made that it is just prudent management to eliminate (to the extent possible) areas of potential regulatory fines. 'Once bitten, twice shy' or 'you reap what you sow' would both seem to be appropriate comments."

Related Article: Treasury, Fincen Try to Quell Fears over Money-Laundering Enforcement

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On the debate over the practice of screen scraping, which personal financial management companies use to access consumer financial data with the customer's permission:

"Banks need to get away from give-away thinking. Do banks really want to share this information? Why enable competition? If competitors (or complementary service providers) want access, they should pay the banks for access to the bank's [application programming interface] and maintenance for keeping the APIs secure and available."

Related Article: Is It Time to End Screen Scraping?

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On a proposal that community banks and credit unions coordinate on a marketing campaign that takes aim at big banks:

"It seems difficult for individual institutions to have messaging discipline with their own marketing. The idea that all sub-$10 billion banks are going to team up to promote how awful big banks are seems a bit of a stretch."

Related Article: Why Community Lenders Should Go Negative on Big Banks

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