Slideshow ‘I need some Excedrin after reading this’: Comments of the year

  • December 28 2017, 10:00pm EST
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‘I need some Excedrin after reading this’: Comments of the year

From the identity of bankers in the 21st century, to the regulatory turmoil in Washington, to the huge impact of technology on the industry, readers expressed an array of strong opinions about what happened in 2017.

Doubting arguments by the lawyer for Leandra English, an aide to former CFPB Director Richard Cordray, who has claimed in court that she — not Mick Mulvaney — is the agency’s rightful acting chief:

“Mr. Gupta's rationale, along with Democrat intentions that the CFPB is simply their pet institution, is tortured beyond belief. I need some Excedrin after reading this article.”

Related: Judge casts doubt on CFPB deputy's claim to head agency

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On banks deploying virtual assistants in a bid to make routine banking tasks simpler:

“As a retail banker, this is both the smartest and scariest thing in the market. On one hand it's smart, because hopefully the result will be that people handle most of their 'tasks,' such as reviewing their bank statements, on their own and stop taking the time away from a banker that could be used to sell products. It's also the scariest thing, because it could eventually replace or reduce the need for retail bankers. I personally worry more about being replaced by a machine than what the market … is doing. WE can react and adjust to the market, we can't do much about being replaced by a machine.”

Related: Prepare for the Real Voice of the Customer

When some media reports were exploring rumors that Amazon wanted to buy Capital One:

“This would [be] great. The banking industry is shamefully slow at adopting new financial technologies within & throughout their supply chain, claiming it’s too costly to fix. They are coddled. One of the biggest issues during the financial crisis was transparency: there was none. No one knew the interconnections, network effects, or the ownership of assets/liabilities & how to value them. It is this lack of capability that adds to financial panics. It’s fixable. Amazon would pave the way.”

Related: Amazon buying Capital One? Fat chance, but fun to ponder

On the notion that financial data should be secured before it can be shared outside the bank:

“Many people don't understand that the most valuable asset that a bank possesses is the data they own. It would be folly to compromise that data for the sake of the newest gadget or software program.”

Related: There are no heroes or villains in data access debate

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On millennial employees urging companies to allow a more open exchange of sensitive political opinions at the office:

“Not talking politics at work is not a sign of oppression. It's a sign of respect. Professional people realize that people have different opinions about things. Not forcing others to constantly explain and defend their personal opinions while at work is actually the best way to show respect to everyone. You don't like a law? Fine. Write or call your congressperson. Leave poor Marge over in bookkeeping out of it, you coddled millennial.”

Related: At B of A, talking politics in the workplace no longer taboo

Challenging the idea that lenders can’t always know how or why AI makes a credit decision:

“Why not? You just program the ‘AI’ to log how it went about making its decision. ‘AI’ can be programmed to justify its decision, like humans do. If you look at online credit card applications, you can immediately know why a rejection has occurred. I don't see how that is different from what you're describing. We don't need to know all the complicated calculations the AI is making, but you have it arrive at the ultimate reasons for rejection/risk.”

Related: AI may just create the illusion of good credit decisions

On a call for banks to move on from their legacy core systems:

“Sadly, there is an asymmetry of outcomes when undertaking a core conversion, which the legacy core providers benefit from and remind banks of constantly. Nobody's stock goes up or CAMELS rating improves after a successful conversion, or so the thinking goes. Nobody's bonus doubles. But mess up a conversion and see what happens. So banks choose ‘mediocre and expensive but it works’ over and over again.”

Related: Banks need to stop keeping COBOL on life support

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A retort to praise of the in-store branch model:

"If we think that banking in supermarkets is such a great concept, I am wondering why banks are not letting supermarkets sell apples in their lobbies?"

Related: Guaranty Bank failure was not an indictment of in-store branch model

On the National Credit Union Administration’s lawyers drafting an opinion that paves the way for credit unions to securitize and sell loans:

“Note to NCUA: Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.”

Related: Credit unions cleared to securitize loans, amplifying threat to banks

Agreeing that the new operational security paradigm is one of "persistent threats," in which the safest assumption is that a bad actor has already penetrated your system:

Only 2 legit OPSEC assumptions: 1) All your stuff is compromised; 2) Apart from point 1, never assume anything.” (Via Twitter)

Related: What banks can learn from a cryptocurrency’s bug bounty program

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On the advice to businesswomen to “never underestimate the power of a great pair of shoes and a pop of lipstick”:

“I love shoes. And lipstick. But that is far from progress. Do you think Jamie Dimon needs those tools in his ‘credibility toolbox’?”

Related: TD Bank's Verba on 'a great pair of shoes and a pop of lipstick'

On the CFPB’s now-nullified arbitration rule, which would have made it easier for consumers to bring class-action lawsuits:

“In reality the vast majority of class actions are simply a means for plaintiffs' attorneys to use people's names without their knowledge or permission to commit legal extortion. Most class members don't even know a lawsuit has been filed in their name until they get a notice that if they are entitled to an amount that often is not worth the time to fill out the claim form. Class actions cannot be justified until this problem is fixed.”

Related: Why CFPB’s arbitration rule is essential (two words: Wells Fargo)

On acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney’s plan to assign political appointees to shadow career staff at the agency:

“How would people feel if DJT planted political operatives in the IRS to oversee audits? There is a reason why some government functions are traditionally handled by a meritocracy and not political hacks, though Richard Nixon might disagree.”

Related: Mulvaney's plan to embed political staffers in CFPB sparks backlash

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Agreeing with an op-ed about how community bankers can redefine themselves as specialists in advising customers on solving their financial challenges, rather than as product marketers:

“Exactly! If we'd spent more of the last 20 years training bankers instead of training sales people our industry might be in better shape. Battling the regulatory monster has been a huge distraction for senior management, sucking away time for creative work in other areas. But we have ALLOWED this to distract us from growing that next tier of leadership who could be helping in the fight today!”

Related: Community banking’s future is in offering advice, not products

On the continuing battle over who will run the ever-unpopular Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

“Shut this excrescence down.”

Related: Winner and losers of CFPB's leadership showdown

On claims that big banks string fintech partners along, don’t pay anything and, worst of all, steal intellectual property:

“This all has the stench of truth about it, I’m afraid.”

Related: Large banks make terrible partners, fintechs say