This past month I became parent to a teenager. Among the obvious anxieties this rite prompted, I also had the pleasure of learning American teens have been deemed "mediocre" when it comes to personal finance.
Since time memorial, man has been motivated by an easy buck and short skirts. The recent frenzy of mortgage lenders to repeat the mistakes of history may be upon us again, as some lenders are experiencing 'greed creep' all over again.
Banks can and should innovate and market new services generating lending growth before shuttering up all those main street branches. Foreign markets, trading on their own accounts, and subprime lending have all been tried already.
A plea to the banks: Do "give back" in philanthropy. But also, please: Give us back a financial system that we can trust. Less penance after the fact, more virtue before. It will make for better business and for honest philanthropy.