iOS app Android app

The 14th Banker
GET UPDATES FROM The 14th Banker
As described in 13 Bankers by Simon Johnson and James Kwak, on March 27, 2009 13 bank CEOs were gathered in a room with President Obama to discuss deepening recession, the public’s outrage at excessive compensation schemes, and the need for reform in the Financial Services Industry. The refrain from these CEOs and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was, “we are all in this together.” The Fourteenth Banker was not in that room and like over a million other bankers, is not “in it together” with these CEOs.

A senior career banker with a large TARP recipient bank, “14” decided the silenced voices within the industry need to be heard. In March, 2010 he started the blog and has argued in favor of regulatory reform even while large banks lobby to water it down. He believes regulatory reform is only the beginning, a first step to buy time for the reestablishment of a healthy, responsible, accountable, constructive, smaller and simpler financial sector.

“14” blogs anonymously because of blanket gag orders large banks put on their employees which exceed requirements for protecting privacy, customer confidentiality, safety and soundness or proprietary trade information. He stands in solidarity with consumers and businesses, which may be treated unfairly and bank employees who are subjected to systems which conflict with their basic human and ethical values.

Entries by The 14th Banker

Institutional Deeds, Personal Choices

(1) Comments | Posted January 20, 2011 | 1:28 PM

H/T Credit Writedowns for this piece addressing causation of our economic malaise. The gist is that the problem is neither the business cycle nor structural imbalances.  Quoting Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post:

This grim new reality has yet to inform our debate over how to come back from this...

Read Post

So Bill Daley, Who's Your Daddy?

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2011 | 2:03 PM

Yesterday President Obama heralded his newly appointed Chief of Staff, to great fanfare from the Republicans, US Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street Journal and others. According to the Wall Street Journal,

The selection of Mr. Daley shows that the president is more concerned with reaching out to the...

Read Post

Year-End Perspective on Corruption

(28) Comments | Posted December 27, 2010 | 1:30 PM

Perhaps it is time to explain the tone of my holiday greeting, in which I expressed optimism.

Happy Holidays to all. It has been an eventful year. This is the season of hope and, despite all the matters that we have criticized over this past year, I am full of...
Read Post

Sell Your Soul to the Devil This Christmas

(1) Comments | Posted December 17, 2010 | 8:28 AM

Krugman and Ritholtz are singing from the same songbook today.  Ritholz points out that the subprime debacle was a creation of Wall Street, not caused by Federal Government housing policies, per se. Federal Reserve Board data show that:

  • More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006...

Read Post

Unsafe at Any Speed

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2010 | 12:50 PM

When I first became aware of Ralph Nader, he was already considered a flake by the New Economic consensus that would shortly sweep Ronald Reagan into office. I would have laughed out loud if you had told me that 30 years later I would quote him. In the preface...

Read Post

Creating an American Latvia

(8) Comments | Posted November 8, 2010 | 3:42 PM

The United States faces profound risks in the way its financial markets continue to operate. As I wrote last week, Ben Bernanke's latest stimulus effort smacks of desperation. If we are to find real solutions to our domestic problems, we need to open our minds to rethink what the core...

Read Post

Bernanke Blows Bubbles

(24) Comments | Posted November 4, 2010 | 5:14 PM

Yesterday the Fed laid out the plan it had signaled months before. In an Op-Ed at the Washington Post, Bernanke laid out his reasoning and self-indictment of the Federal Reserve when it comes to economic influence. First, his philosophy:

Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example,...

Read Post

How Do We Judge the Homeowner?

(17) Comments | Posted October 18, 2010 | 6:19 PM

In the rush to foreclosure, the banks and even government officials have been taking the position that the borrower/homeowners are fully to blame for the situations they find themselves in and that the paperwork technicalities just need to be worked out in order for there to be a...

Read Post

Auto Repairs and the Financial Crisis

(14) Comments | Posted October 10, 2010 | 2:59 PM

The other day my vehicle was making a rubbing/grinding noise that was noticeable on low-speed turns. From prior experience, I knew it was probably wheel bearings, power steering, cv boots, axles or some such. As you can tell, I did not know much, just what I had paid for in...

Read Post

Mortgage Mess Battle Lines Being Drawn

(15) Comments | Posted October 6, 2010 | 11:27 AM

Two new posts today articulate where the battle lines are beginning to take shape in the Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud mess. Because few mortgages are held on bank balance sheets, having been sold into Mortgage Trusts which support Mortgage Backed securities (MBS), there are parties who may find themselves at cross...

Read Post

Colossal Judgement Failures in Mortgage Mess

(17) Comments | Posted September 27, 2010 | 10:08 PM

Once again, our largest banks have botched things up. Hat tips all around on this one. Everyone has been covering it but I will recognize specifically The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Naked Capitalism, and Representative Alan Grayson's office. A few days ago, I

Read Post

Misdiagnosis of Small Business Act

(2) Comments | Posted September 25, 2010 | 2:34 PM

The AP did a reductionist story on the Small Business Legislation just passed by the Congress. This has circulated widely and the I will reference a version included in a post by Mish Shedlock, who I follow and generally find informative. On this one he has missed the boat....

Read Post

The Challenge Elizabeth Faces

(2) Comments | Posted September 20, 2010 | 6:12 PM

The appointment of Elizabeth Warren has raised the hopes of many and the ire of some.  According to Simon Johnson, she is the perfect person for the job.

The president finally has an adviser who understands the financial sector and who has healthy skepticism about its intentions and...
Read Post

New Banks Needed

(20) Comments | Posted August 25, 2010 | 3:25 PM

This week news flow continues to indicate an economy that is significantly weakening from an already anemic activity level. There are wide-ranging destructive effects on every sector of the economy, households, businesses, and government. Some of these effects threaten to spiral into negative feedback loops causing further destruction and unpredictable...

Read Post

You Can't Hide Those Lying Eyes

(3) Comments | Posted August 14, 2010 | 10:59 AM

This Stanford Paper is absolute gold. The full paper is attached as Stanford Paper on Deceit. Huffington Post summary is here.

The paper is brilliant work in its own right. It focuses on what CEOs say in investor conference calls and how they say it. How they say...

Read Post

Our Vichy Regime Regulators

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2010 | 2:14 AM

A few days ago a news story broke about Wachovia (now part of Wells Fargo) laundering money for Mexican Drug Cartels.  Mish adds color commentary in this piece.

From the original news story:

Wachovia admitted it didn't do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for...

Read Post

The Ritual of Reform

(4) Comments | Posted July 1, 2010 | 11:15 AM

On the last day of June the House voted in the much modified FinReg. Perhaps sometime in July it will become law. My last posts have already made it clear that I believe the impact to be limited and much delayed. We must continue to address the critical...

Read Post

Fine Print Weakens Bill

(2) Comments | Posted June 29, 2010 | 12:52 PM

As the details emerge on the financial reform bill, it becomes apparent that it will do little to avert another financial crisis in the coming years. Huffpo notes the same regarding certain provisions of the Volcker Rule, intended to limit trading risks.

Specifically, there are varying implementation periods...

Read Post

Regulation Takes Its Place: Second Place

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2010 | 3:08 PM

Regulation has its place and that place is and always will be of secondary importance to the character of the society it intends to govern. The past months have provided moments of despair and hope. At the end of the day, more than nothing was achieved. I'm not...

Read Post

Bank Compensation Cartels

(1) Comments | Posted June 23, 2010 | 11:18 AM

Adding to yesterday's comments, banks are run by Compensation Cartels. They buy the myth of superhero financial status, despite the fact that they consistently destroy long term value at banks. Any major bank ownership group consists of two classes of owners: those from banks that were acquired and have shares...

Read Post