Sunday, March 07, 2010

Quotes from my quote locker...

I collect quotes from a variety of sources to remind me of knowledge imparted to me by smart people. Since my memory is relatively weak, I subscribe to the theory that those that forget history are bound to repeat it. So my quote database is a compendium of reminders of historical facts or events that, if forgotten, ultimately lead to a repeat of poor results. I offer a few in today’s blog.

“The letters to the federal banking regulators are a catalog of fear.” Michael Barbaro, NY Times business writer, October 17, 2005.

Remember when Wal-Mart sought a Utah industrial loan company (ILC) charter? Our industry was in an uproar, citing the separation between commercial companies and banks, even though no such objections surfaced when Target or Toyota acquired their charters. See a past blog post regarding how Wal-Mart is working their banking strategy without an ILC at:

“The game has changed, but the people didn’t.” Head of Human Resources at a bank client (keeping anonymous to maintain confidentiality), February 26, 2009.

This was a succinct recognition of how the banking industry has changed over the past two decades and our adoption to change has been slow because the same people occupy key positions within our banks.

“Foolish governments had guaranteed the liabilities of financial institutions that used other people's money in an undisciplined way.” Martin Mayer, from his 1997 book The Bankers-The Next Generation.

In a classic example of repeating history, this Mayer statement was made in 1997 regarding the 1989-1991 S&L crisis and the early 1990’s Japanese banking crisis. I wonder how we can apply it today?

“When you run with the pack, what you generally see are other people's backsides.” Arkadi Kulhmann, Chairman & President of ING Direct USA, October 31, 2008.

Basic strategy that recognizes the need to be different than others that also sell a commodity, namely money. Say what you will of ING Bank’s performance in the United States, but being ordinary is not one of them. And for a bank established in 2000, having $75 billion in total deposits by the end of 2009 is not too shabby.

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