In a town perhaps previously best known for providing the dirt that allowed Boston to double in size by filling in its swampy Back Bay there is a startling banking counter-revolution underway. Led by long-established but newly-rejuvenated Needham Bank and involving not only that town but those nearby, community banking is reclaiming market share.
There is a major battle going on in the financial services industry, and your welfare is at stake. What's the war over? Whether or not the person you're trusting to invest your money is legally required to act in your best interest. Right now, they only have to make sure the investments they're selling you are "suitable." I would like to see legislation for fiduciary duty and I'll tell you why.
While it took a few years after the financial crisis for financial services start-ups to get their business models refined to the point where they can come to market they are here now, and these alternative financial services technology companies are becoming viable and increasingly common sources of financing for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
In this day and age of free market orthodoxy, the banks don't like to think of themselves as having any sort of "moral obligations," only obligations to shareholders. But the protection Canadian banks enjoy -- the same protection that has allowed them to prosper internationally -- means that the banks do not operate in a free market environment, and if they want to continue having their cake and eating it too they should accept they have responsibilities towards the Canadians who have little choice but to bank with them.
Women relate to each other though stories, and through this process they learn and grow. Money is one of the last taboos and is something many of us are uncomfortable discussing. Creating safe and open spaces for women to talk about money is one of the missing gaps in financial and investor education.
It has all come to where we are today: Loss of confidence, loss of trust, and staggering market losses. This is the time for transparency, authentic conversation, honesty and humility. Those who display this behaviour have a chance to slowly regain the shattered trust of their customers. Straight talk. Honest talk. Committed talk. No spin. No rationalization. The industry messed up, and the public wants to hear the truth.
Another sordid example of banksterism -- money laundering -- surfaced this week accompanied, not surprisingly, by a blistering global poll that shows faith in capitalism is shrinking. The HSBC (Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation), the largest financial institution in Europe, revealed "major internal-control problems" and plans to apologize for its lapses next week to members of a U.S. Senate subcommittee into terrorist and trafficking money laundering.