What a year it’s been for the banking industry! From threats from outside the industry by Apple and Wal-Mart, to questions on whether Colorado and Washington banks should work with legal marijuana businesses, to regulatory shenanigans at the New York Fed, 2014 has been memorable. As the holidays approach and I think back on the year that was, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some of the banking-related stories I enjoyed in 2014.
- Banks given the go-ahead on working with marijuana businesses: Marijuana may be legal in some states, but that doesn’t mean banks are ready to work with marijuana businesses.
- How to Punish a Bank: This is from National Public Radio’s Planet Money, so it’s more of a listen than a read, but delves into the problems of effectively punishing the big banks.
- Bank of America Adds a Mortgage Settlement to Its Collection: Bloomberg’s Matt Levine (also cited in the NPR segment) provides the data on (at the time) Bank of America’s $68 billion in mortgage settlements, and asks how effective these penalties and fines are when they become business-as-usual.
- Inside the Emerald City: Jack Milligan, editor of Bank Director, delved into the culture of the NY Fed following concerns that regulators got just a bit too cozy with the big banks they oversee.
- Sizing Up the NonBank Threat: Jack Milligan’s cover story in the 4th quarter 2014 issue of Bank Director magazine was a great way to close out a year that saw a lot of focus on the impact that nonbank competitors, from Wal-Mart to Apple, had on traditional banks.
- Are Wal-Mart and Apple poised to be regulated by the CFPB?: This Washington Post article feels particularly prescient, following news of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s lawsuit against Sprint.
- For Banks, the Sky is Falling: Al Dominick’s blog, AboutThatRatio.com, explored the nonbank threat in a five-part series that examined Facebook, PayPal, Wal-Mart and crowdfunding.
- Wal-Mart’s Getting into Banking, and It Makes a Lot of Sense: FiveThirtyEight delves into data on the unbanked to explain Wal-Mart’s expansion of its financial products.
Banks That Do Things a Little Differently
- Why This Bank Bought Its Customers Pizza: Simple–now part of BBVA–experienced an outage, so it made it up to customers in pizza and cash.
- C1 Bank establishes ‘living wage’ pay rate for full-time employees: I recently covered its creative approach in the branch for BankDirector.com, but earlier this year C1 set a pay rate of $14 per hour, hiking pay as much as 20 percent for more than 10 percent of the bank’s employees. CEO Trevor Burgess explained his reason for the raise: “It became clear to us that we owed a lot of success to the dedication of our team members, our employees…we thought the ethical thing to do was to make sure all employees had a living wage and were benefiting from the success we had.”
- This One Simple Management Change Saved Bank of America $15 Million: Bank of America used data analytics to address turnover at its call centers.
- Hacking into Tomorrow’s Banking Crisis: The Wall Street Journal dug into the cybersecurity threat facing banks. For more on how to address cybercrime as a board, I’d recommend Naomi Snyder’s 1st quarter 2014 cover story for Bank Director, “What Directors Need to Know About Cyber Security”).
- Dutchman has Bitcoin ‘wallets’ inserted into hands: Who needs Apply Pay? This Dutchman injected his virtual wallet into his hands.
- Digital Cash Will Starve the Homeless: As we travel towards a cashless society, how does it impact those on the margins?
- A look at the first drive-thru banks: Travel back to 1964 Denver, Colorado with Popular Science, for a look at the first drive-thru bank in the U.S.
- The Resurrection of Aubrey Lee Price (free, registration required): A Georgia bank director fakes his death after defrauding investors of millions, only to turn up 18 months later through a routine traffic stop. If you missed Naomi Snyder’s story earlier this year, I encourage you to check it out.
- Ruckus at the Bank of America Shareholder meeting ends in marriage proposal: Shareholder meetings don’t have to be boring.