Big Banks Worry Free Pattern of Wrongdoing a Strong Call for Change

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Profit without boundaries and limits or weak ones is a dangerous way ton live life and conduct business. Too commonly, ethics deficiencies can drive people and organizations to deviate from quality character and ignore or push aside sound judgment and decision quality.

This type of mindset often leads to repeat offenses of criminality or legal-but-poor leadership and organizational misconduct.

Big banks have earned their unsavory reputation for a faulty belief system, weak impulse control and lawlessness. It’s a too-frequent reality that reveals fluid standards and malpractice of governance and compliance.

In his piece Wall Street is living up to its bad reputation, Felix Salmon, the author of Axios’ Capital section briefly details the rap sheets of financial institutions, six in all. The names are easily recognizable and notorious offenders. Collectively, these scofflaws have paid billions of dollars in fines and while they have been exposed in the media and criticized by government, they have not suffered for their misdeeds to the point of completing correcting their beliefs and behavior.

Some industries reveal themselves commonly incapable of self regulating themselves. Governance and compliance are shown not to be core values and core practices. Rather they are considered roadblocks to profits and growth.

Big banks, their names and leaders are content with low-quality reputation. To them, the people that really matter to them are financially satisfied and the rest appears to them to just be the cost of success.

It’s not just CEOs, COOs and brand names that have earned reputations for unethical behavior and rejection of governance and compliance responsibilities, it’s government too that is deserving of scrutiny, examination, oversight and punishment.

The general citizenry can express contempt for the lack of business character yet only those in authority and with power — banks and regulators — can do what needs to be done to restore credibility, confidence, trust and reputation.

The question is, will they take it upon themselves to carry themselves with higher character, elevated standards and govern and police with effectiveness.

A commitment to competence is not a high bar yet it does require ethical leadership. That means clearly showing with consistency the disciplined mindset and unwavering practice, improvement, examination and correction of misaligned thinking and actions deviating from the straight line of ethics.

It also means exercising a level of governance and compliance that acts as a reliable safeguard by preventing an ethical breach, scandal or crisis and quickly discovers and corrects shortcomings before they become egregious failings.

Michael Toebe helps individuals and organizations accurately analyze and wisely, more successfully respond to conflict and crisis that threatens or harms reputation. He writes Red Diamonds Essays and Reputation Specialist Essays (both on the Medium platform) and analysis and advisory for online publications: Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member, New York Law Journal, Corporate Compliance Insights and Physicians Practice. He also publishes on LinkedIn and beBee and is the voice of the Red Diamonds Podcast.

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Michael Toebe is a specialist for reputation, scandal and crisis, writing on those topics and stories in the news regarding individuals and organizations.

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