...against fictions and other tall tales

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Bankers as public servants

An insightful anecdote by a reader of the American Scholar on how banking has changed during his lifetime:
Good Fences Make Good Bankers” by William J. Quirk (Spring 2013) reminds me of an experience I had in the 1950s. A final-year law student interviewing for a position with a major bank in Ohio, I had the temerity to ask the interviewer what kind of financial future I might expect in a legal career with a bank. He paused and in measured tones told me that if I was concerned with financial success, I should not go into banking. Banking, he said earnestly, was a quasi-public-service industry, and its primary mission was to protect the funds of its depositors and assist its borrowing customers
Can you picture a bank interviewer, with a straight face, uttering these same words to a young job applicant today? (italics added)

Reference

Shapiro, Fred., "Bankers as public servants", American Scholar, Summer 2013.

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