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Hello, would you like to be our CEO?

I was imagining if I walked into a big bank job today. You are hired as CEO of Mega-Global-Bank PLC. What’s going on?

Well, number one, no-one has any idea where the economy is going. There’s a global pandemic. Everything is up in the air, and we have lots of companies with huge amounts of debt on our balance sheet.

Hmmm … ok, loans and credit might be an issue.

Number two, the global economy is up-the-spout. There are raging arguments between America and China, Britain and Europe, supply chains are failing, and we can’t even get a ship up the Suez canal without screwing it up.

Hmmm … ok, the economic outlook is uncertain.

Number three, the government is also demanding money. They’ve issued treasury bonds over the next century that are unsustainable to pay down debt that they can’t afford.

Hmmm … ok, treasury bonds might be an issue.

Number four, we ducked and dived a bit a few years ago and charged customers fees we shouldn’t have charged, opened accounts we shouldn’t have opened, did some dodgy deals with other banks and made a shedload of money by ripping people off.

Hmmm … we may need to change our ways.

Number five, we discovered that our operation in the middle of nowhere accidentally sent a gazillion dollars to a corporate client in the middle of somewhere, and we didn’t monitor it properly. As a result, the US government is going to fine us a trazillion dollars.

Hmmm … ok, we have regulatory issues.

Number six, we have a lot of companies doing what we do better. They’re called FinTechs, and they are targeting little bits of our business, and then creating software to do it better than we can do it.

Hmmm … ok, we have issues with our operations.

Number seven, it’s more than that. We have systems and structures dating back to 1968. We’ve tried to renovate and reconstruct them but, to be honest, we’re not even sure what some of them do, as they’re written in programming languages that date back to before when you were born.

Hmmm … ok, we need to deal with our legacy.

Number eight, there are things we’ve tried to do with our technologies for over a decade that haven’t worked. Jack blames Joe who blames Jane who blames John. We’ve invested a godzillian amount of dollars in getting McKinney and Accendure and IBN to sort it out, but none have them have succeeded.

Hmmm … maybe we can’t deal with our legacy.

Number nine, we have some competition growing amongst companies that don’t have our tech issues. They’re called Amazon and Alibaba.

Shoot.

Number ten.

What?

I work for a bank, I lost count. Number eleven, there are people creating a whole new system that do what we do better with technology. They are using cloud, smartphones and something called Ethereum.

What?

Number twelve, Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough are outside your office. They claim the bank is greenwashing and funding firms that destroy the planet.

Darn.

Thirteen, we are being investigated by authorities in four major areas right now. They believe we tried to hide our dodgy activities and money laundering issues, that we purposefully acted against our clients interests, that our executives should be accountable and that you, personally, will be sent to jail if they find us guilty.

Thirteen? Thirteen? I might be liable? I might go to jail? I quit.

 

Urmmm … your package would be $200 million a year plus share options.

Oh, OK.

 

Postscript #1: this is just the short-list.

Postscript #2: don’t worry. We own those treasury bonds … and so we own the government.

Postcript #3: you know that item #10? It’s about your expense account. Can you explain these items please …

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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