Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Pure Fiction. (Editor's Column)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Pure Fiction. (Editor's Column)

Article excerpt

FICTION IN A TRADE PUBLICAtion? Why not? A good friend of mine once observed that a well-written novel can give you a good understanding of people. That's because in a novel you get inside a character's mind.

So when Executive Editor Steve Cocheo and Contributing Editor Jo Ann Barefoot proposed reprising the fictional banker, Anne Rivers, in a new drama relating to the war on terrorism, I gave them the green light. Rivers first appeared in an article we ran last June that chronicled her tug-of-war with an obnoxious examiner over Truth-in-Lending violations.

This time, her stage and issues are much larger.

More than most businesses--except, perhaps, the travel industry--banks have been directly affected by the terrorist attacks of last September. The financial industry was both a target of the attacks, and used in part by the terrorists to finance their deadly strikes. And though no banks we know of have received anthrax-tainted mail, banks are very visible symbols, and thus are targets for all manner of misdeeds.

The issues of physical and human security, compliance with the new antiterrorism law, privacy concerns, as well as the immense pressure they feel to help prevent the financing of future attacks are a complex burden that banks of all sizes are grappling with.

Like a puzzle where the pieces are all the same color, there are few clear-cut solutions to these sometimes conflicting issues. Most of the guidance, rules, and regulations implementing the new law, for example, won't be issued for some weeks or months, even though the threats and challenges are here right now. …

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