Magazine article American Banker


Magazine article American Banker


Article excerpt

Byline: Heather Landy, Jeff Horwitz, Paul Davis, Matthew Monks

Confidence Game

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was in New York this week with a simple message for bank executives: Don't wait on Washington.

Momentarily ignoring the academics and press that had gathered to hear him Monday at New York University's Stern School of Business, Geithner appealed directly to bankers to start making their own reforms ahead of the effective date of new federal rules and regulations.

"Find new ways to improve disclosure for your consumers. End hidden fees. Don't push people into loans they can't afford," he said. Also, he advised, improve your pay practices, make sure your board members understand your business and focus on strengthening your financial position "so that your financial ratings, your cost of capital, all reflects your own financial strength and earnings prospects, not the false expectation that the government will be there in the future to rescue you from your mistakes."

And if none of that works, steal a page from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whom Geithner dined with on the day of the speech, and just be sure to maintain an air of confidence in your own abilities.

Over their meal, Geithner said, "I asked [Bloomberg] how New York was doing. He said it was strong. I said, 'Why is it strong?' He said, 'Because we have a great mayor.'"

Out of the Rough

After two years, Wells Fargo & Co. has decided it's safe to associate with golf again.

This week, the San Francisco company announced its intention to reclaim its naming rights to the PGA Tour's 2011 Wells Fargo Championship. Though Wells had inherited a sevenyear contract through its Wachovia Corp. acquisition, it opted to leave its name off the marquee for both last year and this year's events. That didn't mean Wells sidestepped the $7 million annual cost of the sponsorship deal it simply decided that having its name plastered on a luxury sporting event in the hometown of one of the largest casualties of the financial crisis might not draw the right kind of attention. …

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