1. Hire a personal auditor, but not a partner of the bank's audit firm, and not one of the Big Four. 2. Hire a personal attorney, not from Philadelphia, but nearby from the Bronx. 3. Outsource all personal expense report submissions to an independent accounting firm that has no ties to the bank, and no ambitions to be there. 4. Hire a personal devil's advocate as an independent contractor with a guarantee tenure to make sure I uphold moral, business, ethical and fairness rules as the contractor may prescribe. 5. Hire an attorney who specializes in SEC matters to make sure all my Wall Street transactions are legal. ...6. Hire an ethics professor at Harvard to make sure all my Wall Street transactions are moral. 7. Pay for all of the above out of my W-2 income after discussing same with my wife. 8. Talk to "60 Minutes" only if ABC, NBC, Bill Maher, Bill O'Reilly, and all of the above are in the room with me. 9. Never have one-on-one discussions with members of the press. Include third parties such as Alan Greenspan, Pope Benedict, Sandra Day O'Connor and Bill Clinton. 10. Make sure my personal secretary, if it is a woman, has been screened by Billy Graham as to not just proper behavior, but what adversaries might dream up if ever my office door was closed while she was in there with me. 11. Avoid any PR-suggested changes, including dress code, cosmetic makeovers and excessive photo exposures in trade journals. Clue: Don't go to the Donald's barber, dentist or haberdasher.
In addition to all my personal risk-avoidance measures, here are some things I would implement to protect everyone else:
1. Hire SAIC to work with the bank's CIO to build an early warning system that identifies future possible disasters in the bank long before they bite us in the ass. Focus on lines of business that are "unbelievably profitable." 2. Provide the bank's CIO with my idea of the top 10 critical discoveries of potential risk detected from last night's posting run. An example might be, What is the amount in the suspense account right now? What was it the day before? What has it been in the past 30 days? How much of the balance has been resolved? How much of the balance never goes away? Who isn't offering legitimate reasons for the balance? What does it take to reach a zero balance? How often have the bank examiners written us up on this? 3. A report showing who the top credit risks are (1,000 customers per billion dollars of bank assets) 4. A report showing how many employees resigned yesterday; how many were fired yesterday; how many were hired yesterday. 5. A list of customer complaints that occurred yesterday. What do you mean you can't get it? 6. Who actually listened to call center recorded messages from our customers? Give me a CD of those recorded yesterday. 7. How many accounts were closed yesterday? Opened? Why? 8. A list of the largest loan applications rejected yesterday by the loan committee. A list of the largest applications approved. 9. A list of our 100 largest customers. A list of our 100 smallest customers. 10. Show me every story about our bank that appeared in any newspaper last month. 11. When was the last time our investor relations department communicated with Evelyn Davis? Is she attending the next stockholder meeting? 12. Which officer is dumping his bank stock? 13. Has anyone sued the bank this week? 14. Explain our fee strategies as if you were the governor of our state. For example, why do we charge a good credit card customer, who has never defaulted in over ten years a 24.24% interest rate on the unpaid balance? 15. Make sure one nasty SOB that everyone in the bank hates has a position in the Executive Suite. Enough said, except that I will have the right to tell her when she crosses the "Leona line of indecency." 16. I hired an engineer from MIT's lab to modify my workstation (hardware and software) so as to detect any e-mail with a secret code prefix in the subject field. It will set off a siren and red light whenever designated officers of the bank use the code. If you use the code, I'll never say, "I didn't get your e-mail." You better not use that excuse with me. 17. Make sure our CIO is reading www.banktech.com/blog every Monday.
And now for a little compassion. I've been tested and examined hundreds of times. The 22 times I served as an expert witness were the toughest. The 321 times I was tested by bankers were the easiest. So who am I to say how bankers should be tested? I don't know if any former bank CEOs are in prison, and yet, the public has watched "60 Minutes" enough to know that CEOs in healthcare, telecommunications, energy, investment banking, politics, multifaceted conglomerates, home fashions, pharmaceuticals and computer software industries have served or are serving time. I am not 100 percent pure, so I call my 33-page c.v. "FULL DISCLOSURE." It worked for a banker in Central America when he spotted Hillary Clinton's former law firm on my list of 22 law firms that had hired me. I didn't use her name but he made the connection.
It's a tough world for bankers because of a higher standard, and a word that is often part of the bank's name -- "trust." For the past two years Compliance Solutions have been the hottest apps sold by bank tech vendors. The reason is regulatory mandates, and in my opinion, that's not good enough. I'd like to see some CEO mandates, for no other reason than to CTA. Information systems can do the job if only someone would wake up and build the technology.
Disclaimer: Art Gillis worked on a major project for SAIC 12 years ago. SAIC is not one of the 71 companies included in Automation in Banking - 2008, never has been. Art Gillis does not own any SAIC stock. Art Gillis doesn't know anyone at SAIC today.