Kenneth Lewis, chairman and CEO of Bank of America, spoke of the role of confidence in financial services, especially in the face of volatile markets during the opening plenary at this year's Sibos conference.While Lewis' remarks during his keynote speech were by no means groundbreaking, his faith in the economy's recovery from the bursting of the mortgage bubble and the resulting credit turmoil was reasurring. As a comparison, he spoke of how the bursting on the dot com bubble in the early 2000s didn't mark the end of the Internet by any means. Just as the Internet continued to grow and innovate, so will the credit-related markets and products, he said.
"Confidence in the system is what makes it work," Lewis said.
The signs of the impending credit crunch were pretty clear, he said, adding that the credit crunch is putting enormous pressure and companies and markets.
In his comments more relevant to the conference, Lewis noted the importance of global payments to the efficiency of the economy. In that vein, he recommended four key goals to improve the industry.
First, said Lewis, financial institutions must innovate. "Do as I say," he implied, while noting that Bank of America is delivering innovative payments solutions to its clients. Second, execute: we can never rest, he said. Next, inform, so the "business community and consumers understand the importance we serve. It's our job to know how much confidence our customers and the public have" in us, he said. Lastly, banks must remain "vigilant" in the ways they respond to growing regulatory pressure and challenges.