Banks’ approval ratings in the eyes of the American public are probably about as high as that of Congress’s – i.e. horrifically low. Yes, banks, once one of America’s most well-regarded institutions, have taken a public relations beating in recent years thanks to some wildly unpopular policies – outrageous overdraft fees, predatory lending practices, seemingly arbitrary increases in credit card interest rates, and of course, the recent decision by several banks to install charges for debit card use (which, as we know, was subsequently rescinded).
It seems like the retail banking industry is starting to resemble the airline industry in charging for services that were once considered standard and part of the package. Remember the 1960s, which was the golden age of jet travel? Many fondly remember the era as a time when flying was fun and glamorous. As the new ABC TV show Pan-Am depicts, flying was a five-star experience, with freshly cooked hot meals and attentive and pleasant service. Oh how the industry has fallen, we all think now.
As the Occupy Wall Street movement continued to grow nationwide and even globally, I was inspired to read through Greenberg’s bestselling book, Memos from the Chairman, this week, and immediately I thought to myself: If all of Wall Street had read it, then perhaps the hubristic, ostentatious, greed-is-good post-80s culture might never have emerged.
You know something has captured the imagination of the public when it trends on Twitter. And for good or bad (well, mostly bad), Bank of America is a big trending topic lately. Twitter users are voicing their frustration and displeasure over the bank’s plan to charge a monthly $5 fee when customers use their debit cards.
Laying people off is not always the best idea for businesses in a recession. When forming business plans, management should take the entire business cycle into consideration. This means understanding that there will be bad times, like recessions, and boom times, and thus businesses should manage through, instead of manage for, recessions, so they can be ready for the inevitable upturn.
China’s Undervalued Yuan: Red Herring, Not Currency Manipulation? Last week the President of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, Davide Cucino, told reporters that Chinese officials informed them that the yuan will likely be made fully convertible by 2015. Full currency convertibility is one of the conditions the US and Europe requires China to meet before it can be part of the International Monetary Fund’s currency basket. And it will mean two important changes, among others, will take effect: the yuan will no longer be as reliant on the dollar as it is now, and it will be stronger
Good-b announces a new Good Business Economics feature – Breaking Barriers by Blogger Sterling Wong – who hails originally from Singapore and is a legal resident of the U.S. and resides in New York City. After studying economics at Oxford, Sterling graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in New York with a degree in Economics & Political Science. Fluent in Chinese and immersed in Asian and American culture, Sterling brings an innovative international view to the world of 21st Century finance at Good-b. We welcome him aboard.