The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Ken Lewis – where are you getting your political advice?

Building on a post the other day about BofA, you might think its time to single out Ken Lewis here and his apparent inability to read the obvious.  [hat tip Paul].

It has been two weeks since those incredibly painful hearings with the House Finance Committee where no-one could doubt that corporate jets are the political hot potato of the day, right behind bonuses being paid by government bailout money.

Well this piece adds visuals with the rented bling-mobile after a ride on one of the most expensive corporate jets in existence.  Add the almost $4bn in bonuses referred to at the end of this video which represents almost 25% of the bailout, and you have a serious lack of political awareness going on from the top at Bank of America.

Relevance to Bankwatch:

Well I have a different take. Umair speaks of the need for a new corporate DNA.  Here and recently with a manifesto.

Umair is really trying amongst several other things, to address the traditional corporate and customer positioning and associated information control approaches that have existed.  They all fail in internet land.

  • The notion that you know more than the market is flawed.
  • The notion that by not saying anything means that it is not known is flawed.
  • The notion that you can answer criticism with rationalisations to prove you were right is flawed.

Bank of America have not adopted a new DNA at all it appears so their actions depicted in the video are precisely what is expected of an old DNA bank.

In fairness Lewis lives in Charlotte, and I don’t know how he gets his advice.  Who is responsible for monitoring the political sphere and advising him?  As ABC points out its only $444 to fly from Charlotte to NY.  Would that be so hard during these times?  Is he getting the right advice and not listening?  Time will tell.

I refer to my post last week comparing the fate of the telcoms in the dot com crash to the banks.  It refers to the outcomes for the telcoms, and one outcome was that none of the senior executives of the telcoms survived.  BofA are not doing a good job of refuting that lesson.

incidentally, i don’t see Wells Fargo falling into this trap anymore.  Geez we have Obama running around in a 50 car convoy when he hit Canada last week for a 3 hour visit, and he is still able to carry off that he has a believable message for the times and appear contrite.  BofA …  its just not that hard.

Bank of America is a great bank but these are not the best of times.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 1, 2009 at 23:36

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