Monday, December 17, 2012
The fines keep coming and the attitude of businesses as usual
Recently there has been a rash of fines to the financial institutions mainly for violations of law regarding money laundering and other violations and the financial institutions have agreed to pay heavy fines to the government. Although stringent requirements are in place to make sure that violations don’t occur in each bank including audit by different regulatory agencies but these violations keep on happening and the institutions keep on paying the fines like they include as part of doing business. And it seems like each fine is getting bigger than the next one but the behavior of the financial institutions does not change with each violation. I don’t know that if the temptation of big money is so great that the institutions completely ignore their own laws or it is just plain negligence. But whatever it is, it does not look good to the reputation of the offending institution. But apart from reputation, the regulators apart from fining the offending institution don’t go after the prosecution of them since it is more convenient I believe to fine them and then go to the next one. This all comes to the phrase "too big to fail" which should be changed to "too big to close it down". The regulators don’t want to close down these big for fear of having a domino effect and the repercussions of being discriminatory in one case to shut them down and not in the other. And as the history of the fines says this will keep on going and the financial institutions would keep on paying as part of their business expense.(Full disclosure: I work in a financial institution and my opinion here only reflects an individual unbiased opinion and nothing more than that).