Bill Dudley: Mistakes Were Made, All Around

The New York Fed president engages in some serious self-criticism before unloading on Tim Sloan.
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By United States Treasury (http://www.federalreserve.gov/bios/pres02.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By United States Treasury (http://www.federalreserve.gov/bios/pres02.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The mild-mannered New York Fed president has some tough words for banks. In short: Stop whining and fix your sh*t. Take some goddamned responsibility for yourselves, and for all the stupid, malicious crap you’ve been up to (and rewarding your people for), and then stop doing it. He’s looking at you, Wells Fargo, and not only you but all of your kind.

Think that sounds harsh from a bureaucrat most often described as a dove? Well, it is. But Bill Dudley? He’s been on this whole culture thing for a while. Also, he speaks from experience. He, too, has tried and failed. And he knows what you’re going through, because he’s going through it, too. Just look at the utter catastrophe of his integrated policy analysis group, which he had to pull the plug on after just two years. But it was the right thing to do and he did it. You actual bank executives could learn a thing or two from his example, in his opinion.

“I let our employees know that I took a calculated risk and it didn’t work out. By doing this, I aimed to show that when things do not go as planned, the best approach is to address it, not to be silent….”

“I know that we have not yet achieved our goal: a culture in which employees perceive that, by raising their hands and challenging what may be an orthodoxy or conventional wisdom, they are contributing to the mission of the New York Fed,” he said. “I hope, however, that with the right incentives and good leadership models, we can move closer to that ideal state: an organization characterized by fresh ideas and open dialogue.”

In other words, don’t route the whistleblower line to the HR people in charge of firing rats.

Fed’s Dudley Admits to Misstep at Bank in London Speech [WSJ]
Fed’s Dudley Cites Wells Fargo Scandal in Call to Change Banking Culture [WSJ]

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