Andy Haldane, Occupy and What YOU can do about it

I’m a big fan of Andy Haldane. He is a ranking member of the Bank Of England, and a key member of the BOE financial stability committee. Over the weekend he gave a speech in London, which many regard as the first official “salute” to the Occupy Movement. Haldane has a unique writing style, he is very lucid, clear and very plainspoken for a central banker. His speeches are a delight to read! I strongly recommend reading the whole thing here. This speech has caused a firestorm in financial circles, see all the reactions here. A few choice quotes from the speech which inspired me.

Some have suggested rather little, that Occupy’s voice has been loud but vague, long on problems, short on solutions. Others have argued that the fault-lines in the global financial system, which chasmed during the crisis, are essentially unaltered, that reform has failed. I wish to argue tonight that both are wrong – that Occupy’s voice has been both loud and persuasive and that policymakers have listened and are acting in ways which will close those fault-lines. In fact, I want to argue that we are in the early stages of a reformation of finance, a reformation which Occupy has helped stir.

Let me start with the contribution of the Occupy movement itself. Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularize the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason: they are right.

THIS IS HUGE. A central banker making such a public statement about a movement that was uniformly derided in the finance community is a kicker. He goes on to explain with a really clear framework on how we got to where are today. Brilliant writing as usual. He ends his speech with what I think is a very pertinent point.

For banking, this is back to the future. If that sounds attractive, then it is down to us – not regulators, not politicians, you and I – to deliver it. If as bank customers we want to change the culture of banking, then we should start by supporting those banks who are delivering that change. Putting your money where your mouth is would deliver far greater and more durable change than any amount of banker-bashing.

He’s dead on right. We as consumers need to rise up, understand what we are signing up for and DEMAND better. We need to put our money where our mouth is.

Vote with your wallet, its the only leverage we got.

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