Magazine : Archives : 1st Quarter 2020

Stepping on the Same Rakes

It’s good for bankers to know a thing or two about history. Other industries proceed cumulatively, building upon past advancements — new medicines are discovered, better cars are produced, technology grows increasingly sophisticated. But banking is cyclical. Its narrative coalesces around crises, all of which look strikingly like the others. Sometimes the lessons from past crises are heeded; oftentimes they are not. “Unburdened with the experience of the past, each generation of bankers believes it knows best, and each new generation produces some who have to learn the hard way,” former FDIC Chairman Irvine Sprague once wrote. This is where...