The Citizen Bank

The single most important thing for banks and other businesses to focus on in 2012 is economic growth and job creation. But, to play their role, banks need to rebuild the trust that has been decimated by the events of the past three years.

LONDON – Soon after the financial crisis began in 2008, I was at a meeting in the United States where a senior White House economic adviser put a question to me: “Do you think banks can be good citizens?”

As I started to answer “Yes,” he interjected: “If your answer is ‘yes,’ think about the fact that no one will believe you.”

His follow-up gave me pause. I’ve thought a lot about it over the past three years, which have been so difficult for the world economy.

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