A noble banker needs to occupy here

Is there a noble banker in the world? Only someone in the lending business who sees his calling as a “service for the people,” I believe, could correct past abuses and recommend changes for, and in the best interests of, us “99 percenters.”

I am sure there are many who entered the field with the best intentions, and still work with distinction, living up to the honor bestowed only upon the most trustworthy in society. We need honest and reliable people who know their way in economics to guide the rest of us. When a few abuse the faith we place in them, it cripples the entire process and causes the type of havoc we see in protests by people who feel betrayed, used and nearly hopeless.

Part of my “duty” as a lieutenant in the Army was to serve as a payroll officer in the states and another time in Vietnam. I short-change myself both times, losing $80 once and about $40 the next time. I didn’t report either discrepancy because I did not want superior officers to question my efficiency or competency.

You see, I felt “honored” to serve in that capacity. I had barely obtained a high school degree with no classes in home economics or any other type of economics. While in the military, I served as “paymaster” in between roles as a training officer in Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and as a combat infantry platoon leader in Southeast Asia. I enjoyed assisting those of all ranks who depended on their monthly pay, and I got so much out of taking part in their lives and what they planned to do with their cash.

(The Army had also assigned me to prosecute soldiers committing minor infractions and I learned I never wanted to take the side of government against a person ever again. I would eventually end up representing defendants in criminal cases brought by government officials.)

I believe that anyone who works in banking provides a much-needed service to the rest of us. We elevate our financial managers and count on them to give advice to our government leaders to steer us through both good and bad economic times. We depend on them when we need to borrow money and we trust they won’t take advantage of their unique positions.

But when they do, we need people from within the field to call them out, to decry practices that might have been legal in the eyes of the law, but clearly illegal according to the social contract persons of their station assume when taking on such a role.

Money lending historically has been seen as a necessary evil at best, and grounds for excommunication at worst. (See the practice by the Catholic Church.) A main argument against it was that it created excessive profit and gain without “labor.” Labor was deemed as “work” in a Biblical context. Profits from money-lending or “usury” were not gained from any substantial work but from greed, trickery and manipulation, according to early tenets in the three major western religions.

Unless honorable men practicing in the field step forward and offer to make needed changes today, I believe we’ll return to those “Dark Ages” where more drastic measures were used against those “one per centers.”

Can anyone spell “D E F A U L T” on loans?

5 comments on “A noble banker needs to occupy here

  1. livvy1234 says:

    Eight Commitments of Ethical Culture

    Ethics is central.

    The most central human issue in our lives involves creating a more humane world.

    Ethics begins with choice.

    Creating a more humane world begins by affirming the need to make significant choices in our lives.

    We choose to treat each other as ends, not means.
    To enable us to be whole in a fragmented world, we choose to treat each other as unique individuals. having intrinsic worth.
    We seek to act with integrity.

    Treating one another as ends requires that we learn to act with integrity. This includes keeping commitments, and being more open, honest, caring, and responsive.

    We are committed to educate ourselves.

    Personal progress is possible, both in wisdom and in social life. Learning how to build ethical relationships and cultivate a humane community is a life-long endeavor.

    Self-reflection and our social nature require us to shape a more humane world.

    Growth of the human spirit is rooted in self-reflection, but can only come to full flower in community. This is because people are social, needing both primary relationships and larger supportive groups to become fully human. Our social nature requires that we reach beyond ourselves to decrease suffering and increase creativity in the world.

    Democratic process is essential to our task.

    The democratic process is essential to a humane social order because respect for the worth of persons requires democratic process which elicits and allows a greater expression of human capacities.

    Life itself inspires religious response.

    Although awareness of impending death intensifies the human quest for meaning, the mystery of life itself, and the need to belong, are the primary factors motivating human religious response.


    • contoveros says:


      I take “religious response” to mean religion with a small “r,” the type I find within “s p i r i t u a l i t y,” and not in buildings called mosques, churches and synagouges, not to mention temples.

      Ethics is indeed the key to a worthwhile life. I don’t see how anyone could feel good about themselves doing anything they know is morally wrong. Education helps all of us see how interdependent we are, and how alleviating the suffering of one person helps alleviate the suffering for others, including ourselves when we focus away from our own life situtation and care more for another’s woes.

      I don’t know if I got this from the Dalai Lama, a Catholic Pope, or my favorite Kabbalistic teacher. Who knows? Maybe they all read the Quran and incorporated the teachings of Mohammed.

      michael j


  2. souldipper says:

    Michael J., I posted this on face book, but wouldn’t it be grand if this could happen: http://www.cbc.ca/strombo/social-issues/the-g20-and-the-robin-hood-tax.html


    • contoveros says:

      Yes, it would, Amy,to

      “levy a tax of 0.05% on all financial market transactions of stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and derivatives, and use the money raised for “poverty reduction and helping poor countries cope with climate change”, according to the group’s website.”

      I also liked the lyrics to the Robin Hood TV show:

      Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
      Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men
      Feared by the bad, loved by the good
      Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood

      He called the greatest archers to a tavern on the green
      They vowed to help the people of the king
      They handled all the troubles on the English country scene
      And still found plenty of time to sing

      Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
      Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men
      Feared by the bad, loved by the good
      Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood


      • contoveros says:

        I seem to recall that two of the lines from Robin Hood might have been changed to protect the upper class. I believe the original lyrics might have said:

        “Feared by the Rich,
        Loved by the Poor”

        Robin Hood


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