Latest Commentary

A modest proposal on bank security

The banking industry is nothing if not intensely competitive. Cooperation is always difficult even when it makes sense. When cyber criminal embarked on their DDOS campaigns against large banks last year, the FBI met with representatives to discuss the attacks. One FBI agent tells the Los Angeles Times: "It was stilted." He added that the gathered executives "wouldn't share in an environment with their competitors sitting in the same room."

Narcissistic CEOs adopt disruptive tech. So?

Is your CEO a narcissist? If so, he might be more likely to adopt so-called disruptive technologies and drive you, the CIO or IT staffer, batty.

Eminent domain fight escalates in Richmond, CA

Big asset management firms have been fighting the eminent domain movement hard, making clear that they will not take massive enforced haircuts sitting down. They have taken the fight to all cities that would dream of using eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages. That fight has landed with a bang in Richmond, CA, which has become the first city to actually try to put the theory into practice.

SROs: Do they still make sense?

Once the main stock exchanges decided to give up their non-profit status and transform themselves into publicly traded companies, the very idea of exchanges acting as SROs started to seem a little strange. After all, can a for-profit company really run a regulatory body that is supposed to police the entire market, including operations on and off exchanges?

BATS suffers 50-minute trading outage

BZX Exchange, the fully electronic exchange of BATS Global Markets, suffered a trading snafu that stopped the exchange from dealing for nearly an hour on Tuesday.

Nasdaq faces huge cyber-security challenges

Nasdaq OMX's exchanges have unfortunately become a magnet for hackers. Back in early 2011, the exchange company suffered a breach of its Director's Desk service, an information portal for corporate directors. As the extent of the damage was not known initially, there was lots of concern among users about whether confidential information about Nasdaq issuers was compromised. 

Credit ratings business: Has anything changed?

One issue for the credit ratings companies is that they pretty much have to be profit driven. Standard & Poor's is part of McGraw Hill, which trades on the NYSE, as does Moody's. They have shareholders, who expect profits. Few would begrudge the right of a company to do whatever it takes (as long as it's legal) to expand their market share.

Panic buttons at the ATMs

Banks are working overtime to find and foil fraud at ATMs. They are tackling thieves who create fake ATM displays that snatch customer's cash and hackers who steal PINs and IDs to create false accounts. Banks also have limits for the amount of cash a person can remove from their accounts and they're relying on Big Data, too. If you withdraw cash from at ATM in Manhattan and someone uses the same card in Seattle or Texas moments later, the banks can close down the account instantly.

SAC Capital courtroom showdown to come

The SAC Capital drama has to end at some point, the sooner the better for some people. I can't think of a more dramatic ending that an old-fashioned courtroom showdown. That's where things appear to be heading now.

The future of ATMs is now

Over the next few years, banks are planning massive upgrades to their ATM networks. About half of domestic financial-services companies plan to replace their ATMs before 2017, according to a recent survey by CEB TowerGroup. Of those, most upgrades will occur by the end of next year. This marks the industry's most significant ATM upgrade in more than a decade, as noted by Bloomberg Businessweek.