On March 14th, Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith resigned and submitted this op-ed piece for the New York Times. In it, Smith rips the firm to shreds by describing the “toxic” environment that he eventually found himself unable to work in. This is his metaphorical middle finger, slap in the face, and kick in the balls toward Goldman and everything the banking industry has come to stand for.
Even with all of the public outcry, banking leaders continue to keep their priorities of profits over people. Why? The institutions have become “too big to fail”. Their failure means a downward spiraling national downturn simply because they have their fat greedy fingers in all sorts of places. Banks of that size may as well be considered the bottom level of the Jenga tower. Take them out, and the whole thing goes toppling down.
The only hope I see for reform is the firm’s gradual loss of customers as a result of doing untrustworthy business. As Smith simply puts it “It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.”
Will the banking industry ever reform? Can the country afford to have these firms struggle even if it results in reforms? Are the banks ethically obligated to look out for their customers?