The Fourteenth Banker Blog

February 1, 2011


Filed under: Running Commentary — thefourteenthbanker @ 7:09 PM

Today is February 1st and I am faced with a conundrum. It is time to transition to a new role. I started this blog last Spring when we were in the thick of debate on Financial Reform.  I had two intents. One was to make a difference in the debate by adding an insider’s perspective on the industry and many of its pronouncements. My second intent was to just do something every week to move towards my goal of personal integrity in my life. My employer was stealing my integrity every day in the way I and others were required to respond to the pressures coming from the most senior management. Of course, they would deny this and say that intermediary managers “misinterpreted” what their intent was. At various times, I would register my objections and be faced with looks of incomprehension. Why would a successful manager sabotage a career by objecting to our commonly accepted practices, particularly those that were making us look good on the internal metrics and making us such big bonuses?  What craziness!

So I kept reading and kept writing. There is a whole world of information out there regarding what is wrong with our system. Every day I could read for hours and post for hours if I did not have a job and a life to lead. What a fantastic experience though. What a privilege to discover so many people whose eyes and minds are open to alternative perspectives, who are able to shed the propaganda. The official narrative continuously drones from the seats of power like the barely perceptible hum of machinery, the background music in a movie, or the soft chords as a preacher winds up his sermon.  Except the official narrative never ends.

How proud I am of Simon Johnson and James Kwak, Bill Black and Michael Hudson, Yves Smith, Tyler Durden et al, Barry Ritholz, George Washington, Edward Harrison, George Mobus, David Stockman, and a hundred others whose posts have graced these pages. Keep fighting the good fight.

To all my readers and commenters, thank you so much. You have added wisdom and reality to this conversation. Thank you Jerry, Tippy, Sandi, Lucy, Eric, Lawrence, Ella and the many others who have stopped to add to the conversation.

There is a downside to being anonymous. There is really nowhere to go with it. I have thought about writing a book or going on television, and have been invited many times, but to do so would be to bring longer term problems for a short term splash. I have withheld the most damning details of corruption that would reveal my identity, and in doing so have done my employer a favor. So I guess I have to say Bradley Manning is a bigger figure than I. But he is in solitary.

A funny thing has happened on this journey. While I have been clear with my truth in this anonymous blog, I have become clearer with my truth in the rest of my life. I have quietly begun to live the life of a reformer. My life is richer as a result.

So while I will leave this blog up, and may return to it if the situation warrants. I am moving on with my life. You may hear of me again in the public square, but it won’t be as the Fourteenth Banker, it will be a real person with a real name. I have decided to leave my big bank to look for honest work. This decision was mostly made of course at the time I started the blog, and was confirmed by what I learned as I wrote. How could I continue to work for an organization that sort of lumbers cluelessly along seeking its own survival by whatever means are convenient with no moral considerations?

I am looking forward to building things. Tearing down has its place. But until we build something new it is mostly just talk. I hope all the readers and all the bloggers and all the professors out there will consider this, we need to harp on the government to create conditions under which new things can be built. We must democratize our economy, we must create conditions that create enterprises that create jobs. We must elevate new kinds of leaders so that the old kinds become irrelevant.

My conundrum is this. Even while I have posted little over the last month, thousands have continued to visit the site. You make me want to keep going, but my best use is not to do so. If I blog again, it must be as me. If I speak, it must be as me. If I act, it must be as me. It will be as me.

Peace to all, no exceptions.


Create a free website or blog at