Chapter 4Why Is Compliance Needed?

“It's all very well to run around saying regulation is bad, get the government off our backs, etc. Of course our lives are regulated. When you come to a stop sign, you stop; if you want to go fishing, you get a license; if you want to shoot ducks, you can shoot only three ducks. The alternative is dead bodies at the intersection, no fish, and no ducks. OK?”

—Molly Ivins, “Getting Control of the Frontier,” Gainesville Sun, March 22, 1995

I remember, as a master's student, studying about the different state situations: dictatorship, benevolent autocracy, democracy, and laissez faire. Somehow democracy always appealed to reason, laissez faire to the heart, and dictatorship benevolent or otherwise to neither. One of my professors described democracy in a unique way that stayed with me: “You can be free as long as your freedom does not impinge on others' right to freedom!”

What is the connection of that to the relevance of compliance for banks, you might ask? There is one, within the creative liberty that I am taking. Banks are free to pursue their legitimate banking business, but they also need to ensure that they do not impinge on the freedom, sanctity, and well-being of their stakeholders and the environment they operate in. Notice I have used the word stakeholders and not shareholders.

The trend that gives credence to this argument is the fact that focus is shifting from enhancing shareholder value to increasing stakeholder value as the index ...

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