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Off the record

“Russia has been shat out of the capital markets”

Overheard at the IMF meetings in Washington in October, this slip of the tongue has a descriptive ring of truth to it

“Trust me, while this bank talks a lot about going digital, it is a mainly defensive effort. We’re losing money designing nice apps for millennials to pay their share of the pizza they’ve split with friends, just so that they don’t go to non-banks when they’re starting out. We want them to be coming into our branches for advice when they actually have some money. Smartphone apps are the new free student overdraft”

his bank’s head of digital takes a rather cynical view of his employer’s commitment to fintech

“It’s like when you inspect your kids’ bedrooms. You find 20 things you don’t like, you tell them to do something about it, and then you go back to make sure they did it” 

A banker in Singapore explains the Monetary Authority’s auditing process

“He had been briefed by his team but it’s a bit like briefing me on how to build a rocket: I can listen but I wouldn’t be any the wiser afterwards”

 A banker sympathizes with the challenge that a new government minister faces in getting to grips with his area

“There is still some of the old mentality in banking that a managing director with 500 staff reporting to him is more important than one with 150 staff reporting to him, even if the bigger department could take out 350 of those people and move the business forward much more efficiently”

This banker sees strong internal resistance to replacing people with machines in investment bankingr

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