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Bankers or Speculating Bankers?

Monday 24 August 2015

Complaints about the decline in the banking industry have been ongoing for a long time. The situation has not improved since the disaster in 2008,

What is the real problem? In the transition from bankers to speculating bankers. But what defines a banker? And what in contrast differentiates speculating bankers?

Let's look at the beginning of this profession. It starts with the job title "merchant banker". A nonsensical description. There are only bankers or merchants. The banker will only earn an interest, from deposits and lending rates. It does not matter to him, if the merchant earns a fortune with the credit extended. On the contrary, the banker is happier the richer his client becomes. The banker will indeed only earn the interest. Otherwise he safeguards in a broader sense the valuables of his customers and helps them. The merchant, however, enters into ventures by buying goods which he intends to sell at a higher price.


These two professions are completely different in their ethics and background and require completely different characters and a different outlook on life.

As soon as the banker desires to earn just like a merchant, he mutates into a Wheeler Dealer – to use today's jargon – the Speculating Bankers. And with that the Bank is now under a completely different style of management.


The Banker now focuses on his own business opportunities. The assessment of business partners is now the main task of the banker.


This presupposes a vocation and talent which can not simply be learned without difficulty in a business school. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 26 November 2006 wrote about the old banker Hans Vontobel in Zurich. Hans Baer together with Hans Vontobel belong to the shrinking group of bankers who were always more than just bankers and financial engineers. Private Bankers know who their clients are. They know there is enough chocolate for everyone, but not money. Hans Vontobel was not completely surprised that greed shaped the last stock market boom. Which then resulted in the crash of 2008.


Without a return to a clear separation between the profession of bankers and Speculating Bankers, there will be no real recovery in the banking system.