Reining in the National Association of Bank Robbers: Testimony before the Senate Committee on Financial Innovation

Testimony of

 

Clyde Dillinger, Ph.D

 

On Behalf of the

 

AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION

 

Before the

 

Committee on Financial Innovation

 

United States Senate

 

 

 

Introduction

Chairman Bacchus, Ranking Member Barker, and members of the Committee, my name is  Clyde Dillinger. I am the Chief Communications Officer for the American Bankers Association. I am grateful for this opportunity to appear before you to discuss our proposed legislation, “Reining in the National Association of Bank Robbers: Securing America’s Financial Stability”, which has been misrepresented in certain quarters of the liberal mainstream media. The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation’s $13 trillion dollar banking industry and its two million employees.

Before I address the substantive issues in the proposal, it would be useful for me to establish some context. In particular I will give a brief overview of the recent ascendancy of the National Association of Bank Robbers (NABR, often pronounced “Neighbour” by its supporters). Once I’ve established context, I will explain the proposed legislation, which we believe will address the singular threat of NABR while not altering the overall trajectory of deregulation in the financial industry (in particular the wealth transfer market) which we still view as overwhelmingly positive for the health of the American economy.

Recent Developments in the Wealth Transfer Market

Throughout most of the last year, we have seen a remarkable rise in bank robberies across America. Many observers have noted that this coincides with the formation of NABR shortly after the “Tort Reform and Legitimate Wealth Transfer Act” was passed last year. Members of the committee will recall that Act redefined politically charged words such as “theft” and “fraud” so as to reduce the number of dubious class action lawsuits brought by investors and clients of American banks by opportunistic lawyers. The unintended consequence has been moral confusion over legitimate acts of “wealth transfer” engaged in by reputable members of the financial sector, and illegitimate “wealth transfer” engaged in by individual thieves who have been given the unwarranted dignity of being referred to as “NABR operatives” by the liberal mainstream media.

It is important for the committee to recognize NABR’s unprecedented lobbying efforts and the massive PR campaigns that they are funding. We have seen their dangerous propaganda peak in a recent “Robin Hood” advertising campaign, widely played in the liberal media, in which a costumed gang robs a large bank and then brings the money to poor families in various urban housing projects or destitute rural people living in shacks. It is hard to overestimate the impact these images have had in creating broad public support for NABR’s illegitimate wealth transfer activities, especially since it appears that NABR has actually set up third-party organizations to give some of the proceeds of their thefts back to local communities. It has been documented by independent sources that these NABR funded third-party organizations are cynically seeking out the poorest of the poor for these charity publicity stunts — often “helping” single-mothers and unemployed labourers buy out their mortgages or terminate credit card debt. NABR has a large and expanding presence in the social media, with a huge Facebook and Twitter following through which we are aware that NABR is generating massive donations to fund their increasing lobbying efforts in Washington.

The NABR propaganda, of course, disguises a real escalation in potential violence as our banks have had to resort to greater security to protect their money. As a result of propaganda, NABR has broad based support from police forces across America. In numerous cases across the country the police have: not responded to bank alarms or not responded in a timely fashion, with significant numbers, or with the purposeful intent to end ongoing robberies or investigate those that have been completed. Members of the committee will recall the scandalous YouTube video of police officers eating donuts and cheering on one set of NABR operatives as they made away from a Cleveland, Ohio branch of Bank of America. Those police officers have yet to be disciplined by their commanders or the Democratic mayor of Cleveland. The ABA launched an investigation to discover whether NABR was bribing the police, but the investigation determined that in many cases there were no bribes, or that they were significantly less lucrative incentives than we were offering. This illustrates the dangerous effectiveness of their propaganda.

The private security guards hired by the various banks also proved to be not useful deterrents. They often see themselves as insufficiently compensated, despite very competitive pay packages, to protect bank holdings. Bank tellers, and other low level front line bank employees are also not helpful in preventing theft as they also perceive themselves as insufficiently compensated to put themselves in harm’s way.

“Reining in NABR: Securing America’s Financial Stability”

We, at the ABA, believe that the RobinHoodism of the NABR is dangerously un-American. It is clearly a socialist method of redistributing wealth. The financial sector believes that wealth transfers should occur in a single direction, as was originally articulated in the so-called  “Finders Keepers” clause of the “Tort Reform and Legitimate Wealth Transfer Act.” We do not want to repeal the Act itself. There is no need to restore onerous regulations that have inhibited wealth transfer innovations in the past. There are, however, a number of corrective measures which we believe that this committee could take to restore the single-directional efficiency of the wealth transfer market.

The first proposal is that we now make a clear distinction between illegitimate wealth transfer, i.e. the direct robbing of banks, and the legitimate sophisticated and indirect wealth transfer methods engaged in by banks (the details of which are legally protected proprietary secrets and need not be divulged here).

The second proposal is to allow the banks to increase their leveraging. By forcing banks to have actual assets on reserve, the government is effectively expanding NABRs market. The simplest articulation of this philosophy is that if banks don’t have to have actual money on hand, there will be nothing for the NABR operatives to steal. We understand that there are risks involved in expanding leverage, which is why we believe the government should enhance its protection of banks to insure that in the very rare cases where the non-existence of assets becomes a problem, the US government would be there to provide liquidity.

The third proposal is to establish a new security framework, which will act as a deterrent on NABR activities. Our proposal is that the federal government redeploy private military contractors who are currently in Iraq and Afghanistan. America’s banks could use the protection of well-paid, highly skilled, and effectively equipped professional security forces. Once such security is established, we believe NABRs effectiveness will be curtailed and their share of the wealth transfer market will be reduced to an appropriate level for the proper functioning and overall efficiency of the US, and indeed the world’s, economy. Further, we believe the salaried cost of these troops and the cost of equipment should be borne by the US government as a matter of national security and the state interest in maintaining a stable economy. Individual banks will supplement the salary of the private military contractors with stock options to ensure that the interests of those contractors and the interests of their respective banks are in line. As we have argued above, it is necessary for security workers to be properly incentivized in order to be effective. The ABA is aware that such an arrangement might not be well received by the public and that there will be great pressure to not let this arrangement occur or to impose massive restrictions on private military contractors should they be allowed. We implore members of this committee to strongly resist bowing to public pressure, which will inevitably arise. Any curtailment of a private military contractor’s ability to act will create an unnecessarily inefficient bureaucracy and limit the ability of banks to grow the economy. The individual banks themselves will regulate the security workers and ensure that they will not engage in any untoward activities. We believe that we are in the best position to do this because, of course, we have no desire to offend our customers or investors who we depend on for our wealth transfer business.

Conclusion

The ABA appreciates this opportunity to collaborate again with the Senate Committee on Financial Innovation. We are, as we have always been, sincere partners in the important dialogues taking place — which will lead us to a stable, American, solution to the NABR problem before us. Should you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or our people at the Policy Consultation and Discrete Remuneration Office, who are always available to help.

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~ by mcgrenerex on January 4, 2011.

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