John Allison of BB&T, which has branches in 11 southeastern states, is retiring as CEO at the end of the month. The Charlotte Observer accurately calls him “a fierce defender of free markets and individual rights,” and his wise leadership has helped his bank to even now remain profitable and increase payouts to shareholders. A sampling from an interview with the Observer:
OBSERVER: You’ve spoken about “perverse incentives” for bank regulators. Can you explain that?
ALLISON: The only bad thing that can happen to regulators is if they don’t identify a problem. If they identify too many problems, nothing happens to them, right? It will be the next guy’s problem. …
Another thing is, a lot of them are academics who are detached from reality. The regulators are enamored with mathematical models, instead of thinking in concrete examples. … From about 2004 till really very recently, we were told over and over that if we just had as good a risk management as Wachovia, then we would do very well.
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