Apparently the Halloween edition of Live with Regis and Kelly Lee scared the crud out of Wall Street today because the Dow was down almost 250 points and U.S. Bank stock was down almost a whole dang dollar! And if that weren't weird enough, the only banks seeing a gain on our list are local community banks that could go out of business at any moment! Sheesh!
Speaking of ethics (okay, maybe we weren't but this is still semi relevant) I received a link to a good Business Week article today about the impact that strong ethics have on a business. The article is titled: Why Be an Ethical Company? They're Stronger and Last Longer. The article points out that U.S. Bank has “largely avoided the huge fallout” in the financial services industry and points out that we have “a laser-like focus on customer service and on honesty and transparency” that comes from our culture.
It goes on to say that we did not touch “the subprime mortgage securitization market, because they saw it as risky and simply not the kind of business that served the company's long-term interests. I'd wager, as well, that (U.S. Bancorp) didn't feel comfortable asking their employees to sell unethical mortgages to customers, a practice undertaken by many subsidiaries of the big Wall Street investment banks and large bank-holding companies.”
The best paragraph is the last one:
“The moral here is fairly simple: When a company's ethical compass is pointing true north, everything else falls into line. This isn't to say that companies with great ethics don't fail. But it does seem to indicate that companies without good ethics are far more likely to fail due to their inability to sustain or hear an inner voice to guide them through the dark times to the light.”