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Jo Ann Barefoot explores how to create fair and inclusive consumer financial services through innovative ideas for industry and regulators

Blogging at the crossroads:  Off to a great start!


Blogging at the crossroads: Off to a great start!

Jo Ann Barefoot

We launched this blog about two weeks ago and, with the site still under construction, have not done anything to draw readers beyond tweeting and linking to the posts.  Therefore, it has been terrific to see that the blog has already received over 550 views.  I’ve also been hearing from people in multiple channels, including LinkedIn and email.  The comments are wonderfully thoughtful and thought-provoking, coming from a wide range of participants in the financial ecosystem. 

The early input confirms my sense that a lot of smart people are thinking deeply and creatively about how we could do better.  I’ve heard from former regulators who have spent decades grappling with these challenges, and from bankers whose whole careers have been about trying to keep regulators satisfied, while doubting it does much good for consumers.  And I’ve heard from people outside the financial arena too, concerned about the things that have gone wrong.

Their comments also confirm my sense that people interested in these issues don’t have many good, safe forums where they can talk openly.  Regulators and regulatees have an inherently adversarial relationship and are rarely candid with each other (I know this from experience, having been on both sides of that divide).  Consumers often feel no one listens.  I’m hoping this blog can be a place where people bring ideas and stories that can cross these boundaries.  I’ll encourage you to post them on the site publicly, but do also feel free to reach me in other ways if you want your comments private.  I’ll keep them that way, but will learn from them and bring them into the flow of thinking in the blog and in my book.

I think one of the biggest barriers to doing better is that no one deeply understands all the valid perspectives – everyone functions mainly inside silos.  This can be a place to break some walls down.

My book will include the voices of people from every corner of the financial services world – consumers, advocates, business leaders, front-line staff in financial companies, compliance professionals, attorneys, technology innovators and investors, media, educators, academics, regulators, legislators -- everyone.  Please keep communicating with me in whatever venue works best for you.



Photo courtesy of Wonderlane