I felt like this interview itself was a little short and didn’t quite get to the point, but I am very interested in the degree to which the international finance industry might be reformed to help make corruption and crime less profitable:
In general, within the industry the incentives to act in a willfully blind manner are quite high—that’s why there are several reported examples of banks being prepared to do business with corrupt African potentates whose official salary is $10,000 a year, even though they are banking $500 million. How can you not think that something might be amiss in such a relationship? Fundamentally, I don’t believe that the risks of failing to ask all of the right questions yet outweigh the rewards. There simply is not a big enough fear factor in the finance industry to dissuade individual decision makers from doing business that is questionable but highly profitable. The approach to enforcement is completely misconceived, and until we convince decision makers in the industry that they have “skin in the game” nothing is likely to change. Fining legal constructs while decision makers remain with their feet under the boardroom table does not work.
Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org