The life of Brian
Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan says, “It doesn’t all break your way all the time, so you’ve got to just power through it.”
And I think we as an industry must do all we can to help educate people. We all, as consumers, have to be more responsible. It comes down to less complexity and less leverage. My children will probably be more conservative in how they save just because of the experience [of this crisis] that they’ve read about in the papers.
How global is Bank of America?
Three hundred thousand people work at Bank of America [worldwide]. We’ve got a big [credit] card business in Ireland; we’ve got investment bankers and corporate bankers in Ireland.
Ireland did a good job of figuring out the pickle they were in 30 years ago and said, "Let’s develop some capabilities, some industries." And they were able to do that. Now the question is, it’s a never ending reinvention, so whether it’s Ireland, the northeastern United States after the manufacturing moved years ago, Michigan after the auto industry changes – you just got to keep reinventing yourself. So I think the challenge for Ireland is, what’s next? The country has got a lot of great resources, a lot of great people, it’s a question of how do you keep reinventing yourself to stay ahead of the game, because these things always naturally have an ebb and flow to them.
How do we reinvent ourselves here?
In the United States? I think it’s around the types of things that made the country very strong. We have a great natural talent base around industries, financial services being one of them, but also technology, healthcare and different kinds of manufacturing businesses. The energy infrastructure is an area where we should be at the leading edge of the world. We’re still on the cutting edge in terms of technology, medicine and other scientific research in biology, chemistry, etc. We just have to keep investing in our educational systems and our capabilities to be inventive.
Many of America’s greatest inventors were immigrants like your family and mine. Right now America has closed the door on immigration. Where do you stand on that?
I think we have to make sure that we [as a country] tap into the talents from people all around the world – that’s what got us where we are today. We as a company believe in that. I’ve been involved at Brown University and other places where you see the amount of talent that comes from other places. There was a young woman who spoke to us who came from Belarus. Think of that talent around the world which can, and wants to, come here to learn and help our country grow and prosper. I think that’s consistent with how we got here.
Is there anything in your Irish makeup, any particular Irish characteristics that maybe helped you to get to where you’re at?