If You Ask Me: A Global Banker Reflects on Our Times
Wriston, Walter B.
"Thank God We Don't Have National Banking"
With so many piecemeal changes happening in banking, how come we don't rationalize the situation?
Because I come from a funny industry. We all stand up and say, "Thank God we don't have national banking!" Then I go down to the corner of Broad and Wall streets in New York City, and I see a big building there that says "Bank of America." There's one like it in California that says "Citicorp." There are five coast-to-coast electronic funds transfer systems up and running. So, what's all this nonsense about when are we going to get national banking? We've got it.
VISA is a national bank and it's running flat out. They made a great breakthrough recently. They got J.C. Penney to take VISA in their seventeen hundred stores, and that's the ball game.
Sears is trying to sell its twenty-six million credit-card holders commercial paper at 10 percent for six months through their credit cards. People who can't spell  are going to find out what it is.
The whole competitive structure is so ridiculous, that every banker who goes to a Rotary Club to talk about free enterprise, ends up adding in parenthesis (except for me).
People think of a bank as a building with a name carved over the door. But a bank today is a plastic card. The delivery system for banking is a plastic card. With our Citicard in New York, right now you can do most of your banking twenty-four hours a day. We've got fifty million transactions a year going out there. The idea that a bank is a building is obsolete.
The technology's way ahead of the regulators, as usual.
 Promissory notes issued by companies in lieu of bank loans. Because commercial paper is not secured by tangible collateral only large, well established companies can sell them.
 The flow of savings out of banks and savings institutions which have interest ceilings fixed by law into commercial paper and other investment instruments offering higher interest rates.