The BOSS retires

Banker Javier Wolter, 61, at the helm at Caribbean Mercantile Bank as Managing Director, was retired after almost 40 years. According to 24ORA, and to me it is a doubtful story, he was summoned to Curacao to the headquarters of the Maduro & Curiel bank, by private plane, told he was moving on, and sent on with a golden handshake – that’s my take, replaced by a new Canadian director, already in place.

It was just a question of time, and we should not have been surprised, 38 years is a long time, and banking has changed.

The story floating on social media was embarrassing.

I am NOT sure things unfolded the way they were told. But, we will never know. Bank vaults hold secrets. I am confident CMB will retire its General with class, they are all gentlemen, and will not create an embarrassing public scene, and that’s why I know the story, the way it was told, is fake. Or mean. Or both.

Fortunately, they did not report he was escorted out by security, private plane is classier.

But it’s true, banking has changed.

Yesterday’s banker attended openings and cocktail parties and kept his ear to the ground to pick up on news, rumors, and community personalities. Today’s banker sits in Pakistan or Canada looking at his computer screen and monitoring his algorithms.

Banking today if more a science, than an art.

Wolter was the last of the banking artists, a schmoozer, making it look easy, socializing, bantering, the life of the party, the first one to make a donation, support an important cause!

We also know it was a tough year.

Many so-called sure investments turned sour.

Clients got behind, made new payment arrangements, and failed to meet deadlines.

For a business used to make millions each year, it was a crude awakening, and each defaulted payment was charged against reserves and DEDUCTED from year-end profit lines.

I am sure CMB ledgers look as bad as mine.

I also heard the speculation that the Bank of Nova Scotia, a minority shareholder at CMB, will be taking over from MCB, Maduro & Curiel Bank, and thus new brooms will be brought in.

Whatever it is, banking today is a heartless exercise, we need the banks but we learned to hate them.

I think Wolter was also the last of the worshipped bankers, he was a personality, we listened to him, he sat on prestigious boards, he nurtured relationships with clients, big and small.

We worried about his health and his weight.

Which brings me to the future of banking.

Traditional banking is dying.

Banking of the future will be invisible, and technology based.

Banks will become tech companies, making fast and easy transactions with what is no longer traditional money. We will have banking without bankers, and risks will be assessed based on computer predictions, not on human capital.

And thus THE banker, was retired.

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February 05, 2021
Rona Coster