Instead of finding clever ways to hide fees, banking innovations could solve these real and important problems. In much of the developing world, we have already come to associate finance with creative ways to lend to the poor or to offer microinsurance products that protect farmers against uncertain rainfall. There is no reason we cannot have a similar wave of positive financial innovation in the United States.
So how should I feel about my students going into finance? I hope they realize that they have the potential to do great good and not simply make money. It may not be hiow the industry is structured now, but idealism and inventiveness are two of the best traits of youth, and finance especially could use them.