Trust, Reputation And Integrity: Once Lost They Can Be Difficult If Not Impossible To Regain!

By | January 17, 2017
business reputation


Having ‘cut my teeth’ as a Wall Street bond analyst and then trader, the lesson learned early and often was that, to quote a phrase, ‘your word is your bond’!

In those days (and it is likely the same today in some financial products) trades were made over the phone and, when the voice on the other side said ‘you’re done’, the trade was complete and the risk was now yours.

If you were a seller of bonds your risk was that the market would continue to rise and you sold too soon. If you were the buyer the risk was that the market fell and you were sitting in a loss position.

But, either way, if you made a mistake calling market direction and then tried to correct it by denying that the trade was ever done you may potentially ‘get away’ with it that one time but certainly never again!

The reason that it would likely never happen again is that your word would no longer be considered good and the trust required to execute trades would have been broken!

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. – Albert Einstein

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you. – Friedrich Nietzsche

It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. – Benjamin Franklin

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. – Warren Buffett

Wells Fargo Tries To Regain The Markets Trust!

Using a current-day example of integrity, trust, reputation and the speed with which it can all be lost, let’s examine the Wells Fargo earnings announcement after its fake accounts debacle. Consider this…

Question: When you speak to salespeople across most businesses what is their most preferred source for potential new clients?

Answer: Referrals from satisfied clients!

And what happens when your referral partners are no longer comfortable recommending you?

…lower banker referrals continue to affect businesses such as mortgage” Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer Tim Sloan

‘Referrals accounted for approximately 9% of mortgage originations in 2016, Sloan said. He added that the bank expects lower referrals in the fourth quarter will reduce funding volumes in the first quarter by approximately 2.5%.‘ (Source)

Will the market and Wells Fargo customer base ultimately forgive and forget what had happened? Given the short-term focus of both the media and consumer that is likely.

But, as a business, why put yourself in this position to begin with?

Going back to the beginning your word is your bond and trust and reputation, once lost can be incredibly hard to earn back!


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Article authored by Hallmark Abstract President Michael Haltman who can be reached at or 516.741.4723

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