Originations: Hollywood’s dim view of banking

Links below. Here’s an excerpt from the American Banker piece on Hollywood’s portrayal banking. Interesting perspective about the war for talent.

Over the past decade, the banking industry was prominently featured in eight U.S. films, including “The Big Short” (2015), “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013), “Too Big to Fail” (2011) and, most recently, the female-led “Equity” (2016). All eight portrayed the industry in a negative way overall. The most common traits of the 207 main characters in the films are competitiveness (40%) and ambition (39%). One in three characters is portrayed as greedy and selfish, with a much smaller percentage being helpful (15%) and trustworthy (10%), according to the study, conducted for American Banker and sponsored by Zions Bank.

Even if those in banking dismiss the pop culture view, the negative spin can still have an impact. For one thing, attracting the best and the brightest among the next generation is only going to be harder, warns Caroline Heldman, research director for the institute and associate professor of politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Even so, few of those in banking say they took inspiration for their career choice from what they saw on screen. Less than 5% of the survey respondents credited a film or television show with sparking their interest in banking. Perhaps it is telling that, among those who did cite a film, the one mentioned most is “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which is more than 70 years old.