Bankers Trust CEO to speak at Stafford Lecture

Varad Diwate

The chief executive officer of Iowa’s largest bank will be at Iowa State to talk about lessons for the banking industry during economic downfall. 

Suku Radia, CEO of Banker’s Trust, will speak at a lecture titled “Banking: An Industry in Crisis — Is It Over Yet?” to be Thursday at 11 a.m. in the Stark Lecture Hall in Gerdin Business Building. The event is free and open to the public. The lecture is part of the Robert Stafford Lecture series at Iowa State. 

The lecture will focus on the banking industry crisis and the resulting recession, including the role of financial instruments and lending practices.

In an ISU news release, Radia said the answer to whether the banking crisis is over or not is not simply yes or no.

“The answer is rather complicated only because of the fact that we have an economy that seems to be recovering, but is sputtering along,” Radia said. “I would argue that we’ve come a long way, but we’re not back to where we were.”

Radia will also talk about solutions to heal the U.S. financial system. He said the Federal Reserve needs decisive action instead of keeping the interest rates artificially low.

“Over some period of time, the country’s going to have to accept the fact that we cannot continue to amass massive budget deficits,” Radia said. “There will be an inevitable rise in interest rates and it’s just a matter of how long do you put off the inevitable.”

Radia has previously worked as chief financial officer at Meredith Corporation and managing partner of KPMG, an audit, tax and advisory services firm in Des Moines.

Radia graduated from Iowa State with a Bachelor of Science in 1974 and received the ISU Alumni Award last year.

He has been involved in a number of professional, educational and charitable organizations including United Way of Central Iowa, Mercy Medical Center, ISU Accounting Advisory Council and Rotary Club.

The Robert Stafford Lecture was founded by the College of Business in 2004 and is funded by Ames National Corp for its 100 years of business in Ames.

“For the last four years or so, the lecture series has been focused on the economic meltdown and recession,” said Dan RyanCQ, director of marketing for the College of Business. “Before that … it has been a diverse set of topics that anyone can relate to.”

Ryan said that he hopes students learn what it is like to run a major finance institution during one of the most difficult times in our nation’s economic history.

In the past, the lecture series has had members in banking and economics as speakers. The lecture series is named in honor of the late Robert Stafford, president and chairman of First National Bank, Ames and Ames National Corp.