Atlanta attorney Ross Kendall left for Jordan last week on a month-long consulting assignment to evaluate the country’s banking system as part of a U.S. government economic development initiative.  He will return March 9.

      Mr. Kendall, former regional counsel for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) in Atlanta, has worked on similar projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank in Pakistan, Ukraine, and several Central Asian republics.

      GlobalFax reported in 1996 on his six-month assignment in the Ukraine during which he served as a technical adviser for developing the country’s banking supervision capacity.  He currently is also involved in a bank privatization project in Bulgaria.

      Technical assistance projects of this type are supported by our government as a form of foreign aid, Mr. Kendall told GlobalFax last week during a telephone interview shortly before his departure.  The United States recognizes that a properly functioning financial system is one of the primary components of national stability, and is thus a worthwhile objective in many parts of the world.

      He said that Jordan has a relatively stable banking sector, but is in the process of reviewing some of its operations and regulations as the U.S. promotes stabilization of the region.

      Mr. Kendall saw first hand the problems that financial institutions can experience right at home during the banking and savings and loan crises of the 1980s.  My approach is always to explain to foreign officials that we saw in the U.S. perhaps the largest financial crisis of all…, he said.  This enables me to avoid coming across as an all-knowing expert, but rather as one who personally witnessed some of the huge errors made in our country, in order that the problems we experienced might not be repeated.

      The need for sound banking policies are further underlined by the current situation in Asia, he added.  Lack of transparency, cronyism, corruption and inadequate regulatory oversight have all contributed to the current crisis, he said.  Without reform, the confidence of the international investment community will be very difficult to recover. he added.

      Mr. Kendall may be reached by e-mail: