The Financial Institution Research Society (FIRS) is saddened by the passing of Ed Kane at the age of 88. Ed was the first FIRS Lifetime Achievement Award winner, giving the keynote address at the FIRS conference in Capri, Italy in 2004. His presence at that first conference set the tone for a future of conferences which are not just intellectually rigorous and policy relevant, but also filled with socializing, and lots of great food, drink, and fun.
Ed’s career and life were filled with achievement. He held the Everett D. Reese Chair at Ohio State for 20 years, and then served as the first James F. Cleary Professor in Finance at Boston College from 1992 to 2009. Although he retired in 2009, Ed continued to conduct research actively almost to the end of his life, serving as keynote speaker at the Chicago Financial Institutions Conference (CFIC) in 2019. Much earlier, he was one of the youngest Presidents of the American Finance Association, serving at the age of 44 in 1979. Ed was also a founding member of the Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee, providing expert analysis of real-time regulatory controversies affecting the financial industry. Importantly, Ed left a strong imprint on dozens of PhD students over the years. His attention to detail and high standard was unparalleled — responding to Ed’s red-penciling of multiple drafts led to many long nights of revisions for his students.
What is most remarkable about Ed was his ability to see things before others. He raised alarms about banking instability, first warning about the collapse of the Savings and Loan Industry in the early 1980s. Regulatory forbearance would raise societal costs, he warned, by allowing ‘zombie thrifts’ to take over the industry and drive out healthy competitors. These warnings turned out to be right. Over the subsequent three decades, Ed and his intellectual progeny extended his deep understanding of the banking industry, bank regulation, and the complex interplay between the two, which Ed dubbed the ‘regulatory dialectic.’
Many across the finance and policy communities knew Ed as a friend and mentor. Ed was always personally gracious and kind to everyone, regardless of their status. He smiled and laughed easily, socialized often and with everyone. He will be missed.