A better mousetrap
> someone coming in with a completely blank sheet, able to write a clean and efficient system from the ground up,
All very fine, in theory. However a lot of the baggage that banking systems have are the fixes, workarounds, tweaks and efficiency hacks that had to be added to the original clean sheet bank system in order to get it to work securely, according to all the regulations, without stiffing customers' 0.0001 pennies from rounding and able to "talk" to all the other banking systems: which don't quite work in practice the way their paper specifications say they should.
How long would it take to get from a brand new, clean system to one that is able to operate in the same environment as all the mature (albeit rat's-nest coded) systems we have today.
And on another note: how would you persuade customers to deposit all their "hard earned" with you. Customers need to have confidence in their banks and all the annoying little glitches that would be found during (say) the first few years of operation wouldn't add to the customers' feeling that their cash was safe. And when you add to that the sinking feeling that a customer would get when receiving their introductory letter:
Dear Mr. Worstall,
Thank you for opening a current account with us.
Your account number is 00000001.
Please tell all your friends about us
Doesn't really work, does it?