Bank You Very Much
Or “The House Always Wins”
Beginning in 1921, bank failures in America increased significantly. There were far too many banks and they were virtually unregulated.
Taking note of this disturbing trend in a 1923 speech to the American Bankers Association convention in New York City, the late, great American humorist, Will Rogers of Oklahoma, (left) didn’t mince his words…
He told the assembled money men: “You have a wonderful organization. I understand you have ten thousand folks here. And if you count the ones in the various federal prisons, it brings your total membership up to around thirty thousand.”
It is no exaggeration to say that today Americans’ opinion of bankers and associated financial “service” people is lower than it’s ever been, with good reason.
And it seems the bankers, with their multi-million dollar bloated bonuses paid out of billions in taxpayer-financed bailouts, don’t really give a damn about we the people.
Now as much as anyone else, I’m a free market conservative, a libertarian generally comfortable with laissez fare economics – as my voting record in the Maryland State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives proves.
But when it comes to the management of the likes of the Bank of America and American Express, my patience is at an end. My recent experience with both behemoth corporations prompts me to give a ringing endorsement to poet Robert Frost’s sage observation that,: “A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.”
Now I didn’t choose Bank of America – they chose me.
Years ago when I moved to Florida, friends said Barnett Bank, the state’s largest, was the place to be. And they were right; good service and low fees. Several mergers and a decade later, in 1997 my bank (first Barnett, then NationsBank) morphed into Bank of America.
When I finally got a human voice on the phone, the lady insisted “recent information from credit reporting agencies” indicated I had not paid all my bills.
When I pointed out there was no such information, and that I was reading from the combined credit agencies web site that proved that assertion, the BoA lady went off the line to “speak to a supervisor”, then came back and raised my card credit by a third, a net loss of one third.
A good friend and associate of mine, who has a higher net worth than me, also had their available card credit amount cut arbitrarily, as I gather many thousands of others have also.
Thus an abrupt unpleasantness, after years of banks begging millions of people to take their credit cards, inundating all of us with scores of glossy appeals in the mail.
The story goes on, as you can imagine…including my son’s peculiar back-and-forth with American Express executives. Just click here for the full story.
But it strikes me that both the exhibits I cite are typical of an age in which banks are managed by computer software programs reflecting the policies of corporate idiots. (“Garbage in; garbage out.”)
No longer is the customer right – even part of the time. The collective attitude seems to be that the customer is never right – and thus, expendable.
Yet another reason, dear reader, to bank offshore – where they actually remember what it means to be a banker.
Bob Bauman, JD
Source: Sovereign Society