I’m a bit like humorist Stephen Leacock in that banks rattle me.
They may not rattle me for exactly the same reasons they rattled him way back then, but regardless of where you are in history banks have the power to ‘rattle’.
That’s because they handle money. Either your money or their money, of which you want some and they really don’t want you to have any. And if you apply to get some of theirs it is a bank’s bounden duty to make you feel really small and needy before (perhaps) grudgingly agreeing to let you have just a li’l bit of their money. That’s despite the fact it’s not really ‘their’ money at all but an accumulation of money taken from schmucks like you and me.
You see, banks don’t really have any money of their own, they just have proprietorship of money and governments encourage them to do that mainly because banks own most governments.
There was once a time in which banks strove to serve the communities in which they were situated and the local bank manager was a man (always a man) of import in the same vein as the mayor, high school principal, pastor/priest, or local rag proprietor. Everybody knew who he was and most accorded him the respect you had to accord a guy who could either help you out in times of duress, or ruin you, as the case might be. He was in the community for years, even decades, as a fixture.
It was the same with staff in your particular bank. You had your ‘person’ at the bank. The person who handled your investments and gave you advice as to where you might sink that $12.75 a month you sunk into your retirement fund. Mutual funds? GICs? Didn’t matter since whatever you contributed wasn’t really going to keep the wolf from the door. But, you were playing the game and old Miss Marblethorp was the person you relied on to keep you on the straight-and-narrow. She would always be there for you. For heaven’s sake, she had even served your parents and it was on their advice you linked up with her.
“Effie Marblethorp, son. She knows her onions. Don’t be put off by the little moustache and food-stains on the blouse, you wanna get a mortgage? Well, treat her nice.”
And then it all changed. Banks evolved into being all about the banks’ well being, not yours. Branches closed and staffs and management shifted with the winds. If you found somebody good, don’t count on him/her continuing to be there to aid you with the lifeblood of your survival. That’s especially so if you are not a big bucks contributor to their coffers.
In this I don’t indict any particular banking operation for losing sight of the little bozo. I indict them all. Ever wonder what happened to ‘savings accounts?’ Exactly. You know what I mean.
Now, for a few years I had a wonderful investment advisor. Every time I saw her I always said: “I like dealing with you and I want to always deal with you, so don’t move away somewhere.” She always reassured with “don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.”
I hoped not. She was bright, and pretty, and smart, and caring, and I, had circumstances been different, would have liked to marry her and have her bear my babies. I mean, that’s how much I treasured this lady.
And then they effing moved her. Not so much as a by-your-leave. They shifted her to another branch and positioned her to serve the big players and high-flyers in money realms, not schmucks like me. The bank assured me it was a big promotion for her when they broke the news to me about her.
And I thought, well screw you. In other words, I don’t count. The good one is slated to only serve the big guys.
I miss her and feel like one does when one has lost a love. I don’t yet have sobbing dreams about her, but who knows. It could happen. Banks have no idea that their callous actions can break hearts, too.
Now like Leacock I have to be rattled once again when I have to deal with my bank. No more conjuring up of blissful domestic fantasies with the lady on the other side of the desk who is talking about annuities but only in the way ‘she’ could. She was talking about ‘my’ annuities because she cared about me. I know she did and just ended up being a victim of the system herself.