Sunday, 24 January 2010

Support Your Local Bank!

Sometime in December, I had a stunningly obvious epiphany: If Obama wasn't going to do anything about the banking behemoths, and Congress wasn't either because our representatives were in thrall to the lobbyists paid for by the special interests funding Congressional campaigns, I -- and millions of fellow Americans -- could act. We could vote our anger with our deposits.

And so when I recently relocated to New York, I found a nice cozy little neighborhood bank to put my money in. This bank pays a decent rate of interest on my savings. On Saturdays there's no line at the teller's window. The loan officer/manager/Kleenex box changer is usually sitting at his desk near the lobby, gazing idly out the window, ready to serve you. The place has a relaxed, down-home feel.

I figured: These are guys who played it safe, and conservative, and didn't throw buckets of money into risky securities before the financial crisis. Shouldn't they be rewarded? Shouldn't we -- the American people (forget about the corrupt power structure) -- feed the good banks, the community lenders and the credit unions, and try to starve the Citigroups and Bank of Americas that screwed up so egregiously?

I'm happy that my epiphany wasn't a sole flash of insight in the darkness. After I resolved to place my money in a community bank, I saw on the Huffington Post site that Arianna was urging others to do the same. I don't know how much of an impact this campaign will have, but at last I feel as if I'm doing something good, and not just complaining.