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What an Amazing Discovery: I Found a Banker With Brains and Scruples

Thanks to “M,” who contacted me directly with a referral to a great site, I made an amazing discovery this morning: There exists a banker with brains and scruples.  Such a sighting is extremely rare, as most of you who are regular readers already know.  Many of them have brains, don’t get me wrong, that’s how they acquire their MBAs, banking industry certifications, and law degrees, so that they can write one-way contracts that screw other people; it’s the combination that’s rare: brains and scruples.

“AB,” stands for Anonymous Banker, and AB’s site goes by that same name with the subhead, “An Insiders View Into the Banking Industry and Economic Crisis.”

In reading some of AB’s posts, written from the point of view of someone who has spent the bulk of his/her career working with small businesses, I find that he/she is just as disgusted and alarmed as I am about what is to come for our nation and our economy, if we don’t restore confidence.

And frankly, given that I am still stuck in a perfectly maintained home in a decent middle class neighborhood (that would have ordinarily sold in about 60 days, before the depression), I have a hard time mustering up much confidence these days that a life of misery for my family will not go on for many months to come; it’s already been two years.

As I have said several times before, in my opinion, this is because we bailed out big banks and their executives (with their perks, jets, and bonuses), instead of creating loan programs (that would have been break even) for distressed homeowners.  If we had simply addressed the problem that started this mess in the beginning — and it wasn’t even a big mystery to unravel like a health problem or an intermittent rattle coming from a car — real estate, I wouldn’t be here today, using the D-word.

This all started with bad news about real estate foreclosures.  Consumers were scared about what was happening in their neighborhoods, rightfully so.  Consumers lost confidence.  Then, we witnessed one of the biggest giveaways to corporate executives in history.  Outrage over AIG parties, trips and bonuses resulted in no substantive penalties or reforms.  Business “as usual” ruled the day.

The financial services industry greased the palms of Congress, and everybody (except the citizens at large who have to foot the bill), still had a really nice time.  Meanwhile, the cost of fuel for a day to run one of their jets or yachts is probably about the amount of money any of us serfs would need to “make our month,” or give us the wiggle room we need to negotiate the sale or purchase of a home.

After everyone lost confidence, consumers tightened their purse stings and stopped spending.  This led to trouble in the auto industry and another round of bailout disbursements.  The fact that one of our economy’s biggest industries (it’s not just the automakers, but all of the interdependent businesses: steel, glass, plastics, et cetera) was in trouble and would also need a bail out, further shook confidence in government’s ability to address fundamental issues and root causes.

Threats to the survival of  small businesses, accompanied by (i.e., resulting in even more) unemployment have followed.  AB states that he/she “[has] been a small business advocate for thirty years,” and further observed:

“Each day I encounter consumers and business owners that had been able to keep current on their revolving debt. But with each rate increase in the midst of declining revenues, brought about by this economic crisis CREATED BY THE BANKING INDUSTRY, more and more consumers and business owners are falling behind. The rate increases are a self-fulfilling prophesy. The banks say they need an increase in rates to help offset the increase in credit card losses. I say, the increase in rates is CAUSING a good portion of the credit card losses.”

A few months ago (July 22, 2009), someone attempted to post a comment, which I suppressed:

“Perhaps instead of buying a domain name, you should budget properly and pay your bills off in time.”

Not wanting to fire off in a knee-jerk reaction, here’s my answer:

I do pay my bills on time.  I always have.  This site is not about me, it’s about justice, fairness, efficiency of the banks for the benefit of a citizenry at large, small businesses and consumers in particular, and “the economy, stupid.”  If you want to “dis” me, while demonstrating a lack of understanding or caring about people or the issues that impact us all (and our children, their children, and so on): “budget properly” and get your own site.  Since ChangeInTerms.com is a pg-rated site, I can’t respond in more basic terms such as “‘expletive’ you, too!” (that you would more likely have the intellectual capacity to grasp).  But in “southern-speak,” I can say: “Bless Your Heart.”

A glimmer isn’t a recovery and there will be no recovery, without confidence.  There is not going to be any confidence as long as we are trapped, squeezed, and coming soon to a household and small business budget near you: taxed to death (and beyond the grave).  Small businesses and the economy — all of us — must have a properly functioning banking system, and we don’t.

Banks are making very bad decisions, causing defaults (this is especially tragic when account holders were making their payments, on time) when if they would instead work with people, they could get their money back (not to mention maintaining a loyal customer base instead of destroying their own brands).  They could prevent a frightening downward spiral and “self-fulfilling prophesy” from coming true.

The purpose of the banking system is to provide an exchange system for our currency and our economy.  It is failing in its fulfillment of that purpose.  AB knows it, I know it, and anyone with enough brains to buy a domain name and try to fight back before it’s too late knows it.  Bless Your Heart, too, if you don’t join the fight!

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