Banking Should Be Boring

A financial secret I learned several years ago is that many monetary institutions are not working in their customer’s best fiduciary interest. As a youngster mom took me to the local Eldorado Bank and opened for me a savings account. I received a bank book that each deposit was hand recorded and the banker initialed the entry. You could not borrow money unless you could demonstrate that you had the resources to pay the money back. Senator Elizabeth Warren said the other night on a television interview that, ‘Banking should be boring.’ I agree with her statement. The second-largest bank in United States history failed the other day. When did finance become let me get rich…and the hell with you?

The love of money is the root of all evil…mother often said. I really did not know as we had little money…but a lot of love! I think our endemic monetary problem goes deep into the unbreakable bond that many politicians have with those who are the leaders of the industry. When the government looks the other way and lauds removing checks and balances and oversight from Wall Street and our banking system…the common people suffer. It is business as usual for many financial advisors to push investments that enrich them and make poor the investor.

There is a reason when a big bank fails we all quake. It has not been long since we experienced almost the meltdown of our financial system in this country. Confidence in finance is engendered by logical and bedrock principles of banking and investing. When it sounds too good to be true…it usually is.

I vividly recall when it looked like the stock market was the best game in town. Pension systems in most states saw an opportunity to get out from under the fiduciary responsibility of doing their part for their state employees and sold the idea to their staff that they could do much better by having their pensions based on the Market. In those halcyon days, it seemed that the Market was going to keep going up. State Houses had borrowed from their employee’s pension plans until the debt was herculean. Now those retired employees are left with a fraction of what they could have had if many States had kept their end of the Pension Agreement.

Blood may be thicker than water but the love of money is thicker than both. If you do not think so let someone who has resources die in your family and enjoy the Wake with all of those loved ones who you have not seen in many years.

Mundane is not a bad word. Quiet and effective principals of finance or any worthy vocation lack the thrill of immediate riches or political experimentation but they engender confidence in the stewardship of our resources.

2 responses

  1. I am an amateur in finance but I agree with you on banks.

    1. Thank you, my friend.

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