Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My curious bank

Recently my banking establishment, which shall remain nameless, introduced an advertising campaign proclaiming that it is a "curious bank."  That's curious to me.
First of all, I am very happy with my bank and have no intent to switch...they are convenient and pleasant and, when I was 20, gave me my first car loan when a now-defunct bank named "Provident" wouldn't.  I'm a loyal customer.  But I have to scratch my head sometimes about my "curious" bank!
It began several years ago, when this bank started closing their traditional, Indiana-limestone, pillared, "bank-looking" banks in favor of banks that look more like "houses."  Frankly, I like old-style banks (see St. Bernard) with tall ceilings, brass teller windows, marble floors, mahogany desks and an air of quiet mustiness.  I like a big, thick bank vault door with lots of brass.  I want my money, what little I have, to be safe and secure and happy.  If I want someone else to keep my money in a "house," I might as well keep it in my own house.  There's nothing intimidating about a "house."  I want intimidating and impenetrable. 
Another vent, (and I've been saving these up by the way) a few years ago my curious bank decided to switch its colors and logo from "red, black and white" to "blue and green" because, apparently, some consultant felt that blue and green are "softer" and "friendlier."  Consultants, by the way, are largely fools and are the bane of not only the banking industry but also radio and television, but I digress.  In addition to laughing at the supposed pent up demand of those potential customers wanting a soft and friendly bank, I balked loudly at the expense of changing every sign, replacing every ATM machine, substituting every ATM card, etc, etc., because of the previously mentioned "consultant" who thought it was a good idea.  Red, to me, means "STOP!"  As in, if you're thinking about robbing this bank, you'd better STOP and go somewhere else, you criminal creep!
Consultants do that, of course.  They are paid to make changes, no matter how poorly thought out.  If they fail to make a change, they are not paid, so consultants are anti-status quo.  Ranking only slightly ahead of lawyers and insurance companies, consultants have an inane talent toward reckless decisions and unnecessary expenses because they are great salespeople.  They "sell" themselves as being some sort of authority on some subject, even though they might have never had much real-life or work experience themselves. 
Which brings be back to my "curious" bank.  Somewhere is a young 23-year old from XYZ Ad Agency, wearing an ill-fitting suit and requiring someone to help him tie his tie, who made a presentation in a dark-paneled boardroom about how a major banking company should buy into his idea about being a "curious" bank.  He was paid handsomely for his young wisdom by several senior 27-year old executives, who mainly acquired their positions because they attained an MBA degree and, thanks to attrition, some 62-year old retired, opening their executive position.  But, ah youth!  Think a little harder, my young friend!   Follow me, here...When I think of someone who is "curious," I think of someone who is "uncertain"...who is "learning" and who would like to "experiment" with my savings.  As in, "hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I invested our profits in mocha frappe futures?"  I don't want "cute inquisitiveness" in my bank...for my kitten maybe, my black lab, yes, but not my bank.  I want a slogan like, "we want your money and we promise to lock it away and keep it very, very safe in our vault-like, solid bank, made of thick Indiana limestone and sporting very sturdy brass teller cages so you'll know that your money is safe and secure with us and will be there when you need it!" 
And I want it painted red and white and black in bold, unfriendly letters.   30.