When this Examiner read some recent reports that the big banks are getting ready to virtually eliminate free checking, he thought of JFK’s famous quote “My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now.” That was an angry President Kennedy during his 1962 fight with the American steel industry. Some sources say his father was referring to big bankers and not all big businessmen.
The alleged reason for the banks’ pending actions is the banks trying to recoup the presumed new costs of the additional new regulations. Apparently bailing out these banks with taxpayer dollars, their refusal to lend the rescue money as required, the banks own culpability in causing the crisis (which is what prompted the regulations), and other details are irrelevant to the top executives of the big banks.
Of course the most galling part of all this is that it is the depositors’ money to begin with and without which the banks wouldn’t be in business. Apparently bankers didn’t learn any humility in the last few years. People might just be better off hoarding their money rather than letting the banks rip them off by in effect charging them to store their money. Thus this Examiner’s flashback to the JFK quote.
The best solution in places such as Cleveland and northeast Ohio is to hope the relatively small and mid-sized banks such as Huntington and Charter One, credit unions, savings banks, etc. is don’t follow suit. What a great way for market-based competition to level the banking playing field.
Virtually all business regulation in this country is the result of actions by big businesses in many industries including banking. Starting in 1890 with the Sherman Act designed to curb the growing trusts such as John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. During the Spanish American War, more Americans troops died or were sickened by the food packaged by America’s big meat packers than were killed or injured by Spanish bullets and bayonets. The result 10 or so years later was the Food and Drug Administration. And so the cycle of arrogance, outrageous abuse, and subsequent regulation continues.
Thus there is really nothing new about this and the banks should have known the additional regulations and their ensuing costs were sure to follow. Now it is up to their smaller competitors and the people to show they can handle such arrogance with good old American competition from smaller businesses and equally good old American customer rebellion.