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Anti-Scrooge — Why Now?
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From the Associated Press [this time CNN is faking it], a bank that understands the spirit of the season: Bank to employees: Pay it forward

FARGO, North Dakota (AP) — A bank is giving its full-time employees $1,000 each and part-time employees $500 each. There’s one condition — use it for people in need.

State Bank & Trust Chief Operating Officer Michael Solberg said each full-time employee will receive $1,000 and each part-time employee will receive $500, as part of a $502,000 “Pay it Forward” initiative.

“We’re going to really see some huge impact on our community,” Solberg said.

Employees were told not to use the money for themselves, their families or families of other bank employees. The bank asked each employee to document the good deed with a video camera. The deadline is June 30.

Is this so hard, giving back to the people that make your business possible? This is why I have always preferred local banks, but they become profitable because they provide service and value to customers, and they get bought up by the “big guys” who immediately “cut costs” that almost always eliminate the service to the customers to deliver profits to “shareholders.”

There is an asset called “good will” that is carried on the books of most businesses. It is an estimate of the value of the business’ “good name.” These days most corporations should have a negative value for that asset.


1 andante { 12.18.07 at 2:59 pm }

Hear, hear.

When I first started banking with Wachovia, they were pretty much local. Okay – that’s how long ago I started banking – back in the Stone Age.

As they merged and grew, they became pretty much intolerable and inefficient. The latest trick up their little corporate sleeves has been to lose all record of my mother signing a signature card that allowed me power of attorney over her accounts with them. I’m sure they lost it in one of their various mergers, and it’s only turned up now when I try to cash a check written to ‘cash’ so she’ll have $$$ to give her grandchildren at Christmas.

They certainly never had trouble with deposits I made after endorsing the checks with my POA.

I’m getting some recommendations and switching after New Year’s (too much Christmas crap going on now). I’ll keep a little something in Wachovia, since they have ATM’s all over the place and it’s convenient should an emergency pop up far from home.

I know they won’t miss my business, but I wont’ miss them, either.

2 Bryan { 12.18.07 at 4:07 pm }

My Mother praised their [Wachovia] credit card to the heavens for years, and then they changed. The final straw was when they dinged her for a late charge and interest [she paid the account off every bill] claiming they posted her payment one day after the due date. The post date was a Saturday, and businesses don’t get delivery on Saturdays, so they had the payment on time, they just hadn’t posted it.

You remember when Bert Lance got in all that trouble for “special treatment” by a bank in Georgia? I was dealing with a local bank in Fort Walton that would guarantee my checks all over, and if I was short would give me a loan without asking, and send me the paperwork later. I was in the Air Force and I really was all over, but People’s Bank took care of me, and I sent the head teller thank you gifts from all over the world for the ladies who worked there. I received better treatment than Bert, just because I was a customer from the day they opened and everyone knew each other.

3 Bryan { 12.18.07 at 4:11 pm }

Oh, yeah, People’s got bought by Barnetts, who got bought by Nations, who got bought by Bank of America. As for the B of A, after the garbage they pulled in California, I wouldn’t deposit a penny in any branch if they paid 10% interest per day.

4 fallenmonk { 12.18.07 at 9:37 pm }

Good bank story and a good example of paying it forward. The bank will reap far morein good wil that the $500K it will cost them.
I am with you Bryan. Started out 25 years ago with the small local bank and got great service. Roswell bank was bought by NationsBank and now I bank with B of A. Great service if you pay.

5 Bryan { 12.18.07 at 10:57 pm }

They have the fees jacked up so high that there are a lot of local people who have gone back to cash. They pay through the nose to get paychecks cashed and then have to use the post office or Western Union for money orders if they need to mail a payment.

The poor get poorer.

6 Steve Bates { 12.19.07 at 12:19 am }

All roads lead to B of A. I started out with a local and inevitably ended up with B of A, following NationsBank (which I called NotionsBank, because it seemed to me they assessed a charge of some sort whenever they took a Notion). B of A treats you well if you have money; I don’t want to think what they will be like if my accounts continue to dwindle due to my unemployment.

Kudos to State Bank & Trust. I don’t give away as much money as I did a year or two ago, but I’ve done a fair amount of pro bono work for worthy org’s and needy people. It’s how things ought to work. As best I can read, from de Tocqueville until the onset of the days of corporate hegemony in the 19th century, it’s how things did work: Americans were generous of their time and money to worthy causes and impoverished people. How far we as a nation have fallen!

7 Bryan { 12.19.07 at 12:31 am }

There was a time not long ago when people had time and money to give; when wives worked because they wanted to, not because they needed to; when you knew the people you did business with, even in cities; and you knew who grew the food you ate.

Corporations have gone multi-national and just don’t give a damn.

8 hipparchia { 12.19.07 at 2:44 am }

i love my bank, and for once i am not being sarcastic. they’re terrific.

9 Bryan { 12.19.07 at 2:46 pm }

There are still a few around who believe in service.