Letters to the Bouncy Banker...

Letters to the Bouncy Banker...
...from a struggling artiste.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Letter to the Bank #78 (Keep Your Hands out of my Wallet)

Dear BM,

In my efforts to not demonize the whole banking infrastructure, or every individual working in that system, I work hard to make it clear my target is specifically those who look down sneeringly at us masses and, whilst cleaning out the cash registers, believe that their ability to do so only proves their superiority. Though I address these letters to my fictional bank manager you nonetheless represent my best hope of what a financial advisor might be. I wish to believe that I am addressing a human being behind that daunting edifice who is only trying to make a living and who has some sense of moral obligation vis-a-vis his clients. That is all I ask—some sense. As the holder of my securities you wield power and with all the doubt out there regarding those who do it is high time you distinguished yourself from the rotten apples in your barrel. The You in these letters refers to the Rotten Apples and you may decide you fit that profile or... certainly do not. You are unavoidably part of that massive amorphous target that is the banks and will occasionally suffer from the collateral fall out inevitable in my tirades. So, on that understanding here goes:

My relationship to you, dear banker, feels much like that of a petulant child to a cold and uncomprehending, distant parent. I want to lash out but know I’m dependent on you for food and lodging and so as I strain to be heard I also make great efforts to do so in such a way as to not have you cut me off entirely from my holdings, my 401K, my pension, that which amounts to my thin inheritance. With your hooks in all organs of power—politics (both parties), law enforcement (and surveillance), the Bench (bought by that remarkable individual known as The Corporation), it is hard as an individual to speak truth to power and takes enormous courage, a courage we say taking root with Occupy Wall Street. Their ability to remain civil despite the condescension pouring down on them is an inspiration. As you well know if I am rude, it is with civility. I offend politely. For not truly altruistic reasons I come to you in a spirit of cooperation and suggest means by which we might better work together. Perhaps you could not slap on that extra fee? How about giving some relief to that mortgage burden? You might avoid having to deal with the pain of adding yet another crumbling home to your overloaded books. I’ve heard you are bulldozing whole communities of foreclosed homes because it is cheaper than fixing them up. Why didn’t you fix them up when people still lived in those homes? Would that not have been a better solution all round? It looks a lot like stubborn behavior on your part. If you believe rules is rules then surely you should apply them to yourselves as well. That would certainly mean no more bailing out the big banks. You must be confused at times by the anger that seeps out despite my best efforts to keep it buried but you have so much power and you use it in a disgracefully poor manner and, as even you with your thick skin cannot have helped noticing, the fury cannot be tamped down any more. To not be so compromised by our complicity with the banks we look to the notion of removing our assets from your institutions. You naturally thought of this a long time ago and people are finding it very difficult to extricate themselves from your grip. It’s nasty of you to hold on to our little wallets, wallets that keep yielding nickels and dimes that amount to billions when you look at your massive client base. If they all got up and left your party you’d be destitute.

Yours sincerely,

Kristian Witherkay

PS-My colleague, Art O'Connor, normally a retiring and elusive soul, will read more of these letters loud in  public soon.

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