04 February 2009

Bailouts Redux . . .

Can we stop with the tax evasion, and can we please stop with the "honest mistakes"? An apology is fine, I'm heartened by it, but it's not an excuse, which is what the "honest mistake" sounds like. The apologies, the give-backs, the repayments in hindsight that should have been made in the first place, feel like excuses. These all fray and tear at our trust. The ponzi schemes simply rip up trust. Money, credit, our banking system is built upon trust among people.

My maternal Grandpa Savage was a yeoman, a farmer, a husbandman, a businessman. He grew apples. He tended 40 acres of apple orchard. He raised chickens. He delivered eggs; he was known as "the eggman." He offered produce at his roadside stand. He was elected Assessor of Berlin, served on the East Berlin Fire District Committee and was its treasurer. Granpa was a deacon of his Berlin Congregational Church. He was a local banker. He was a trustee of the Berlin Savings Bank in Berlin, Connecticut. The bank was founded in 1874. It was a local savings institution.

In 1924, its' 50th Anniversary, the trustees wrote a vision statement for the bank.
The prosperity of the present is based on the thrift and the savings of the past. The prosperity of the present and future can only be continued by the same practices.

The mutual Savings Bank is a special friend of the persons of moderate means; it receives their surplus moneys in such small sums and as such times as they may choose for depositing it, and invests it solely for their profit, not its own; the investments are made with great caution, and with a single eye to safety; there is not temptation on the part of the Trustees to make loans at high rates of interest on doubtful securities, for they receive no part of the profits; and experience proves that a multitude of persons, each with a little money, can make no more safe or profitable or convenient investment of their means than by bringing them together in a Saving Bank. 

The mutual Savings Bank is the proof of community life as its owners are those who become depositors, and the Banks exist solely for their welfare. Its Officers as Trustees, and the State of Connecticut, by constant supervision, holds them responsible for an efficient and safe administration of the funds entrusted to the.

A Savings Bank's influence is all pervasive in a community and affects the best quality of character of its people. The Savings Bank is not only an institution, it is also an inspiration to character building and prosperity.

I believe this mission statement is a remnant of a time when a bank represented its community, reflected the character of its depositors, and was hoped to be an inspiration to character building and prosperity.

If our banking system is an example of our community life then what kind of community have we become today? We know what a small part of it once was. The Lord always leaves a remnant.  If we will allow it we can see it, take it in, learn from it, and reform. 


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