My wife has agreed at last to clump Bank of America and go with a local bank. She manages our paperwork and the prospect of making the change was more than she wanted to handle but her irritation at the Big Banks finally overcame her reluctance and she sent me out to find a local bank that would work for us. Bank of America used to be my local bank decades ago, when I lived in Santa Cruz, California. It was founded in 1904 by Amadeo Giannini an Italian American in San Francisco. He made a name for himself by making collateral-free loans after the 1906 earthquake to anyone who spent the money to help rebuild the city. You can't get more local than that! He was also famous for pointing out that not one of those loans ever defaulted. In 1922 he bought an Italian bank and changed the name to the Bank of America and Italy. In 1930 he acquired the Bank of America in Los Angeles and then he tried to go national by creating the Transamerica Corporation as a way to avoid New Deal anti-trust laws. This was in the days when banks were regulated to be risk-averse conservative places of deposit.
In the 1980s deregulation began and led to Bank of America growing and merging and moving it's headquarters to North Carolina after being absorbed by Nation's Bank. By now any vestige of a local banking operation was long gone and Bank of America boasts it has more assets than any other bank in the country. Perhaps but the Bank has taken tens of billions of public money to maintain it's status as "too big to fail" and I am no longer willing to support them with my tacit complicity. So my wife set me the task of finding a new bank which all goes to explain why it was that I was in the parking lot at First State Bank on Summerland key this afternoon. First State is the only local bank left in the Keys. The Island Bank (TIB) is based in Naples and Centennial Bank is owned by people in Louisiana while Orion Bank went bust. We have an account at my wife's credit union but we wanted a bank with branches (and free ATMs) so we seem to have settle don First State. I am glad to have finally joined the national movement to dump big banks, even if First State is a creation of the Spottswood family, people who never saw a piece of open space or a low income trailer park that wasn't worth leaving alone. Which brings up the very pertinent question asking who are these people in the photographs? Strangers it turns out, but when one lurks on the Web it seems one is not destined to stay a stranger for long. I was walking out of the bank enjoying a warm sunny afternoon when a debt collector approached. He had my name right but I was sure I was the wrong person as we have no outstanding debts (my wife assures me). It turns out these wastrels have nothing better to do with their time than read my blog and raise abandoned dogs.
It was pretty funny actually because I got the blame for them adopting these puppy mill mothers. It turns out we had in common the need to replace expired dogs in our lives and when i got over Emma they got over Napoleon and off they went to adopt about the time I found Cheyenne. Apparently they are Vizsla dogs originally bred in Hungary as hunting house dogs (who knew?). Cheyenne took my interest in these very sweet dogs as an excuse to get involved far more than she would normally.You might say they, like Cheyenne have won the lottery. Had Wayne and Chuck not grabbed them they would have been killed as being of no further use to the puppy mills. Look at these retired mothers and ask yourself why not adopt.And there I was just minding my own business. A day full of surprises in the Lower Keys. I've got a new bank, two new neighbors and I found out about Vizlas. Too much to absorb, I need a cup of tea.