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Think Out Loud

Banking In the Bailout Days

Pete Springer/OPB

How are you banking differently today?

Like many people, I keep my money in a bank. I am considering moving it to a sock. (Warning: that is my personal feeling. Don’t let me be the cause of a mass exodus from banking institutions! And anyway, socks are notoriously prone to disappearing; at least you can’t lose your bank in your clothes drier.) Each day I open the paper with a certain amount of dread. What’s going to happen to my bank? What will these unprecendented days mean for my money? Sure, I understand intellectually that the FDIC insures individuals up to $100,000 (which, sadly, is more than enough), but emotionally I’m fearful. Should I stay where I am? Move my money to a credit union? Line my floorboards with gold? Where is my money more safe: a large bank, or a small one?

These are the questions I’m asking myself, my colleagues are asking each other, and you have likely been talking about over the last few days. The news — Citibank’s buying Wachovia, JPMorgan Chase acquiring Washington Mutual, Congress rejecting the $700 billion buyout, and the Dow dropping 777 points — is keeping may of us on edge. But do these big changes signal a major shift in banking or just new checks logos and bright plastic signs?

Tomorrow we’ll talk about how day-to-day banking in the Pacific Northwest actually is — or is not — changing in these scary financial times. Are you doing anything in reaction to the changing banking landscape?

Photo credit: Tracy O / Flickr / Creative Commons

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