Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Cowboy Banking

Last week I opened a bank account. I was sitting across from the assistant manager's desk, mostly watching her type things into the computer. A small clock radio sat on the credenza behind her with the music just loud enough to hear:
Well I'm packing up my game and I'm a head out west
Where real women come equipped with scripts and fake breasts
Find a nest in the hills chill like Flynt
Buy an old drop top find a spot to pimp
Yep, Kid Rock's "Cowboy" was playing as I entrusted my hard-earned money to this new banker.

I don't have a problem with Kid Rock. Lord knows I've listened to things more offensive lyrically and musically, and I find Kid oddly fascinating as far as the level of narcissism required to write song after song glorifying oneself.*

But there's something about hearing Kid Rock at the bank that made me wonder if it's all just a bit too casual these days. Banks used to convey permanence and command respect. They were the sturdiest structures in town, imposing concrete temples of commerce. The banker wore a nice suit and shook your hand, doing everything to assure you that your money was safe.

The banking industry has had a bad half-decade with the small ones failing and the big ones taking government bailouts. The only reassuring thing about banks these days is the "FDIC" logo that says your money is safe when the inevitable happens. Now you can open your account in a strip mall storefront with Kid Rock rapping in the background. The assistant manager didn't shake my hand. It's like they can't even pretend anymore.


* One of my favorite Kid Rock moments is when he finishes a song and a guy says something like, "Dude, there's more to life than just... you."

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