Friday, July 04, 2008

What went wrong with the rate of savings

It all started when banks did away with passbooks. There was a lot of satisfaction gained from putting some money in the bank and having your passbook returned after being run through that neat-o machine to enter the deposit and compute the resulting new balance. Banks used to encourage savings at an early age, sometimes through once-a-week school programs encouraging regular deposits as small as a quarter or fifty cents. The disappearance of passbooks somehow took away a lot of the inducement to save; that immediate reward, the tangible evidence, was gone. It was soon after the disappearance of passbooks that banks started to discourage the small saver or individual customer just as much as possible, from cutting branch hours to making people go through hell to prove their identity. It used to be that, even with the minimum-wage pay earned by tellers, back when they needed to know something, a branch would keep the same staff for years at a time. You knew them, and they knew you. No more. Those days are long gone. This entry should be tagged "handbasket." But I'm serious. Most people only know the interest accruing on their revolving credit-card debt, if they know that, and the positive pleasures of compound interest are now familiar only to the few.


Post a Comment

<< Home