July 21, 2024
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July 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Insufficient Fun

If you think it’s a hassle to open a bank account, just try closing one. We did. Everything takes forever.

Opening an account takes forever, too. They make you sign thousands of little pieces of paper, one at a time, and after you sign each one, the guy runs to the back and comes back with another one.

They sit at their desk and set up accounts all day, but they don’t have everything they need right there? They have to keep going to the boss?

“He wants to open an account,” they say in a hushed whisper. “What do I do?”

To be honest, I want to have an account with whatever bank takes the quickest to set up accounts. But, usually, we pick banks based on location, so that we can occasionally go and visit our money.

It’s not a lot of money. It gets lonely.

Okay, so that’s not the only factor. We also pick banks based on the various features that they offer, which is why my wife dragged me out this morning to close our old business account.

We’d opened the account a few years ago, around the time I started my freelance writing business, the logic being that we wanted to have separate personal and business accounts so we could send ourselves paychecks. You’d think that if we already had the money, why would we have to send it to ourselves? But the answer is that we need the paper trail. Basically, there are times that we have to officially prove to other people how much money we make.

“We make x.”

“Prove it.”

“Okay, look at this stub. See? Every once in a while we receive all this money! From ourselves!”

“Oh, okay.”

But, at some point, we got sick of this particular bank’s policies, so we opened a new account somewhere else, stopped depositing money in this bank, and used whatever was in there to pay bills, until eventually we’d whittled our balance down to $1.52, which was too small to pay any of our bills, but not quite worth it to spend an hour at the bank to close the account. And we haven’t touched that account since. We’ve just had our $1.52 sitting in there, earning interest. In a couple of years, we figured, we’d have $1.53.

But then, recently, the bank sent out letters that said that if we had less than $2,000 in our account, it would cost you $15 a month. Apparently, the bank charges us money for not having money. Like that’s our fault. Okay, so maybe it’s partially our fault, but it’s also partially their fault, because they’re charging us. They’re not part of the solution.

But when we tried to close our account, they didn’t make it easy. For one thing, the woman helping us kept getting up and disappearing into the back.

“Sir, they want to close their account. What do I do?”

The bank is like a shoe store. Everything’s in the back. They keep their money in the back; they keep their manager in the back. He’s just sitting on a pile of money, holding a scepter.

We’re not giving up bank accounts altogether. There are definitely benefits to having money in a bank. For example, they keep your money safe. Though I’m not sure how it’s safe. Doesn’t every criminal already know that banks have money in them? Maybe the person they’re keeping it safe from is you.

And, anyway, the bank doesn’t actually keep your money there. They lend it out. It’s like if you leave your car with a valet, and then, while you’re at the chasuna, he rents it out to people for joy rides.

So why is the bank charging you? You’re lending the bank money! Only the bank doesn’t need your money. They’re a bank. Those tellers are bringing home thousands of dollars a week. So they take your money and lend it out to people you don’t even know, and charge them interest. And then they hope that those people pay them back sometime before you come back to ask for your money. Maybe that’s what’s taking so long. They’re in the back, making frantic phone calls: “He wants his $1.52 back. Can you come by and drop it off? I’ll stall him.”

Though I don’t really know if that’s how they lend it out—by your exact money. Is it like buying puppies in a window?

“Do you want to borrow this guy’s money? It’s $2,500. Or do you want to borrow this guy’s money? It comes from a good home, non-smoking, but it’s $1.52.”

That’s not how it works. They just lump your money in with everyone else’s, until you can’t really tell whose money is whose anymore. So the money you see later is not necessarily the same money you gave them. It’s like if you drop two kids off at a babysitter, and then, at the end of the day, she gives you two back.

“Um, these aren’t my kids.”

“They’re the same age. It’s good enough. Look, maybe these are better! This one’s a girl.”

No, they don’t do it, because you’re attached to your kids. So I’m saying it’s probably best not to get attached to your money.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press, and Aish.com, among others. He also has four books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

By Mordechai Schmutter

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