Monday, July 14, 2008

Serta National Bank Looks Real Good Right Now.

[Part 3 of The Real Issues They Should Be Talking About series.]

"Messin' with my money is like messin' with my emotions".

Or so once said a wise man from South Central Los Angeles.[1]

I mean come on, we're supposed to trust financial institutions. They are supposed to be good stewards over our money. Even the government agrees, thus the guarantees from the FDIC. But I'm sure a gang of Californians are feelin' hoodwinked, bamboozled, and generally "messed with" right about now.

Worried customers with deposits in excess of insured limits flooded IndyMac Bank branches on Monday, demanding to withdraw as much money as they could or get answers about the fate of their funds.

With the failed bank now under federal control, hundreds of people lined up before dawn outside its headquarters branch in Pasadena, reports CBS Evening News correspondent Bill Whitaker.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took over IndyMac after depositors, worried about its solvency, made a massive run on the bank Friday. IndyMac, which had assets of more than $32 billion -- another victim of the mortgage mess -- flying high in 2006 on risky mortgage loans -- today being run by Uncle Sam.

"I just want to reassure people," said John Bovenzi. "Ninety-eight percent of the people who do business with the bank have less than $100,000 in their accounts. They don't have to worry about anything. Their money is completely protected."
The obvious issue: What about the folks with more than $100,000!?!?

They (we?) are the ones really getting the ass end of the pyramid here.

Not quite. IndyMac Bancorp Inc. had $1 billion of uninsured, unsecured, and unprotected consumer deposits at stake. The 10,000 uninsured depositors will get 50 cents on the dollar now and wait for the rest.

Uninsured deposits are the most easily avoided risks for investors. Your total savings and checking accounts are insured to $100,000 per person per bank (joint accounts for two people would hold $200,000 insurance) and IRAs are insured separately to $250,000.

Mutual fund, bank bond- and investment accounts are not FDIC-insured.

That's right folks! Word hard. Pay your taxes! Diversify. Save and invest! Do everything fiscally responsible, and you can still get completely screwed by your bank's poor business decisions (ie: predatory lending) and lose it all.

I repeat: Mutual fund, bank bond- and investment accounts are not FDIC-insured!!!

I hate to sound like Chicken Little, but damn, all the signs of a monumental financial collapse are right there. Foreclosures are rampant. Jobs are being slashed daily. The Dow is goin' down like Paris Hilton. Gas is $5/gallon. Kashi is $7/box. Ed McMahon is about to lose his Beverly Hills estate. Diddy is paying a whopping $100k a month in child support alone.

[Editor's (b)Elated Note: Today in the grocery store, I caught a sale on all varieties of Kashi Heart to Heart. 2 Boxes for only $6. I think I might have actually shed a tear or three in the cereal aisle.]

And now, if your bank goes under, you'll prolly have to settle for pennies on the dollar, if that.

Somethin', somethin' just ain't right.

I would advise everyone, despite how your fiscal situation looks, to read the links below, speak with your financial advisor, and further educate yourself on this issue. I'm pretty well diversified right now, but reality is you can only do so much.

AverageGrandma's old adage about putting money under the mattress ain't soundin' so bad right now.

I'd love to see our two Presidential candidates get off that ole' "lesser dependence on foreign oil" BS and start kickin' some real ideas on this. As is, PapaMac's idea of economic stimulus is to marry a rich white woman. Too bad there aren't more of them to go around. And I'm not totally convinced Barry has any more fiscal sense than I do.

We're screwed either way.

Question: How are you planning on adjusting your financial plan to lessen the potential impact of such a banking collapse? In what practical, everyday ways has this recent financial downturn changed your spending habits?

Nervous Depositors Make A Run On IndyMac [CBS]

What if my bank fails? Some questions and answers [BusinessWeek]

Give no credit when creditors are due [WSJ]

[1] Name said wise man. I'll provide the Cyber CapriSuns.

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