Reeading on Easter Morning

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yogi
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

Post by yogi »

The bank I use has it's main office in downtown Chicago. I opened the account at that main office several decades ago. Since that time laws changed end they were able to open branch banks. There always was one near where I lived at the moment. It surprised the heck out of me when I came to O'Fallon and there were two branch offices down here. They closed one of them since we've lived here. I've only been inside the physical building twice here in O'Fallon. Once was the day we transferred accounts to the new location. Nothing changed which was a pleasure. In fact one of the checking accounts I have is no longer offered but they maintain mine because I'm an old timer and grandfathered in. LOL Up north I only went inside the bank no more than half a dozen times during the last twenty years. I love online banking. I do use the ATM machine from time to time, but I don't consider that going inside the bank. The account is jointly owned but wife and I have two different debit cards. Each is in our own name. It's all pretty simple and convenient except for when they change the software on their website. So far none of the ATM's associated with the bank use face recognition, or at least not that I know of. They could be doing anything behind the scenes.
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Kellemora
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

Post by Kellemora »

I forget the original name of the bank I opened my account with, but they merged with a larger bank, then were bought out by an even larger banking system, which in turn was bought out by yet another larger banking system, which is now known as Region's Bank. The mergers were actually a benefit to me, because after they were bought out by the first big banking system, and I was still on the road alot running OTR a few times. It was handy to have ATMs out there when I needed them. What is ironic is, even though Region's Bank has only been in business for x number of years, it shows me as a member for more than three times as long as they existed, hi hi.
I just remembered, the name of the bank when I opened my account, it was called Landmark Bank, then became Creve Coeur Banking Center. Another name or two between then, and later it became Union Planters Bank, and finally Region's Bank.
What irked me is they closed the only Region's Bank in South Knoxville, so the closest one is like 4 miles away now, across the river, or way out in another county. But in the city area they have one like every 6 to 8 blocks. Then skip about a mile or two before the next one. It didn't make sense for them to close the one here, but I'm sure they had their reasons.

Every ATM down here, appears to have a video camera in them. Whether they work or not is anybodies guess. But I doubt if any are using facial recognition, except the one at the main banking center.
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yogi
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

Post by yogi »

I think all bank ATMs have cameras and take pictures of people conducting the transactions. Face recognition, however, is something only a few are capable of doing.

One of the reasons I liked O'Fallon when we were looking for a place to land was the town was about 8 miles in length down the main drag. It spread out a mile or so off the main street but everything a person could want was on that center highway. The thing that impressed me was the number of banks and title companies. There were A LOT considering the size of the city. That told me there is some economic attraction and that a lot of people are likely looking for mortgages which told me the place was attractive and growing. We landed a home at the norther border of the city and the Harris bank was only about two or three miles from the house. I considered all that a good omen. LOL They closed down the bank near me and the other location is at the far southern border of town. That's about 8 miles from here. I miss the ATM machine being close, but I don't need to use it that often.

Harris, like your bank, was bought out by the Bank Of Montreal so that now the name is BMO Harris. There seems to be stability in the industry for the time being but over the past few decades there was more than one financial crisis that stressed a lot of banks. All the S&L's went out of business at one time and there aren't that many credit unions either. Many banks failed, and those that did not merged. I never had any reason to think Harris was in a poor financial situation so that it surprised me when they merged. Apparently they were doing very well but the BMO folks were doing better and gobbled up a winner. For me only the name has changed, and I'm glad of that.
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Kellemora
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

Post by Kellemora »

There are ATM's all over the place, but unless you use the one's owned by your bank, most of them charge a fee.
There is one at the grocery store where the store itself pays the fees, but you have to remember to get it to read your store card first, then your debit card.

When I was a youngster, Des Peres was more like what you describe. Most of the stores were mom n pop stores that were there which seemed like forever, hi hi. Many of them fell by the wayside as fancier chain stores moved in, but not all. Some only closed because the owner finally died and had no kids to take it over.

We had two small country banks and two savings and loans in Des Peres before I turned 14. An uncle ran one of the savings and loan places. I forget what year it was when almost all the savings and loan places started to go under, but not my uncle, he was still in business long after the rest were long gone. I think the reason he did so well is he did not borrow from banks to make loans, which so many of the others did. I think he even bragged about keeping your money in the community. He quit making loans after Colonial Bank opened, because he was close to retirement. Rather than making a deal with the bank, he told everyone who had a saving account with his S&L they should come withdraw their money and put it in Colonial Bank. I will say this, he never became a rich man in that business, and lived modestly most of his life. I think this is why he was trusted.
Both of the two small country banks which were there when I was young, one became a branch for the Kirkwood Bank, and the other turned over everything to a larger banking group, but the bank still retained its same name until it closed down.
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yogi
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

Post by yogi »

The S&L crisis began somewhere around 1980. It took about a decade for the industry to collapse entirely. Your uncle's strategy of not borrowing from banks was most likely his saving grace. The bank borrowing interest rates went sky high because of the inflation going on which translated into S&L's having to pay more to borrow money than they could collect in interest on their loans. In order to overcome this losing situation some of the S&L's took part in some very shady financial arrangements. That coincided with deregulation and encouraged a lot of fraud to take place. When the feds got around to investigating things, more than half the S&L's in this country were insolvent. Apparently a lot of the cash S&L's used to issue loans was borrowed from banks, but your uncle got around that by using local currency. This must have limited his business, but it did keep him going where others failed.

In general the non-bank ATM's add a fee to the transaction. Our bank only recently decided to waive that fee, but that did not apply to the fee that the ATM company charges to stay in business. I suppose local businesses could pay that fee just to make it convenient for their customers. That's a great good will gesture, but as you have tole me several times the cost of doing business is always applied to the price of goods sold. That includes the fee they pay for having an ATM on the premises.
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ocelotl
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

Post by ocelotl »

Down here there's no such thing like a non-bank ATM. Every ATM belongs to a bank, whether they are in a brnch, in a mall or even within the facilities of a third company. Only in small towns there is a problem withdrawing monew without the need to pay fees, since in mid and big cities there's always a possibility to reach an ATM that belongs to the bank that you do business with. With foreigners, well, some large banks are national branchss of some or other giant bank. Our anking system mostly consolidated at the nationalization period... Statism in the '70s and '80s distorted most of the national economy... I do remember when growing the frequent price changes, some scarcity in several subsidized items expecting the approval of new officially set prices... Inflation reaching three digits... Heck, as far as I remember, by now prices in MXN (New pesos) match prices around mid 1982 in old pesos (MXP), even when taking into account that we dropped 3 zeros from circlating money in 1992. Not many people under 35 remembers that, but those of us that saw it first hand musn't allow it to happen again.
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yogi
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

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Your description of the financial situation where inflation reached triple digits is what is known as hyperinflation. It takes a very unusual set of circumstance to bring about those conditions and the common citizens of that economy have no control over such policies. Living through a period of hyperinflation gave you some insight into how people dealt with it. My first question would be about income. Did income increase exponentially too? If the price of goods double, and the income of consumers also doubles, then the inflation is pretty much harmless in the domestic environment. Your mention of nationalism rings a bell here. I don't know that much about Mexican politics so that I am curious about what existed before the nationalistic movement. In recent years our own American government has been moving in the direction of nationalism. Knowing first hand how the transition was experienced in other places could be enlightening for us.
Last edited by yogi on 23 Jul 2021, 15:23, edited 1 time in total.
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ocelotl
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

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After mexican revolution, Mexican politics turned to something between European Style Social Democracy and Russian Socialism. We kept having free market and private property rights, but haciendas were split into comunal lands called ejidos. Monopolies, company stores, and servitude tried to be erradicated with that. In many aspects we turned a mixed economy. Esencial companies as Petroleum and derivatives (1938), telephone (1958), and electricity (1960) were nationalized. In a similar fashion with socialist countries, we also had goverment managment under sexenal plans. As in Russia and China, most of the growth of Mexican economy came under government planned investment and industrialization, mostly under the figures of national sovereignity, goods autosuficiency and import substitutions. Many US and European companies have set foot to manufacturate products here, but until 1990 or so, Mexican law made them do it through partnership figures where a Mexican corporation had to own at least 51% of the company and the foreigner one up to 49%, to assure all companies were controlled locally. All this worked well until the 70's, when the governemt began nationalizing faulting companies, bloating the state property. Ecomomy bureaucratized due to that, Oil inflation began to hit in 1973, and instead of clearing the deficits, government kept buying faulting companies and asking for more debt. I remember that to enter elementary school, the teacher didn't believe I already could read, so he handed me the newspaper to read something from it. I remember reading about the 1976 devaluation decree, when Mexican peso stopped trading at 12.50 for one dollar and went to 21 pesos for dollar. I didn't understand that at the time, but time showed all That was happening to everybody.

At first, Government tried to compensate through the government owned CONASUPO (1961-1999), that was the main intermediary between farmers and the general population. We had subsidies in many basic staples, and government mandated prices in many products, including corn, rice, beans, tortillas, bolillos, sugar... I can't well remember all of the stuff that was subsidized by governement. All that and internal corruption brought more deficits and more debt. The pinnacle of all that was in 1982, when in the yearly message to the nation, López Portillo nationalized all banking. By then inflation had alrealy touched 80% yearly and external debt was hovering 80% of yearly national product. Between 1982 and 1987, infaltion kept aover 100% yearly. The peak was in 1987. 157%

Salaries had to rise, but always behind inflation. Minimum salary increase decrees tried to compensate something, but after 1976, all salaries began losing acquisitive value since mostly they were not rising with inflation By 1994 minimum salary lost 70% of the acquisitive power it had in 1976. We in the family were lucky, since dad pushed his way within the company he worked with and raised to a position in the acquisitons area of FRIEM, that at the time was associated with Westinghouse and made most of their appliances for mexican market.

The way the economy began to be corrected was by undoing most of the nationalizations. Many people complain that privatizations are the malady of this country, but no, nationalizations without plans and bureaucratization of economy was the main problem that stopped Mexican economy development. I remember that when my parents asked for a contract with the telephone company, it took around five years, from 1979 to 1984, for the line to be installed. At the time I made my first Internet contract in 1998 with the phone company already privatized, instalation, along with Internet service, took two weeks. And they've upgraded me to two different DSL modems and now optic fiber without me asking for it or paying anything extra.

Nationalism is not all bad per se, caring of internal ecomony, balancing budgets, paying back debt gradually and balancing external trade is benefical for any economy. Helps keeping it flexible and with growth possibilities. Problem is when the way the economy is built doesn't help ecomony to grow. Infrastructure has to be serviced and upgraded every now and then, but if the local taxes don't cover that infrastructure servicing or fund local health, firefighting and police, communities decay and property value doesn't hold. Manufacturing abroad means supporting the economical development of a different country, even when it's cheaper than manufacturing locally. It's just a matter of reinvesting most of the capital locally.
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yogi
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

Post by yogi »

I can't thank you enough for your generous comments. I lived through the same times you have and certainly was aware of the turmoil happening in Mexico. In those days information about current events was not as available as it is today at the speed of the Internet, plus I didn't have as much free time to investigate what interested me. Only a superficial awareness of what was happening in Mexico came to my attention. Events of the magnitude you describe have long term repercussions, and that is part of my reason for inquiring of you about your experiences. It seems as if the entire world is in a state of flux and some of the most stable and durable institutions are being threatened with tectonic class movement. My entire life in these United States of America has been relatively stable compared to other eras we have been though and compared to other countries such as Mexico. That stability is being challenged and I'm positive the country my grandchildren and their children will not at all be like the one I knew. I can only hope it will be a better place. We have survived 240+ years of growth and change after all.

Perhaps the greatest take away from your narrative is that economic growth is critical. Bringing that growth about requires elected representatives of the people who are intelligent and dedicated enough to serve in the best interest of all citizens. There is much talk about corruption of the political leaders all over the world, but in the final analysis the people determine who rules them and how. The Mexican revolution is a proof that the people ultimately hold the power. Unfortunately, asserting that power must be a bloody affair at times.
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ocelotl
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

Post by ocelotl »

Problem is that form the outside it sems that revolutions are done for the benefit of people. Mexican Revolution was a mess. It stafrted as a fight for democracy and correction of working conditions. The democracy part was not solved fully. The regimes since revolution were couped by the different leaders that alternated in power. The first real attempt to reorganize after the first leg of the revolution was the Aguascalientes Convention in 1915. By then the idea was that all the leaders looked for a political reorganization of the country. The main force that didn't participate in the Aguascalientes Convention was the one of Venustiano CArranza and the constitutionalist group, that imposed under the premise of reforming the 1857 constitution. Carranza's government was deposed by a coup, and reorganization had to be redon again until the first sights of stability were imposed for the 1920 Obregón elections and the 1924 Elections. 1928 Elections were a charade. Obregón was reelected but could not take possesion since he was murdered. Calles inposed the "Maximato" where he was a "counsellor" of presidents until Cárdenas exiled him in 1935.

We lived under a single party regime since the foundation by Calles of PRI predecesor (PNR) in 1929 to 2000. As a matter of fact the politics system was an authoritarian one. The reforms in 1991, when the election system became autonomus instead of being directly controlled by the governement, and the Banxico autonomy decree of 1994, when the governemnt stopped using the banking system as a fund source to balance the internal budget, helped to open both economy and democracy. As a matter of fact we in Mexico have earned more rights and freedom by legislative reforms during my adult life, than in the century before.
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yogi
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Re: Reeading on Easter Morning

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The American way of life was officially declared to begin 245 years ago. That was a revolution with a happy ending and one which culminated in a form of government unseen in previous history. We became a federated republic that was based on the principles of democracy. In order to assure the new idea endured the test of time the founding fathers authored a constitution which provided for three co-equal branches of government. This trilateral system of governing provided checks and balances not only to keep everybody honest but also to assure the will of the people was being fairly administered. As I said above, that system worked well for more than 240 years. The success of America as seen by the eyes of the world varies, but there is no doubt about our being a major player in global affairs.

The economy underlying American politics is commonly called capitalism. Both democracy and capitalism rely on the honor system to be successful and beneficial to all. It sounds simple but neither philosophy is perfect and thus inequities evolve. I would say that throughout history the people with power were the same people who had amassed the most wealth. Thus in our American economy there are naturally poor people and wealthy people with the latter having more influence than the former. History also shows how power corrupts even the best of us humans. And that is the point at which the genius of the trilateral form of government shines brightest. No one person or party could ascend into an authoritarian role. Unfortunately this century has seen a magnificent clash between the powers that be and the honor system required to stabilize governing has vanished. The system which had been so successful for the past 245 years now seems to be under attack. I find your comments extremely interesting wherein you state "Constitutionalists" were part and parcel of the conflicts during the Mexican Revolution period. That is exactly what certain major political groups in this country call themselves today. Some also would say a coup attempt was made during the last presidential election.

At the risk of sounding like a bigot, I would say the American system of government is close to being the best of all modern systems. It's based on democratic principles as opposed to authoritarianism. We are not the last ones standing. There are other countries with similar approaches to governance. But America could be the last bastion of hope for the future of democracy. I won't be around for that future, but it's painful to think I might be part of a bitter ending.
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