Well, another weekend has passed and another Monday is here. It all goes by so quickly it seems. Especially with the silliness of last week. It seems that I spent most of Saturday catching up with the regular chores and yesterday just flew by. We went to our friends out by a lake and the weather was perfect and we had a nice afternoon. I got home by 9pm but was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open so I called it an early night.
Today I got up early and am ready to start a productive week. I couldn’t call last week really productive. Too many distractions and not enough concentration. I have a plan though for this week and need to set some mini-goals and work toward them. I am not too good at accomplishing things when I don’t set definite goals. I don’t know, it may just be me. But I don’t do well when I am just ‘winging it’.
I had some somewhat frightening news yesterday that shook me up a bit and brought me back to reality off of my pink cloud. Prior to leaving for our outing, I went to check the balance on my USA bank account. (I have a bank that I keep in the US because my business is located there and I get paid mostly in US funds. It is important for me to keep an account there, as it saves me a lot of time and aggravation and exchange fees and stuff) Anyway, I go to log into the account and there is this ominous announcement on the screen that my bank was CLOSED and taken over by the FDIC (Federeal Deposit Insurance Corporation) and subsequently would be run and operated by another bank under another name.
I felt my heart leap as I read the notice. Many of the words on the notice were printed in red and the first thought that flashed through my mind was the scene from “it’s a Wonderful LIfe” where there was a public run on the bank when it failed and the stock market plummeted.
Thankfully, the momentary panic in my mind only lasted a second. As I read on, I realized that even though the bank was ‘closed’ by the government and taken over, the system was in essence “working” and that everything would be safe. I logged on to my accounts and saw that other than the new name beside the familiar one of my bank, everything looked normal. I was still able to transfer money from one account to the other and it looked pretty much like business as usual.
I tried not to think about it much during the visit yesterday. But part of me couldn’t help but worry a bit about the implications of having to try to find another US bank to fit my needs while here in Canada. I had been with this bank over 15 years and they were what I would call a “neighborhood institution”, named after the town where it originated and had two branches initially. In recent years, since I came to Canada six years ago, they had added several branches throughout the Chicago area and now had six. Good, I thought. They were growing.
As far a banks go, they were great. While everyone around me was complaining about picky fees and charges for everything, I enjoy not only low or no fees on most of my transactions, but also the best customer service you could ask for.
During the initial transition of me coming here to Canada and operating my business from another country, they were always helpful and you could always talk to a person who would do their best to make things work for you. I could picture them at their desk as they were when I was there in person and as recently as this tax year, they assisted me with some financial information that I would have otherwise had to jump through hoops to obtain without being there in person. Most of these services were offered without additional fees or charges, too.
Perhaps, as was pointed out to me, that is why they failed. In a world where you sometimes get charged for looking up your own balance on your own account, maybe they just couldn’t keep up because they didn’t have these petty fees. I just don’t know.
One of the only comforts that I find in this is that the bank that will be taking them over is the same one that I dealt with for six years because I had my car note through them. Although they are MUCH larger, I had little problems, if any with them and have a good record with them and some history with them.
I worry because my business is quite small and most of the larger corporations and banks don’t want to be bothered with me. I imagine that they don’t feel they will make enough money off of me to make it worth their while. Perhaps though I am jumping the gun because as I said, I haven’t really been with any other banks since I started my business, so maybe I am being unfair. I just hear stories from others who are starting up businesses and look at it as being challenging at best.
I did everything through this bank from my own personal banking and business banking to running the credit card transactions from my site through them. There is quite a bit involved with getting everything to run smoothly and what may complicate things more is that I am located here in Canada so it will be difficult to set things up from scratch somewhere else without being there. I can’t really afford a trip back to the United States at this point and things were just getting going.
So when I returned home last night, I did take a bit of time to read through their instructions on the site. Apparently they say that little will change except that the bank will be more stable and larger and more convenient. Something inside tells me that it will come with a price though.
The good thing is that it doesn’t appear that large changes will happen quickly. I am sure the last thing they want to happen is to panic the customers that are there and have them pull out. I just need to read and to be aware of what will happen and also perhaps line up a “plan B” for myself and my finances that I can implement if things get too expensive or out of hand. I can’t imagine them dumping all the new charges they probably intend to dump on us at once and hopefully it will buy me enough time to do some research and make a good decision and do some comparison shopping. I am sure I will find a way.
So in the mean time, it was quite a personal wake up call that the economy isn’t ready to settle down yet. Perhaps it is part of the healing process and perhaps it will ultimately weed out the types of institutions that put us into the situation we are in now in the first place. We all knew that something had to change. I feel very fortunate that this type of change is manageable for me right now. I have seen many others hit with much worse fates than I have and even though this is a blow, I feel still fortunate. “Knowledge is Power” you know. Educating myself on this and looking closely at my options will be my best bet. There are always options.
So with that said, I will get to work. For those of you who fondly scold me that I work too much or too hard, this is one of the reasons why I do. I have been around long enough to know that there are upswings and downfalls of both the economy and businesses in general and I know I need to do everything I can to prepare for these ups and downs in order for my business to survive. Thank goodness I love my job and want to work at it as I do!
I can sum up what my day will be today in three words. Focus. Plan. Implement.
To me it is a win/win strategy.
I hope you all have a great and productive Monday! I can’t wait to see what the day brings for me! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"