I’m opening a bank. I don’t really want to, but the peer pressure is becoming unbearable. Bankers are taking over my street. I don’t know what they want, or how far their willing to go, but I’m scared. More than once I’ve said to myself, “There are an awful lot of banks on this street,” and then thought no more about it. Yesterday I decided to count. There are 18 of them. Eighteen banks on one street. And my street isn’t unusual. I considered counting the number of banks in the center of Krakow, but I’m not sure I’ll live long enough to complete the task. The minute you turn your back another one of the buggers pops up.
Banks on ul. Karmelicka, Kraków
(complete with insightful comments about their names):
mBank (Marketing Exec: “What we need is name something like ‘iPod’ or ‘eMail’)
Get in Bank (Bizarre name, lovely people)
Bank BPH (I love these old-style Polish banks with their mysterious acronyms)
GE Money Bank (aha, so it’s a money bank!)
Alior Bank (new kid on the block, you’ve probably already been bored rigid by their ads)
Polbank EFG (Every Fool Gouged?)
BZ WBK (my favorite obscure-acronym bank, sounds like a South Carolina bluegrass station)
Bank Pekao SA (never heard of them)
Millennium Bank (the one thousandth bank in Poland?)
They’re getting sneaky too. The other week I went to pop into my local 24-hour shop only to discover it had been converted into a bank in the few days since I was last in there. I went in willing to spend 20 zeds on beer and just barely avoided walking out with a 200,000 Swiss Franc mortgage. I’m sure Swiss Franc mortgages are wonderful things, but they do nothing to slake a Friday-evening thirst. A few days ago I peered into the window of the local big-screen-tv-and-other-things-you-can’t-afford shop only to discover that it too had fallen under the evil sway of the bankers. I spent a good few seconds looking directly at posters with percentage signs and asterisks all over them, it wasn’t pleasant.
“Six cans of Żywiec and a packet of peanuts please”
This is why I’ve decided to open the Bank of Polandian. If I don’t do it now, you’ll click over here one day soon only to discover that somebody else has done it for us. Scatts, Pawel and myself will never be heard from again and you will be forced to read about Kredyt hipoteczny or some such nonsense. As a writer I have limited experience of money. I had some once, and it was very pretty, but it made my trousers heavy and didn’t seem to do anything so I swapped it for sixteen cases of Johnnie Walker Black Label. As I understand it banks work like this:
1. You give me some pieces of paper that are promises to pay a certain amount (I believe they call it currency)
2. I multiply the numbers on the pieces of paper you have given me by ten and ‘lend’ this amount to other people.
3. The people I ‘lend’ this money to pay me interest and buy things with it.
4. The people they buy things from give pieces of paper to their banks, who then multiply it by ten and lend it to other people.
5. Everybody gets rich.
Sounds simple enough to me. I’m willing to forget about the actual pieces of paper. Just leave a comment depositing ‘x’ amount of zloty in the Bank of Polandian, and we’ll go from there. Loan applications are also welcome.
In about six months we can go bankrupt, blame China, and pocket a few billion from the IMF.
The Bank of Polandian
We care about your money and have good-looking blonde children*
*reality may or may not differ