I saw a news story the other day that makes me both sad and nostalgic.
Apparently, many small town banks have decided that they do not have much of a future if they continue as independent businesses and so they are marketing themselves in hopes of selling out.
Small banks have always sold out as owners retired or died, or local community economic prospects shriveled.
However, this story almost made it seem like there was an element of a wholesale attitude of getting out while the getting is good.
I always think of the small bank that I did business with as a kid. More than any other institution, this one gave me a boost that led to my career.
What if that bank had been of the type that couldn’t be bothered with a kid searching through coin rolls to find the silver, or depositing his earnings from his paper route?
Then I’d probably be an accountant like my father, or a salesman like my brother.
There is nothing wrong with either occupation. They are good ways to make a living.
But I wanted to walk down the road less taken, the numismatic road, as it seemed to beckon to me as a more interesting way life. I owe much of this desire to that long-gone bank.
Now interesting does not necessarily mean good, or a way of life that leads to a happy ending, but I have been fortunate in making it work.
Banking has changed a lot since I was a kid. Many banks don’t like to be bothered with coins and make it difficult for a collector to do any hunting. Numismatic News readers report such instances.
Such are the times we live in.
But readers also report successes. There are still banks like the one from my past that apparently keep the doors open to those quirky people known as collectors.
I always picture them as small banks, or small local branches of larger banks where you know the tellers and more importantly, they know you and think what you are doing is part of their business.
I don’t expect that keeping an open door to collectors is a primary way for banks to achieve business success, but it might be a strong indicator that such banks also keep the doors open to the rest of the public and help to meet their needs.
A lot has changed with banks since I was a kid.
It looks like more changes are coming.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”