A few weeks ago I went to open an account for my new business. While I was waiting I decided to peruse a copy of Northern Virginia magazine. In it was an interview with incumbent Representative Jim Moran. It droned on and on about his background, political activity, and his daughter’s past struggle with cancer, and how hard he worked (really?). I set the magazine down, incensed, and entered the branch manager’s, I’ll call him Sam, office.
Sam noticed that I was clearly heated and asked me if anything the matter. I explained to him the article and he said “I take it you don’t particularly care for him.” With clenched fists and teeth I shook my head vigorously. I began to explain the reasons why I could not stand Moran, right down to his voting history, his belligerence towards constituents, the recorded incident involving Jason Mattera where when Mattera asked his opinion on billions of stimulus dollars going towards “phantom” districts Moran looked like he was ready to fight.
Sam began to explain how he had a lot of customers who were also less than pleased with Moran’s performance and how he was beginning to see more “Retire Jim Moran” stickers popping up, to which I replied that I had one as well. We also began to talk about how crucial the upcoming election was. I began to explain how as a new small business owner, I was really concerned about the economy and what that would mean for any aspirations of expansion. I told Sam that I was concerned for more than just myself, that I was concerned about everyone else out there who wanted to take the risk to open their own business and become financially independent. I explained to him how conflicted I was over being employed by the government with which I so vehemently disagreed yet needed to tolerate because I had a family to support. I hated not knowing what the new financial regulations would do to my business’ financial standing. Sam nodded in agreement.
Sam began to try to explain to me the concerns he had as a bank manager. He told me that just by looking around the branch I could see that they were down to bare bones as far as staffing went because they simply could not afford to hire more people. Sam told me that the bank did in fact have billions of dollars they were sitting on but that it they were reluctant to spend it because they didn’t know how things would go. I told him I completely agreed and understood his reservations. I do think that he was quite relieved to know that I did not seek to vilify him because of this. I told him I totally understood that the reason why they were not spending money on hiring new people is because they needed that money to stay afloat for as long as possible and because they didn’t know what the future held.
Sam explained that pretty much the main reason why they were not expanding or taking any risks was because the financial regulation bill passed was so ambiguous that banks didn’t know where they stood. He said there were lawyers and accountants who couldn’t even decipher the regulations. He said that if they had clearly defined rules then they would know what parameters they could work, but that such was not the case. Sam explained to me that with impending Obamacare and the financial regulation rules, it just did not appear to be cost effective to hire new personnel AND pay through the nose for benefits. I told him I couldn’t agree more. I told him that even though my business only consisted of myself at the time that I could not help but think that if my business became truly successful (God willing), that I would be faced with the same conundrum. Either way my business would suffer. Either I would have to hire new people and pay through the nose myself for benefits for them, or I would have to keep the operation limited to myself and maybe my husband, yet not be able to meet the demands of a growing customer base due to limited manpower.
We then began to speak about how the public regarded banks. I told Sam that I found it most unfortunate that more people did not understand what led to the problems we were having and how banks were not as culpable and evil as they thought. I told him that it didn’t take much thinking to figure out that any bank in their right mind would not WILLINGLY loan money to a person they viewed to be high risk and were certain would be unable to repay it. We began to discuss how there were reports that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be forcing banks to absorb some of the debts. He looked as though he could have consumed a half a bottle of Pepto on the spot.
We spoke about other things while we were waiting, like how the political tides seemed to be shifting, how Obama was not living up to campaign promises and how people were really beginning to notice, and how we were before a great precipice where all the things we never could have imagined happening to this country were gearing up to come to fruition if they had not already. However, the financial discussion was predominant. I only wish more people understood what was really going on behind the scenes.
This is just a little something out of my head and on the page. Thanks for reading.