Matt: I’ve been laid off from two jobs, and I’m pretty tired of it all. Since I have so much time on my hands, I was sitting around thinking about where I could work that wouldn’t lay me off. It seems that today the only people who have any money are banks. I’d probably have to start off as a teller, which means I probably would get laid off again, just because they have the power to do it, not because they can’t afford to pay me. But if I owned my own bank, then I couldn’t get laid off. Problem is, I don’t know how to start my own bank. Is it even possible to do that? Where do banks come from? They seem to be everywhere, but I don’t know how they start. Do you? Could I start my own? I don’t have much money, but Obama probably would give me some since everybody else got some. It’s either own my own bank or become an Avon lady if I don’t want to be laid off again. — Jobless Again, via email
Think big, that’s the way, Jobless. No sense peddling blusher and lip goo when you can go straight to the source of all moolah. On the one hand, getting started on your First People’s Bank of the People is easier than you might think. On the other hand, when you get down to hanging out your First People’s Bank shingle, things stink, as usual. All roads lead back to Rome, and Rome was a pretty depressing place.
First step toward your career is to mosey down to your local federal government HQ with all the bad parking, head inside, grab a new-bank ap, and let ’er rip. Fill it out, send it in, and you’re in the queue. There is an ap, available to anyone, to start your own bank. And thus ends the good news.
So, while you’re filling out your address, cell number, that stuff, consider this question: $500 is how much you spent on (a) your shoes or (b) your car. There’s nothing in the law that says you need $500 shoes to start a bank, but it wouldn’t hurt if you hung out with that crowd — folks who own their own tuxedos and probably don’t know how much a loaf of bread costs but do know the day rate for a chauffeur. After that, the paperwork isn’t so bad.
To obtain a charter for a new bank in Cali, all you have to do is submit an application package to the Department of Financial Institutions, wait for their okay, then start selling stock in the People’s Bank of the People. Unfortunately, that application package has to convince the banking commission that (a) you and your fellow board members have the business and banking savvy to make the business plan work; (b) your new bank will serve some unmet need in the financial marketplace; and (c) you have the ability to raise anywhere from 5 or 6 to maybe $10 million to capitalize the Bank of the People.
So, were you planning to put your brother-in-law on your board, just as soon as he gets out of prison? Is your major financial education three years as a Vons checker? Does your business plan involve competing head-to-head with Wells Fargo? When you open your wallet, do moths fly out, just like in the cartoons? Sorry. I really don’t mean to stifle a man’s ambition. If you look at the law, it’s really not so hard to submit an ap, and it only takes a few months to get a thumbs up. But you’d better have your financial ducks in a row, and they’d better be wealthy and influential ducks.
Hello, Matthew: I’ve always wondered about license plates with those little symbols on them. The stars and hands and hearts and stuff. Say somebody with a heart symbol on his plate is going 60 in a 30-mile zone. How do the cops call in that plate number to get information on the registered owner. Like, “1–8–5 little heart thingy…”? — UR Fan, via email
ThanQ, UR. But I always hate questions that make me call up some official place and have them sigh with complete exasperation then answer in words of one and two syllables, since anybody who would ask a question like that must be a simpleton. So, that’s me. Idiot of the day down at the squad room. “Little heart thingy! Haw-haw-haw!”
So, we forget the humiliation. On to the facts. The custom-plate thingies (which donate money to various state charitable funds) are not at all part of a car’s official plate. For legal purposes, pretend they’re not there. So, if you go down to the DMV hankering for a personalized plate BITE (star) ME, and somebody else is already motoring around town with BITEME on his plates, you lose.