Monday, June 16, 2008

FDIC advertising not exactly reassuring

In the midst of this uncertain economic season of stock market declines, financial institution crises, and serious consumer stress, what do we get on page A5 of today's New York Times? There's a full page advertisement for the FDIC trumpeting the fact that our bank deposits have been protected for up to $100,000 for the last 75 years.

Why is this advertisement necessary one might ask. The 4"by10" color reproduction of a $100,000 gold certificate is eye catching and attractive enough to suggest that Madison Avenue has been enlisted for this promotional effort. Are we there yet. Is the OCC about to do one of its after the horse is out of the barn raids on financial institutions in order to self righteously flex its muscle and further stall out the credit process.

Often it seems that when someone advises "don't worry", it's time to get ready for the worst. When a country announces that their currency is strong and they will support it, traders always go short. Today when a financial institution proclaims "our writedowns are now done" the skepticism increases. The act of reassuring simply suggests that there is a need to reassure, and why is that reassuring, especially related to something so basic as low yielding boring bank deposits.

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