Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Bail-in Dress Rehearsal


A 500 word short story by Scott A. Gese

It was Friday. Tom Stanford stood at the ATM machine outside his bank. It wasn't working. The screen was flashing an out of service message. He decided to go inside for his money, but was surprised when the door unexpectedly didn't open. He looked at his watch. “It's only 2 o'clock,” he thought. “What gives.”

The bank's security guard stood on the other side of the door. “Are you closed?” Asked Tom.

The guard replied without opening the door. “Yes, we're closed,” was all he said.

Why?”

The guard pointed to his phone. “Check the bank's website. It'll explain.”

Tom had a bad feeling about this. “Was his bank in trouble and this was part of the dreaded “Bail-in” process?” Tom went back to his car and pulled out his phone. “They better not be taking my money,” he thought as he looked up the banks site.

There was a notice on their home page. Due to technical difficulties with our computer system, all branches, nation-wide, are closed for the day. We should have the situation resolved soon. If you wish to make a deposit, you may do so at any branch. Unfortunately, withdraws are not possible at this time. Have a nice weekend.

Have a nice weekend??? You've got to be kidding me. They have my money and I can't get at it.” Tom was fuming.

Another customer walked up to the door. By now, the guard had taped a notice to the glass. The customer began to bang on the door, screaming. “You have my money and I want it.”

Soon, several others had read the notice. Most were in a panic. Except for one older man.

You don't seem too excited about the bank being closed,” commented Tom.

Why should I be?” He replied. “The notice says they'll be open again on Monday. I don't have any reason to believe otherwise. Besides, It's not our money locked up in there, it's theirs.”

What do you mean it's theirs? I made the deposit with my money. They're holding it for me in my account, right?”

Wrong,” replied the gentleman. “What you did was loan your money to the bank for them to use as they see fit. They keep track of how much you've loaned them and give you a pittance of interest in return. The interest proves that you loaned them your money. You can ask for your money back, but it's to their discretion as to whether you get it or not. You should have read the fine print when you opened your account. Your signature told them you were willing to play their game.”

A woman overhearing the conversation chimed in. “I think this is a test to see how we'll react to a real bank shutdown. Their conditioning us for the real thing.”

Tom didn't like what he was hearing. On Monday morning he closed his account. From now on, he would be his own banker.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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