September 15, 2009

Safe Money

These days, the Bank of America in Hanover is doing a brisk business setting up checking and savings accounts for many of the incoming freshmen, myself included. Of course, we don't really know that much about the bank itself or even its economic stability, just that it seems to be the recommendation of a few upperclassmen to set up an account there, and it doesn't seem to be closing its doors due to bankruptcy (always a good sign, especially in this economy).

However, it doesn't hurt to keep an eye on the news, and Bank of America hasn't been far from the headlines. The company recently attempted to reach a thirty-three-million-dollar deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had leveled a suit against it to question the nondisclosure of bonuses paid by Merrill (recently taken over by Bank of America) before the merger occurred.

The judge who heard this case decided that the settlement was corrupt, and that Bank of America and SEC were only satisfying appearances of doing their jobs by settling. And so he has decreed that the court case will move forward... the investigation into those bonuses paid by Merrill will continue.

The question at the bottom of it all seems to be this: Did Bank of America lie to its shareholders about the bonuses? Did it violate the bond of trust that had been forged with those shareholders? Did the company break the law?

I don't know the accurate answers to these questions, yet, but I sure am looking forward to that court case to see just what will happen. One thing is for sure- I'll be watching my new bank closely. What with the economic downfall, etcetera, I don't need my bank lying about where the money's going.

So, this is just a heads-up. The bottom line is this: Think about which companies you place your trust in. Don't run away from a company because of the existence of a court case, necessarily, but don't automatically hand over your money to a company you know nothing about.

In short, know your facts, or at least some of them. Get to know the companies in which you invest and with which you do business. Ignorance may be bliss...

But being well-informed is the key to keeping your money safe.

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