March 14, 2009
Boring Can Be Good

Thursday afternoon, while driving back from Mt. Rainier, I saw a billboard advertising Valley Bank of Puyallup.  There was enough traffic so that it would have been imprudent to read the entire billboard, but I did read two of the messages.  Valley Bank is not taking federal bailout money and the bank is proud to be boring.

I don't know much about the bank, but I have to say that I admire the spirit in those two messages.   I like companies that don't take bailouts from the taxpayers, and I have always thought that good banks are generally more than a little boring.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(I haven't bothered to look up more recent results, but Valley Bank appears to have been doing well, as of last year.)

Posted by Jim Miller at March 14, 2009 03:54 PM | Email This
1. No Facts - it's liberals like you claiming that capitalism failed. Obviously by your own example there it hasn't.

Posted by: Crusader on March 14, 2009 05:27 PM
2. This is a good post. I've heard that many small community banks have largely kept their noses clean and didn't fall into the ridiculous behavior of places like WAMU, etc. with subprimes et al. So I've been wondering who are the good-behaving local banks who have been steady, but good plodders just conducting themselves in a responsible manner. In this case, boring is good; very good. Would like to know about more 'boring' banks that are closer to the eastside.

Posted by: Michele on March 14, 2009 05:49 PM
3. If we let the big banks fail, these small, well-managed banks would soon replace them. By keeping the bad banks alive, we are keeping these small, well-managed banks on the sidelines.

I hope I never see another bailout in my lifetime.

Posted by: Jonathan Gardner on March 14, 2009 06:05 PM
4. I thought that the banks offering the subprime loans were being heroes for letting lower income folks (and therefore often minorities) get into houses. The old theory was that poor people would make their house payments, and it was just a racist/classist banking system that was preventing them from achieving the American Dream. Turns out the bankers knew what they were doing when they were granting loans in the past.

One suspects that Valley Bank's loan policies would have come in for criticism by social do gooders, had they been closely examined a year ago. My how times have changed.

Posted by: Hairy Buddah on March 14, 2009 06:44 PM
5. I have been banking with U.S. Bank for 2 years and they inexplicably just offered me a very nice credit card at a low rate and a high limit. Since I am already up to my eyeballs in debt I was able to move some debt from a +20% credit card to 3.99% for 60 months. Thank you U.S. Bank for taking a chance with me, but you may want to be careful. Many people with my amount of debt would claim bankruptcy before ever paying back (mostly liberals). I am and will pay you back, it is my promise. (I'll certainly pay you before I pay Citi!)

Posted by: Easycure on March 14, 2009 06:58 PM
6. Hey Easycure, good for you for wanting to pay off your debts. Check out Dave Ramsey's radio show (AM630 weekdays 3-7) for a great, systematic way to pay off debt and lots of encouragement. I get nothing for this recommend, of course; Dave is simply dispensing common sense that seems to have been chucked a long time ago in this country. Good luck! you can do it. I am accelerating my mortgage payoff with extra principle pymts after hearing Dave.

Posted by: Michele on March 14, 2009 07:12 PM
7. Facts: From Box Business News:

"Second chances aren't producing first-class results.

According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 36% of mortgage holders who had received a re-worked mortgage from their bank were late on payments three months after they got the new loan terms.

Worse, 58% of mortgage holders were more than 30 days late six months after their loan modifications."

It would seem that your 75% figure was pulled out of your hat. Otherwise, these 75% of the folks who were qualified but just got screwed would not have trouble making their mortgage payments now.

Posted by: katomar on March 14, 2009 08:08 PM
8. Note: the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which coerces banks to lend good money to bad risks, is aimed specifically at large banks, particularly at those who were engaging in mergers and acquisitions. That cynical ploy to buy inner city votes for the Democrats at the expense of the large banks' private depositors (sweet trick, hey?) was kicked into high gear by the Clinton administration in 1995, and is still on the books.

So it's pretty likely that US Bank, and other small banks which weren't faced with gummint coercion, were not forced to make those hideously risky loans, which ultimately metastasized out of inner cities into the larger real estate market to cause the bubble. The small banks' lending probity (common sense items like checking borrowers credit ratings and ability to pay, a no-no for the biggies) is sufficient explanation for their survival and current profits.

And one might guess why the Obama admin called the 'stimulus' bill a 'Reinvestment' Act. The earlier one not only enabled Fannie and Freddie to pay obscene salaries and benefits as sinecures to Democratic muckymucks like Jamie Gorelick, Franklin Raines, Rahm Emanuel et al - while F&F were hemorrhaging money - but also to pay giant campaign contributions to Barney Frank, Chris Dodds and one Barak Obama concurrently. Be very skeptical of the new 'Reinvestment' Act - it's probably designed to give Democrats a thousand times the rakeoffs which they glommed from the CRA.

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive on March 14, 2009 08:50 PM
9. @10: Blame poor people, yet AGAIN. You should rename yourself "Insufficiently Intelligent".

Seriously, that's quite the pointless advertising blurb they have there! I'm wondering if they also will refuse support from the FDIC to insure your investments.

Posted by: demo kid on March 14, 2009 09:02 PM
10. @9: What? That's not even relevant to the discussion. He mentioned that many people qualified for better loans that would have cost them less, and you're talking about defaults after adjustment. You're trying to use these defaults to prove... what exactly? That some people that want to try to hold on to their homes as opposed to handing the keys back to the bank?

Posted by: demo kid on March 14, 2009 09:09 PM
11. Blame all you want the reality is that your Obamassiah is a miserable failure, and that the VAST majority (83%) of the American people believe his steps on the economy will HURT, not help!

He's a failure, even if you don't want to admit it. The solution is simple - get the perpetual campaigner out of the way, get rid of Pelosi and Reid (just as complicit with this disasterous economic non-plan that triumvirate of Obama/Pelosi/Reid created), and let the adults solve the problems.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 14, 2009 10:23 PM
12. Loan is risky areas, not to risky people. Banks redlined entire areas. Fannie, and Freddie were not government owned. The salaries paid were the ones approved by their boards.

"Redlining" was a red herring used in the media campaign to vilify banks who checked borrowers creditworthiness. The CRA specifically established quotas for a total amount of bank depositors' money commanded to be lent in an area - and the quotas were set high enough that pretty well anyone who applied for a loan got one, without regard to creditworthiness. Originally those were inner city areas, but later by the principle of 'equality', if Joe Innercity got a loan regardless of risk, then Joe Anybody could obtain the same preposterous terms.

Somehow you 'forgot' that Fannie and Freddie were not purely private. They were GSEs, Government Sponsored Enterprises, and it was understood that when the inevitable non-performance of loans came to the surface, the private shareholders (having pocketed the profits created by spectacularly crooked bookkeeping) would be bailed out by us taxpayers. Recall that Franklin Raines was canned for that bookkeeping, though far too late in the game.

A sweet deal, if you were a shareholder or an officer (curious how so many were high Democratic Party fonctionnaires between gigs). Sucks to be a taxpayer, but the inner Democratic circle has about as much concern for taxpayers as a third-world dictator who loots the till - which is exactly what's being done by the present Administration.

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive on March 14, 2009 10:36 PM
13. #8 All Facts
Ya know, I don't usually respond to trolls like All Facts, and here's why. He made an assertion that "75% of the people that were sold crap loans qualified for "good" loans." As expected that turns out to be entirely false. According to the NAACP lawsuit, about as biased a source as could be imagined, "African Americans were 31% to 34% more likely to receive a higher-rate loan than whites." The article can be found here:,0,1759204.story

Hardly congruent with All Facts assertion. His numbers are off, and this only applies to a couple of banks. I shall continue my personal general policy of ignoring trolls like All Facts, and recommend other commenters do the same.

My original point, that subprime loans were essentially forced on the major lenders, stands I think. It created so many problems, the inflation of housing prices as unqualified borrowers entered the market as a prime example, that it is difficult to entirely blame the banks for this financial crisis. In large part this is a failure of regulation and political correctness.


Posted by: Hairy Buddah on March 14, 2009 11:19 PM
14. @14: If you're trying to prove a point, a nonsensical tirade on doesn't really do that much for rational people.

Besides, according to that guy's argument, Obama is doing better than Reagan, but Kennedy and Carter should be declared the best presidents ever. Are you ready to do that?

Heck, within the first 50 days Bush was in office, what big crises was he faced with? Figuring out whether the couch in the Oval Office should be green or blue?

@15: Insufficiently Intelligent, you really do like being spoonfed by your Republican masters, don't you? Explain to me how, in a period when CRA regulations were EASED and enforcement became LESS of a priority, it suddenly became more of a problem? Likewise, I'm fascinated with the idea that CRA-covered institutions were responsible for this entire mess, when loans underwritten at non-CRA banks were more likely to be the bad ones. Explain that to me.

Face what is responsible: lax regulation of subprime lenders and overleveraged financial institutions, bad monetarist policies, and a lack of political will or a sense of responsibility from the Bush Administration. Pointing at one law as the cause is not reasonable, nor is being a coward and blaming poor people for the mistakes of rich folks.

Posted by: demo kid on March 14, 2009 11:40 PM
15. @16: My original point, that subprime loans were essentially forced on the major lenders, stands I think. It created so many problems, the inflation of housing prices as unqualified borrowers entered the market as a prime example, that it is difficult to entirely blame the banks for this financial crisis.

Subprime loans were NOT forced on the major lenders. You haven't proven that at all.

Posted by: demo kid on March 14, 2009 11:45 PM
16. Slavery Party Failed Abortion,

The point is that NO ONE believes that the Obama administration has a clue about what it's doing for the economy. A bunch of stumbling, a bunch of wasted work. Nothing positive, and the Obamassiah's push to socialize the US comes at the expense of the common man - the average guy who's getting hammered by the economy.

Oh, and President Bush had the Clinton recession to deal with; of course, he solved it with positive talk about the US (not the doom-and-gloom that the Obamassiah offers), and with tax cuts that ACTUALLY STIMULATED THE ECONOMY.

Of course, I wouldn't expect such a rabid hyperpartisan Marxist as yourself to understand this...


Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 15, 2009 12:10 AM
17. @19: I find it funny that a fool like you sees fit to call me a "hyperpartisan Marxist". I'm actually quite centrist, even conservative on some issues.

Anyway, on to the drivel you just spewed out... I'm laughing to hear you call this "stumbling" when it seems like Republicans couldn't quite find their asses with both hands when Bush was in control, and can't quite find a reasonable message other than tax cuts on revenue and income that doesn't quite exist anymore.

Regarding "positive talk"... are you advocating that the Commander-In-Chief LIE to the American people? Tell them that everything will be okay if they just clap their hands and pretend like eight years full of irresponsible policies didn't exist?

And President Bush "fixed" the economy? Hardly. Monetary policy and risk valuation gone crazy "fixed" the economy, and led directly to the crisis we're in today. We essentially put the last several years of economic growth on our credit card, and now the bill is due. Of course, for fools like you, all that matters is preserving your patron saints, and damn the truth.

Posted by: demo kid on March 15, 2009 01:20 AM
18. Yes, you're quite hyperpartisan. Which Democrat would you kick out of Congress? What is the weakest policy of President Obama? Name a sitting Republican you'd whole-heartedly vote for again. You won't answer, because you're too partisan.

And you keep reverting to the hyper-partisan nature by BRINGING UP BUSH. Guess what - Republicans have NOT controlled the Congress for 2+ years now, and no longer even have the White House. You want to play the blame game because you KNOW your Obamassiah will FAIL (he's failing now). So it's always back to the past, rather than look at the future.

You want to know how to inspire while being realistic? Look at Reagan, and to a lesser extent, Clinton. Both talked of the problems and challenges facing the nation, but did it in a way that was positive and forward-thinking. Not dwelling on made-up inheritances and only the negative.

We've heard plenty from the Obamassiah and his minions about the problems we face; how about an idea of the SOLUTIONS that he's supposed to provide? Anything, anything at all?

But you'll ignore this, because you are hyper-partisan...

So much for HOPE AND CHANGE!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 15, 2009 01:51 AM
19. A few observations...

One problem we have right now is a lack of actual hard data. The arguments I have read regarding this topic amount to (pardon my vulgarity) a pi$$ing contest between ideologies. First, we need hard survey data on the homes being foreclosed and what circumstances led up to those. We then get had data data on loan packages based on credit rating to see what percentage were offered at terms less than what the borrow should have obtained. We then need to look at why those loans were packaged that way. Was it due to lenders being incented to make those loans? If so, what market or government forces drove those decisions. Was it due to borrows wanting to leverage their position to take advantage of low entry rates with the expectation that they could profit in the long run - in other words, consumer demand?

The stats from the NAACP do not help at all because they are based entirely by race and do not consider the credit worthiness of the individuals.

If anyone has a link to some of this hard data, it would really help this discussion.

Finally, I must say that I noted a slight shift in AFSMP's tone and hope it might lead to actual fact based discussions where (s)he begins to prove the facts rather than spout mere hyper-partisan rhetoric.

Posted by: eyago on March 15, 2009 07:32 AM
20. Face what is responsible: lax regulation of Fannie and Freddie, and the whole subprime mess. You 'forgot' again that the Bush administration made about 20 proposals since year 2000 to increase regulation on that insane risky-lending regime, having noted the warning about the coming crash by the New York Times from 1999. That must have been the Times's last honest reporter.

But we all haven't forgotten that it was Democrats guarding their hog-trough who succeeded in killing every proposal for that increased regulation. Hell, Barney Frank last year was warbling that Fannie and Freddie were were doing fine and in no jeopardy - just months before they came clean about their massive losses and screwed the taxpayers for a never-ending series of annual subsidies. About $45 billion for Fannie just last year, and no end in sight.

No sign of any increased regulation on sub-prime mortgages either. Some happy Democrats must still be enjoying the continuous hosing of the taxpayers, and passing the small change on to ACORN.

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive on March 15, 2009 07:34 AM
21. Hairy (#16)--in a recent article by Edward Cline (entitled On The Left-Wing Reaction to John Galt, Ayn Rand, and Tea Parties) he said:

"The thing to remember is that reason and reality is on our side. Most of our opponents and enemies know it. They are not the ones who need convincing or any kind of rational guidance. Beware especially of the ones who claim it is your duty to convince them. These creatures' minds are the truly truncated. Let reality be their ultimate persuader.

Focus on those who show genuine interest in answers, and never mind the fools."

I think this underscores the futility of attempting to argue with those that show no predisposition to be persuaded. Make your aguments for those that are interested in being persuaded and those that read the comments without actually commenting themselves.

The full article gives a good look at the current interest in Atlas Shrugged from those on both ends of the political spectrum.

Posted by: Bill H on March 15, 2009 10:22 AM
22. AFSMP,

Looks like I will have to take back my statement in 22 after reading your reply in 24. Not the part saying we need to get to the facts, but the part suggesting that maybe you were willing to "join the debate".

I guess I really should not be surprised by your answer, but it is pretty much unmitigated bull-pucky.

You have no interest in facts because you NEVER produce them. To say you can "google them" and then try to to say the "most" people cherry pick their statistics is a very thinly veiled dodge. You don't have facts and you don't care to find facts and you want but accuse ME and others who actually care about facts of "fear and hate mongering." Your rhetoric style might amuse and entertain like-minded neophytes, but they have little truck with people who actually understand thought, facts and, logic. You continually try to toss out your barbs and innuendo as if they actually were arguments.

Take your "10 seconds" and "google enough links" to "prove [your] every point." Put up or shut up.

Without your "facts" you are convincing me more and more that I am right and you are wrong because I must come to the conclusion that since you can't find a fact with a map, a compass, and a guide dog, then you must not have one.

Posted by: Eyago on March 15, 2009 10:59 AM
23. Bill, I agree there is a certain futility involved in arguing political points with the likes of "facts" or "demo kid".

My concern is that much of the American public has been brainwashed with leftist thought. I don't think brainwashed is too harsh of a word.

From the moment a child enters daycare they are bombarded with leftist ideology. Leftists particularly love it when children come from single parent families. All the more opportunity for the schools to sway the political outlook of a child. You can drive pretty much anywhere and observe how well this liberal destruction of our culture has worked out. Young liberal influenced people have spray painted vitually everything in sight. Liberals sneer at "family values" and the church. Drive around and look at the mess liberal kids make. And I'd bet every single one of those spray painting young criminals voted for Obama, or supported him if they were too young to vote.

Hollywood and the media complete the cycle of brainwashing. Hip and "edgy" stars are always left leaning. You can't name one that isn't.

These "brainwashed" people are going to be the hardest to reach. Republicans throw away conservative principles in an attempt to reach them. That doesn't exactly work.

Brainwashed leftist children have never thought for one second that it is evil capitalism that allows them to walk around all day text messaging.

I'm not sure how we convince them. Their minds have been closed.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on March 15, 2009 11:03 AM
24. I'm not sure how we convince them. Their minds have been closed.

Start where the going is easy. Under that lefty veneer, the youngsters hate political correctitude as much or more than we do. Some articulate ridicule of its indefensible excesses (they abound) will begin the corrosion of that leftist herd mentality right away.

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive on March 15, 2009 11:20 AM
25. @23: You 'forgot' again that the Bush administration made about 20 proposals since year 2000 to increase regulation on that insane risky-lending regime, having noted the warning about the coming crash by the New York Times from 1999. That must have been the Times's last honest reporter.

Sorry, but you're ignoring one very simple fact: the Bush Administration was in control of the executive. The tools existed in the executive to create regulations and crack down, and what did they do? They fell asleep at the watch. The Office of Thrift Supervision didn't do their job, and that office reports to the President, NOT to Congress.

I'm willing to entertain the notion that there were a lot of architects here, Democrat and Republican. But to lay the blame at poor folks in disadvantaged neighborhoods? Low and cowardly. Exactly what I've come to expect from low-life conservatives.

@27: Brainwashed leftist children have never thought for one second that it is evil capitalism that allows them to walk around all day text messaging. I'm not sure how we convince them. Their minds have been closed.

And your mind is "open"? Bull. You're nothing but a washed up old coot, imploding in on your own impotence, with no interest in anything except for yourself.

Get off my lawn!

Posted by: demo kid on March 15, 2009 11:25 AM
26. Therein lies a ray of hope, I.S. Just as we rebelled back in the '60's at the "establishment" perhaps young people today are beginning to get sick and tired of being hammered with leftist orthodoxy. I just wonder if young people have the ability to recognize political correctness and jack-boot leftism when they see it. I hope I underestimate them.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on March 15, 2009 11:31 AM
27. demo kid, I'll ignore the usual personal leftist insults. Par for the course from you people.

Just what does allow those kids to be able to walk around all day text messaging, and flow en-masse out of high-school parking lots every noon in cars their parents bought them? Government?

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on March 15, 2009 11:36 AM