Country Living

Can YOU Bank On It?

So I pushed open the glass doors to that dreaded institution, that institution you wish you could divorce after it done sweet talk yuh and told you all the things you needed an institution to tell you.

You did what every young flower in love does. You fell blindly in, dived into a pool of promises wid all yuh petals on. You believed every TV commercial, every glossy brochure, every full-page Gleaner ad. Its magnificent exterior had you locked into a state of perpetual awe for a time.

You remember those days when you used to smile at every commercial? You remember those days when you used to announce your relationship to the whole wide world? Now, you can’t even stand the sight of it. You feel like a lover scorned.

But you have cards for it. That’s the only reason you still visit and give it the time of day–for the cards’ sake. If it wasn’t for the cards, you’d be over, done, finito! You’d walk away and not look back.

Every month, it takes from you with never a question asked about how you’re doing, how you’re living, whether or not you’ve had a decent meal within the last 24 hours. That patty and box-juice money you were saving for a rainy day, it took it, and it repented not. Instead, it offered up soso pyaa-pyaa explanation as to why it needed that money more than you.

And to add insult to injury, it keeps you waiting. Every time you go to visit, it keeps you waiting. You protest, but it ignores you. Its zillion-dollar ad campaigns show smiley faces and empty floors. But now, you know, they’re just ads! That’s what ads do! It’s like that ad you saw for a Mr. Weenie-O’s frozen pizza. It looked so fat and cheesy and pepperoni-y. But then you bought it from the frozen-food section of your local supermarket, and it didn’t even have real cheese.

When you were young and du, let’s say, naive, you believed. You had faith in it. In your 30s, you would have a house (newly built, in a gated community), an SUV (latest model), tek plane like minibus, and shop a farrin till yuh fool.

Your great-gran, your neighbour, your one-time boss did warn yuh.

“Mattrass!” Great-Gran did seh. But yuh mattress did holey-holey.

“Partner plan!” your neighbour did seh. That’s how she came by the material to add bathroom, roof and likkle plumbing to her house.

“Money market. Stocks. Invest. Do something on the side,” said your topanaris one-time boss before him lock shop and migrate.

To this day, your passport has no stamp. You have no customs officer stories to tell. If only you could book a flight so it could delay. The only time you ever went airport was when Aunt Vy and Uncle Earl from England was heading back to farrin. Maybe Auntie Vy and Uncle Earl can sponsor a ticket.

To this day, you’re a walk-foot-and-kick-stone. Now and again, you beg a drive or squash up in a route taxi. You’ve got your eye on a brand-new, secondhand car at the car lot on the corner of your street.

Oh, how you had believed in the institution like you’d believed in Santa Claus.

Remember when your friends visited and you were curled up on yuh settee and bawling so hard over yuh steam fish and okra yuh couldn’t si dem? What did they say to you? What did they say? They said, “Stop yuh cow bawling! There are other fish in the sea.”

Well, your friends were right. With Jamaica’s vibrant financial sector, from investment firms to building societies to credit unions, how dare yuh stick to bad treatment. You have the power! You can pick, choose and refuse who you want to build a relationship with.

Beautiful folks, if there’s one salient piece of advice Angie can give you from her book of life experiences with financial institutions here in Jamdown, it’s, “Do your homework!” Do your research before choosing where to put your money. Ask questions, not just of the institution you’re considering, but also of anyone who is or was a customer. Check for ratings and reviews, newspaper articles, comments on social media. Make use of the WWW. Because while you’re putting aside one-one coco, you want to be sure that the institution you’re entrusting with those cocos is in alignment with your service expectations.

By the way, just in case it needs to be said, watching TV commercials doesn’t qualify as research. Rememba Weenie-O’s.

A second piece of advice: “Don’t put all your cocos in one basket.” We’ve seen institutions meltdown before, down here so and over North. Need I say more?

If after choosing, you realize that you and an institution are not a right fit (in other words, yuh nuh satisfy; yuh all write complaint pon top a complaint and still don’t satisfy), move on! Go where you feel appreciated and where di two a yuh see eye to eye.

Peace and love,


In case you didn’t know:

  1. Topanaris – it’s a term used to refer to the upper class, the hoity toity. There may be alternate spellings.
  2. Pyaa pyaa – generally means weak. Again, there may be alternate spellings.


Image Skyscraper by Jason Goh from Pixabay