The Evolution of the Big Banks

Scroll down and look at the chart below.  (If you click on it, it will become large enough to read.)  See First Union down there second from the bottom?  If this chart went back another 40 years, you would see that First Union evolved from a local savings bank — just one free-standing bank with no branches — where my parents opened a passbook savings account for me when I was 6.  I held onto that account for close to 50 years, with just enough money in it to keep it open, faithfully bringing in my passbook every three months to update the almost non-existent interest, with the account number getting longer and longer as each subsequent corporate owner of it tacked on more digits.  Ultimately, I was forced by Wachovia to give it up when they discontinued the “product”.  Funny, I had never before that thought of the passbook savings account opened for me by my parents as a product.  To me, it seemed more like a gift.

By the time I was forced to close my childhood savings account, the bank had tellers younger than my passbook, and they were incredulous that I was saddened by the closure of an account that earned me a penny a month in interest.  Just pining for a lost era, I guess.



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