Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bank slogans as signals to depositors

The traditional bank lobby, filled with expensive marble and and furnishings, is designed to signal to the customer that the bank is stable and isn't going anywhere.

Some recent failed banks have used advertising slogans also designed to inspire confidence, such as IndyMac's "you can count on us."

Others, however, should perhaps have been recognized as clues of impending problems:

Dexia: "The short term has no future."
Fortis: "Here today, where tomorrow?"
Countrywide: "[A] lender that actually finds ways to make loans."
Fannie Mae: "As the American dream grows, so do we."
Washington Mutual: "Whoo hoo!"

(Via The Economist, October 2, 2008.)

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