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Banks have been a huge part of the history of America, but sometimes they do unintelligent, odd, or downright hysterical things. Here are the best of the times that banks made weird decisions.
1. The first bank in the U.S. was the First Bank of the United States (an understandable naming choice), created by Alexander Hamilton. To get its start, it sold $10 million of stock, 2 million of which was supposed to be bought by the U.S. Unfortunately, the new government didn’t actually have that money, so instead the bank loaned the government the money, and the government paid it back over ten years.
2. One of the banks that Bank of America merged with was the Bank of Italy. But the person who took over operations was actually the head of Bank of Italy. In some ways, Bank of America was what merged into Bank of Italy.
3. Despite some of their bad choices, banks are actually pretty great to their employees. They’re the safest jobs around and have the lowest fatality rate of any career choice in the world. Unfortunately, that also means they have the fewest sick days, since so few people get ill.
4. In 2010, Bank of America wrongfully foreclosed on a couple. The couple sued and won legal expenses, but the bank didn’t pay. In a “turnabout is fair play” move, the couple came to the bank with a moving company and a write to start seizing assets.
5. Until 1874, banks often refused to give credit cards to women unless they were married. Divorced women were considered a huge risk and almost never issued cards.
6. One bank in Washington refused to stamp a patron’s parking bill because he was wearing shabby clothes. The man happened to have over a million dollars in their bank, and he took all of it out of the account after the incident.
7. One of the tricky ways that banks make life harder for customers is in how they subtract debits from customer accounts. At the end of each day, the bank will subtract in order of largest to smallest dollar amount instead of chronological order so that they can increase the number of overdraft fees.
8. Some Italian banks will accept Parmesan cheese as collateral for loans. They have their own special vaults to keep cheese wheels until they’re mature.
9. The vaults in the Bank of England take a key that is three feet long.