I'm Chevy Chase and You're Not: A Local Bank Is Bought
So, bye-bye Chevy Chase Bank, FSB. I try not to get too emotionally attached to large financial institutions (after all, I don't think they really care that much about me) but it's always sad when a local business vanishes from the landscape, especially when that business namechecks a specific neighborhood.
Of course, maybe Capital One--which is buying Chevy Chase Bank--is named after the Nation's Capital, ie, Washington. And I suppose it's a local company too, headquartered in McLean. But the name probably means "capital" as in "wealth, whether in money or property, owned or employed in business." If that's the case, maybe their name should be Capital Zero or Capital Minus One, given the sorry state of the financial markets.
I know only two things about Capitol One: They have funny TV commercials that I don't really understand. Why are Vikings trashing peoples' homes? What's that got to do with credit cards, exactly? Oh, other credit card companies act like savages? Everyone knows, though, that all credit card companies turn on you eventually, the attractive interest rate soon ballooning, the odd fees showing up on your statement.
My other scrap of opinion about Capital One is annoyance at how brightly lit their headquarters building is at night. It's right near the Beltway and you can see it glowing like a chemical fire. Hope you're using energy-saving lightbulbs, guys!
So, no more Chevy Chase Bank. Apparently they'll change the names of all the branches and send us new ATM cards. Somewhere at the back of some shoebox in the Kelly archives is an ATM card from my first bank, the one I opened an account with when I started college and was working part-time at a photo lab. Once a week I'd stop at the Suburban Trust on Route 29 in White Oak and deposit my paltry paycheck. I left Suburban before it left me, so perhaps the demise of Chevy Chase is payback. Suburban is now part of Bank of America.
That's what happens in consolidating times: Big fish eat little fish and then are eaten by still bigger fish. A neighborhood bank becomes a regional bank. A regional bank becomes a national bank. Bank of America is folded into Bank of the Western Hemisphere, which is bought by Bank of Planet Earth, which is bought by Milky Way Bank.
And I bet the Milky Way Bank still charges me $1.50 when I use an ATM belonging to the Bank of the Andromeda Galaxy.
December 4, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
| Tags: Chevy Chase Bank, local businesses
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