Media Circus: Bank on Us

In the brave new world of global banking, service charges are just the beginning.

Published January 16, 1997 8:00PM (EST)

Dear Valued Customer:
You may have already heard about First National's recent acquisition of Bank of the West and our proposed merger with First Interstate and World Savings to form a new entity, Monolithic Bank, N.A. As a valued customer of the new Monolithic Bank, you may be wondering how this change will affect you.

Let me take this opportunity to assure you that this merger was undertaken solely with you, our valued customer, in mind. As one of the largest financial institutions in the world, Monolithic Bank is now in a position to serve you better than ever. Here's how:

Absolutely Positively Totally Free Checking

Enjoy the convenience of Absolutely Positively Totally Free Checking, a Monolithic Bank exclusive. Just keep a minimum of $10,000 in a savings, money market and time deposit account (Or $30,000 in any one of them), and your first three checks each month are absolutely, positively, totally free!

Choose from a wide range of designer check colors, including White, Cream, Albino, Lily-of-the-Valley, Vanilla and Ivory. And each check is distinctively personalized with your signature at the bottom.

You can also avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment of bounced checks by signing up for Automatic Overdraft Protection. Qualified customers who keep $5,000 in an easy-to-open Overdraft Protection Account are completely covered against bounced checks -- up to $5,000! Automatically. We'll even waive the annual membership fee if you sign up now.

Best of all, your Absolutely Positively Totally Free Checking account comes with unlimited check writing privileges. No one will ever come to your door and tell you to stop writing checks. You're free to write as many checks as you want, until the accumulated service charges exceed your balance. That's a Monolithic Bank promise.

Hard-Working Savings

Your money should work as hard as you do. At Monolithic Bank, it works even harder. Simply open a Money-Maker Savings Account and your money goes to work for you 365 days a year -- no vacations, no sick days and no maternity leave. Make additional deposits and watch your account balance go up, up, up. The sky's the limit.

We've also got savings plans designed for special needs, like our Christmas Club account. Just transfer funds from your Money-Maker Savings into a Christmas Club account and your money will still be there when the holidays roll around -- guaranteed!

Convenient Locations

Say good-bye to frustrating drives around town looking for a bank branch. Our new Branch Consolidation Plan makes banking easier by significantly reducing the number of bank outlets, making the remaining branches much easier to locate. You'll soon settle on one location as your "home" branch and feel better about it.

And in case you're wondering, most branch closings will be in "bad" neighborhoods, places where you and your loved ones probably wouldn't want to be walking in the first place. We're glad to be doing our part to make banking safe -- and fun -- once again. Welcome Home!

Zero Human Error

You have better things to do than worry about whether the bank has made an error. Our rapidly expanding ATM network is bringing us closer to our goal of Zero Human Error -- another Monolithic Bank exclusive. Each teller we replace with an ATM reduces the number of human mistakes, making your banking experience more efficient and pleasurable.

But don't worry -- we haven't forgotten the value of friendly service. Our ATM's always greet you with a neighborly "Welcome" screen, never tire of asking whether you'd like another transaction and thoughtfully "beep" when you leave your card in the machine. We guarantee a warm "Thank You" and "Have a Nice Day" printed right on every receipt.

Most importantly, our ATM network is designed with your safety in mind. Each machine comes equipped with a state-of-the-art parabolic mirror -- simply look straight into the mirror and you'll actually be able to see "behind" you. In the unlikely event of a mishap, our new Crime-Stoppers Hotline makes filling out a robbery report a snap. Just call during regular business hours and follow the easy instructions (touch tone phones only). And don't worry about paying for the call -- you'll be billed automatically.

Sound Investment Advice

Whether you're looking for long-term financial gain or short-term windfall profits, Monolithic has a flexible investment plan to suit your needs. While every investment involves some risk, the real danger these days is being left behind in the greatest bull market ever. Our investment specialists target companies that are aggressively downsizing or shedding unnecessary salary and pension costs, assuring you of a maximized rate of return. At Monolithic, our money managers never forget the time-honored investment maxim: Main Street's pain is Wall Street's gain.

We don't stop at the border, either. Our financial specialists search the globe for investment opportunities that will work harder for you. Ask about our Third World Growth and Income Fund, which seeks emerging companies in China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Albania and Mexico that have dramatically lowered labor costs. You'll soon become a "slave" to high earnings.

Of course, money doesn't grow on trees. But if it did, there'd be a tree growing beside every Monolithic Bank investment specialist!

No Hassle Loans

You've told us that banks should make it easy to borrow money, and we've listened. All we need to process your No Hassle Loan is your application, a credit report, an appraisal, a current pay stub and your tax returns for the last five years. That's it! No last-minute holdups for "additional" paperwork.

Our No Hassle Loan Officers will customize a car or home equity loan tailored to your financial requirements, without bothering you with confusing details about "rates," "points" and "collateral." They'll even advise you on public transit options if your car unexpectedly changes hands or help you look for an apartment if you suddenly lose your house.

Our mortgage lenders understand that a house is not merely a house -- it's a home. That's why we've developed the Home Sweet Home Mortgage Kit to help you secure the home of your dreams. Be sure to consult the handy Home Buyers Map for your region -- applicants within the designated red-lined area may qualify for special treatment.

Commitment to Diversity

At Monolithic, we're committed to diversity. We will not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, familial status, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. Everyone is welcome to deposit his money here.

We're working hard to make our workplace more diverse, too. In many areas, it's not unusual to see women and people of color working at our branch offices, or employed by companies that clean and provide security to those branches. Who knows -- someday one of those hard workers may become a branch manager. At Monolithic, anything's possible.

Peace of Mind

Most importantly, your money is safe at Monolithic Bank. It's federally insured by the FDIC for qualified customers. It's also backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government -- your money is legal tender for all debts public and private.

And thanks to our recent mergers, Monolithic Bank is now officially Too Big To Fail. The feds couldn't shut us down if they tried. Not even if all our investments suddenly went belly up and the Board of Directors fled to the Cayman Islands. Not that it's going to happen.

You'll sleep better knowing your money's safe at Monolithic. So go ahead -- sleep.

We'll handle the rest.

EXTRA! Mark Fuhrman speaks!

Mark Fuhrman has learned a new word, one that starts with "f" this time. In the February Vanity Fair, the former LAPD detective (now living more or less out of the limelight in Idaho) talks to writer H. G. Bissinger about his experience with the O.J. trial and his philosophy of life. "There's an old saying, 'You say fuck me, I say fuck you,'" Fuhrman explains. "Fuck you people. Now stand the fuck by ... who in the fuck are these people to pass judgment on me?" Fuhrman also talks a little bit about his theory of book royalties. "Did anybody ever, like, clue in and figure out that they wouldn't have had a lot of their evidence had it not been for Mark Fuhrman?" he complained. "I kind of figure Marcia and Chris owe me 10 percent of whatever they make on their books." His agent tells Vanity Fair that Fuhrman himself got a "nice six figure" advance for his own book, "Murder in Brentwood," which will be coming out in February. Presumably he's sent along 10 percent of his advance to O.J. for making all this possible in the first place.

By Tom Mcnichol

Tom McNichol is a San Francisco writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, and on public radio's "Marketplace" and "All Things Considered." He is a contributing editor for Wired magazine.

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