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Reassuring Bank Ads Cold Comfort for Consumers


Spin doctors try, fail to cure abject terror.

Fear. Anxiety. Uncertainty. It almost seems like people are talking about nothing else but how unbelievably, incredibly, outrageously screwed they are financially.

"We're not just competing for people's entertainment dollars anymore," Brett Yormark, CEO of the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets told the Wall Street Journal. "We're going up against milk and orange juice."

Emotions, easily aroused, are extremely difficult to tamp down without the aid of extensive psychotherapy- which is also going up against milk and orange juice these days.

What to do?

In a newspaper ad, Commerce Bank (AMTD) helpfully informs you that "There is a safe and smart place to put your money." (Guess where.)

AXA Equitable (AXA) says, "In these chaotic times, there is a financial services company dedicated to redefining commitment." Bank of America (BAC) says they're offering "A new opportunity to bank with confidence, security and a higher interest rate."

Should the general public really be turning to advertising for advice?

Over the last 10 days of Washington Mutual's existence, frightened customers withdrew $17 billion from the failing bank, which federal regulators then took over and sold to JPMorgan Chase (JPM) for $1.9 billion.

A sigh of relief for WaMu. For WaMu employees? Not so much.

Charles Scharf, head of JPMorgan Chase's Retail Financial Services group said employees will be divided into 3 categories: Those who will be let go immediately, those who will be asked to stay on through the transition period before being let go, and those who will keep their jobs. The transition will take place over the course of 90 days.

So you either get sacked immediately, you get canned after helping the company stabilize itself, or you remain employed after 3 months of feverish nail-biting.
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