Why Can’t I Start Up My Own Bank?
The Pennsylvania Department of Banking isn’t especially happy about Ethan Clay’s latest idea and has asked him to shut down the community bank he’s set up at “Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee Shop” in Pittsburgh. Aggravated by his own unpleasant bank experiences, Clay decided to create a simplified community bank offering savings accounts, check-cashing and loans. He calls the venture Whalebone Cafe Bank and claims he’s not subject to the usual banking rules because his “bank” is actually a gift card program that pays out its 5.5 percent monthly interest in a made-up currency that can be used at his store. None of that is going over too well with state regulators and banking department spokesman Ed Novak says if Clay doesn’t close down, “he will be hearing from the district attorney.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)