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(1,214 posts)
9. Once upon a time...
Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:07 AM
Jul 2012

You knew your banker. In person. When you needed a loan you put on a nice suit and went to see your banker! Imagine that. He or she decided risk level by speaking with you, reviewing your personal history with the bank, examining your financial situation (income and expenses), and maybe checking some local references.

I'm only 41 and I even knew my bank's loan officer when I was a young adult in the mid-1990s. Of course by that time they were using credit scores. But now the only financial people I know personally are the ones who work at my credit union. All the other financial entities I have to do business with exist only as webpages, telephone numbers, and monthly pieces of mail (yes, I prefer to get the paper statement).

In 1978, the classic American TV show The Rockford Files starring Jim Garner, ran an episode entitled "The House on Willis Avenue." It was a bit over the top, but the plot revolved around the growing trend of computer data files being used against people. In 1978! At the end of the episode there was a short PSA telling people that there really are companies gathering data on computers and that the average citizen had no rights to know the contents of these secret files. It's worth seeing if you can find it.

It's nice that somebody in the Federal government will have some regulatory authority over these guys now. (Full disclosure: I *used* to work for one of the big three credit bureaus. I'm still trying to wash off the smell).

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