Fannie Mae, Elly Mae, Freddie Mac & Jim-Bob

So, how about the financial sector melt-down in the Home of the Free? ‘tis kinda scary for we Canucks as well since America is one big elephant that rolls over on we little mice every now and then.

Our financial sector, while not completely immune from these troubles, has, in my humbleness, some advantages that their American cousins do not possess.

1) There are fewer of them, hence the Canadian banks are relatively more robust and secure in terms of cash reserves and can absorb troubles times more easily.

2) Sub-prime mortgages were not an issue on this side of the border. And further recent tightening of credit rules makes these schemes even less likely in the future.

3) Our banks don’t have silly names.

It’s this final point that is most critical and is, what I believe, the leading cause of the financial malaise south of the 40.

I mean, what inspires more confidence in the ability of a bank to safeguard your hard-earned funds?:

THE-CANADIAN-IMPERIAL-BANK-OF-COMMERCE

Fannie Mae

THE-ROYAL-BANK-OF-CANADA

Freddie Mac

The Canadian bank names inspire visions of large iron safes guarded by burly men with lots of guns.

The American names inspire visions of Granny and Jed talking about their cement pond.

Who in their right mind would name a bank something so ridiculous – or anything for that matter… even a hamster would cease running on its little wheel if named Fannie Mae.

We in Canada like to complain about the massive profits that our banks report every quarter. And rightfully so. I’m proud to say that I’m one of those complainers myself. However, large profits – however hard to swallow – are better for our economic well-being than bankruptcy protection.

Maybe one of our well-named pillars of industry could buy out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and then merge them under a new moniker:

Jethro’s Imperial Dominion Bank of Commerce

It just might work.

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