(A public service from your American Banker.)


Activist: n. Individual who publicly questions the American banker's best intentions while maintaining that a sound banking sys­tem serves the common good.


Balance: n. What you still have to spend. (See Notional)


Cause Marketing: n. Corporate self-promotion in tandem with socially meaningful causes, e.g., World Cup USA '94 or the Statue of Liberty Centennial, in order to enhance consumer relations. Studies suggest that this tactic is most influential with the most influential and/or educated. (See Activist)


CRA: n. Community Reinvestment Act, a burden imposed on the compliant American banker by Washington policymakers so that the latter can appear outraged by the former's inability to serve neighborhoods that either will only be caught dead in.


Derivatives: n. (See Notional) (1) Volatile investments shrouded with such titles as swaps, options, and futures, by means of which the American banker exotically wagers federally insured deposits in order to eliminate (the American banker's) risk. (2) Integral components of this decade's pyramid scheme.


EBT: n. Electronic Benefits Transfer, a pro­cess through which social service recipients and taxpayers reward the American banker and those leading the  current revolution in government for,  among other things, making economic relations appear less insensitive to human suffering.


Efficiency Ratio: n.  (From the Latin, efficere,  to produce; ratio,  reason)  (1) Relation between the costs of running a bank (i.e. the branch, the technological framework, the human resources) and gross revenue; profitability.  (2) Relation between the unessential and the e$$ential.


Equity: n.  What's left over when the American banker is done and gone.


Fed: n.  (See Underserved)  (1) Over served.  (2) Regulatory agency peopled by wealthy Americans (usually former American bankers) who are well-paid to keep the overt activities of (current) American bankers within the boundaries of the law. (3) American banker and his/her friends and family.


Market Driven: adj.  Having or motivated by a compulsive need to promote unneeded products/services until they become necessities.


Mystery Shoppers: n. Bogus consumers who clandestinely investigate the Amer­ican banker's hirelings for discriminatory and/or dishonest practices. The Ameri­can banker deems such investigations unethical, if not illegal. (See Self Regulation)


Notional: adj.  Unreal;  existing in the mind only;  phantasmagoric, as in notional value.


Observer: n.  Usually unnamed but reliable source who soberly rationalizes the exploits of the American banker; a nonactivist.


POS: n.  Point Of Sale, where the consumer pays up with a debit card so that funds can be repossessed by the American banker in real time. (N.b. In mathematics, location is a point's sole property; in eco­nomics, property is a location's sole point.)


Psychographic Profiles: n. Scientific classification and use of human conscious-ness before the subject humans can classify or use it themselves. These profiles are developed and analyzed to provide service.


Rightsizing: n.  (1) Liberating fellow human beings from the senseless drudgery of wage slavery.  (2) Cutting fat. (3) Helping the redundant recognize that they need a new start in life. (See Efficiency Ratio)


Risk Management: n.  (1) Implementing and monitoring incomprehensibly complex money-making schemes in order to store up for the collapse that these same schemes will induce.  (2) Calculating the quantity of life.


Self Regulation: n. (1) Absence of conflict despite the inconsistency between one's stated beliefs and one's actions. (2) Free marketeering.


Service: n. Doing unto others for a rightful fee.


Thrift: n. Unfailing, scandal-free euphemism for the tainted moniker Savings & Loan.


Unbanked: n. Illiquid individuals (estimated at 31 million strong in the US) who never have enough to warrant the American banker's services. The bulk of these types now pay exhorbitant fees for service at check cashing houses.  In the cashless utopia they'll be served with EBTs through the American banker, after paying more reasonable and more frequent fees,  and will never legally spend a penny that the American banker cannot trace.


Underserved: n. (1) Huddled masses.  (2) One with so little money that even the American banker can't serve it. (3) Parolee.  (4) Undeserving.