Thursday, February 26, 2009

TARP II funds restricting use of banks' restroom facilities

By Darnell Washington, Newsophile Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Apparently hidden deep in the rhetoric of the guidelines for the release of "TARP II" financing to prop up insolvent banks is a new restriction on the use of restroom facilities serving those institutions receiving federal funds.

These new regulations, which include specific guidelines on when bank employees can wash their hands or flush a toilet, have resulted in outrage throughout the banking community.

"Oh, c'mon, what is this, the 1970s?" asked Bank of America Chairman, CEO and President Kenneth D. Lewis. "'If it's yellow let it mellow' and 'If it's brown, flush it down -- but only after supervisory approval?' Is the Obama Administration even serious about this financial crisis, or is this some type of game to them?"

According to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, not only is TARP II intended to "return financial institutions to fiscal responsibility, but also increase an awareness of natural resources such as water." Geithner says that in order to build support for these new regulations, the Obama Administration has announced a national Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new line of bumper stickers, pens and t-shirts promoting "the efficient use of all wash basins, toilets, urinals and bidets." Geithner hopes that the popular "Mr. Hankey" character from the Comedy Central show "South Park" will enter be part of the promotion, adding "Everyone just loves that guy!"

For Marci Templeton, a personal banker at at Wells Fargo branch in Mesa, Arizona, the new restroom restrictions could not have come at a worse time. "I shake hands with clients all day, and now I can't even wash my hands? What if I'm not paying attention and there's an 'accident'? I just think that my clients would know something was up."

However, Wells Fargo has a solution that Joshua Fildenstein, Senior Vice President for Human Resources, says will suffice nicely. "It's called 'Purell.' And I never leave home without it."