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November 12, 2009 5:38 PM   Subscribe

North Dakota might be the butt of many jokes. It also might have the solution to many of the financial and banking problems facing our largest states. The Bank of North Dakota is the only state owned and operated bank in the USA. Some see it as a model for the future of banking.
posted by Xurando (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
State banks were very common in our country's early history.

This is nothing new.
posted by kylej at 5:50 PM on November 12, 2009


There's a very simple way to make sure banks stay solvent: don't loan money to people who can't afford to pay it back.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:52 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


A model for future banking?

I SEE IT AS SOCIALISM! OHES NOES!
posted by tkchrist at 5:53 PM on November 12, 2009


There's a very simple way to make sure banks stay solvent: don't loan money to people who can't afford to pay it back.

That's a hilariously simplistic view of it. I mean, unless you think you can know with 100% accuracy what people's future financial situations will be.

(In which case you should probably get the hell off Metafilter and start making a cool couple dozen billion thanks to your superpower of being able to unfailingly anticipate the complex movements of the world's financial and real estate markets.)
posted by dersins at 6:02 PM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


Interesting to note that N.D. Senator Dorgan has become a champion of banking reform (and a prophet against deregulation, see my FPP just below this one); I have no idea what to make of that, but it at least seems possible that he can't be bought by the banking lobby the way other politicians have been.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:16 PM on November 12, 2009


dersins, you don't have to be psychic to verify income and assets. But, banks didn't bother doing that in the quest to make money by securitizing as many loans as possible.
posted by stavrogin at 6:20 PM on November 12, 2009


North Dakota has less than 700,000 people and the second lowest GDP in the US. How well could that model scale? I'm not asking rhetorically...just curious.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:32 PM on November 12, 2009


There's a very simple way to make sure banks stay solvent: don't loan money to people who can't afford to pay it back.

Yeah, that's great unless your job is to make money for the bank that employs you. Once you've loaned money to all the people with stellar credit, then what? Lower your standards a little, then a little more, repeat.
posted by fixedgear at 6:32 PM on November 12, 2009


I disagree. I think the 1800s are the model for the future of banking. If we can just get everyone to go back to farming and using railroads instead of cars, we'll be able to remove all the regulation and big government the current system needs.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:48 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a very simple way to make sure banks stay solvent: don't loan money to people who can't afford to pay it back.

I think you mean: don't loan money to people who will end up getting sick someday. Since that is the leading cause of defaulted loans.
posted by Jezztek at 7:06 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seeing as how their lax usury laws encouraged the credit companies to set up shop and start offering extortionist rates leading to our current global mess in the first place, I'd say they need to come up with a solution fast for the salvation of their souls!
posted by Pollomacho at 7:17 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that would be South Dakota. *facepalm*
posted by Pollomacho at 7:20 PM on November 12, 2009


Well, the government is too big to fail, right guys? Guys?
posted by codswallop at 7:28 PM on November 12, 2009


*lets assume the Dakotas weren't on a virtually treeless windswept prairie.

Hey, so why do all the trees in South Dakota lean north? Because North Dakota sucks. Oh!
posted by rainperimeter at 8:30 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Derail because I just found this link that proves a childhood memory today.

The first time I had something called "fondue" was Pitchfork steak fondue back in North Dakota. It was a giant cauldron of boiling oil on a cliffside, and they were cooking steaks in it. Steaks on pitchforks.

It was awesome.

Fast forward many years, I'm out in LA for college. Someone says "hey do you want to get fondue?", and of course I say "FUCK YES I WANT FONDUE". Since, well, steaks on pitchforks. What meat eating college student DOESN'T want that?

Then we get to a foofy restaurant and someone put a small container of hot cheese in front of me.

"Disappointment" cannot even begin to express my feelings at that time.
posted by flaterik at 8:40 PM on November 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


flaterik: The pitchfork steak fondue has gone downhill, unfortunately. The meat quality is nothing like it used to be. *sigh*

It may be worth mentioning that current ND governor John Hoeven was the president of the Bank of North Dakota prior to his election in 2000. He's now one of the three state officials that oversees the the BoND.
posted by amarie at 8:57 PM on November 12, 2009


I SEE IT AS SOCIALISM! OHES NOES!

Just what I'd expect from a state that named its capital after Hitler.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:30 PM on November 12, 2009


What's the capital of North Dakota? Bismarck, named after the German Chancellor who ruled with an iron fist.

You know who else ...
posted by zippy at 9:44 PM on November 12, 2009


shakes fist at Jimmy from the deck of the HMS Hood.
posted by zippy at 9:45 PM on November 12, 2009


amarie: The pitchfork steak fondue has gone downhill, unfortunately. The meat quality is nothing like it used to be. *sigh*

Dirty Little Secret: Several years ago, the Pitchfork Fondue switched from using local beef to using boxed, frozen cuts. It's really the ultimate insult to the town's history. Medora is named for the wife of the Maquis de Mores. The Maquis wanted to slaughter and pack beef at its source instead of shipping live cattle off to the slaughterhouses in Chicago. Ultimately the packing plant failed and the Maquis returned to the life of late 19th century minor French nobility.

The town straggled-on until they figured out that their bid on western history and proximity to a national park could be used to attract tourist dollars with promises of rugged Dakota cowboys, Teddy Roosevelt's wandering years, and that crazy Frenchman and his beautiful wife. The whole town is a facade of set piece storefronts lining pressure treated boardwalks where tourists are conned into believing that they are somehow having an authentic "western" experience. At night you can go watch the Medora Musical, a historically inaccurate patriotic glorification of the frontier years (with a Buffalo Bill Cody knockoff and mincing stereotyped Scottish intellectual as its hosts) and have a steak at the Pitchfork Fondue. Tourists eat shipped-in, frozen beef in the shadow of the Maquis' mansion, within eyesight of the ruins of his packing plant, and in the town named for his wife.

The entire experience is completely antithetical to the town's history and the rugged, Dakota cattle-culture it claims to represent.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:22 PM on November 12, 2009


godDAMMIT.

That's it, I'm buying a cauldron and a pitchfork and making my own pitchfork fondue*

*I am not doing this
posted by flaterik at 1:13 AM on November 13, 2009


Good lord, pitchfork fondue sounds amazing.

What would I need to do this other than meat, a pitchfork, and a cauldron?
posted by joedan at 4:17 AM on November 13, 2009


What's with the Jeff Foxworthy tag?
posted by ejaned8 at 5:48 AM on November 13, 2009


Many countries have state-controlled banking institutions, if not outright state-owned. Most also have firewalls between their main activities to keep a failure there from taking out everything over here. This is precisely the reason some nations did better than others over the last 3-5 years. You can do this without being a socialist (whatever that word means today) state.

This hard-on for privately owned everything sounds really neat, but I think we can say that the grand experiment of laissez-faire investment capitalism has not really given us the results we hoped for. Unless an ever-increasing concentration of wealth in one direction by corporations that feel free to use a corporate welfare strategy to keep their obviously bad investments afloat is what we really wanted. Well, I guess some of us want that.

But, you know what? That's ok. We shouldn't have to feel like we need to stick with some Big Idea over another, or immediately race for a perceived opposite alternative because we don't like sound of that other idea.

I think it is important to note that an economy is, first and foremost, a belief system. It is a bunch of ideas clustered around a theory that we all choose to support, not only with our labour and time, but with our belief. So, a nuanced approach to something like an economy is probably a good thing.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:52 AM on November 13, 2009


Well, you have the Free Lakota Bank which isn't in North Dakota (because Indian land is not in the US of A or some legal fiction like that), but sounds like it.

I disagree. I think the 1800s are the model for the future of banking. If we can just get everyone to go back to farming and using railroads instead of cars, we'll be able to remove all the regulation and big government the current system needs.

Only if we can have mobs with torches and pitchforks.

(And Oh look! As I read there *IS* a plan for pitchforks.)

What would I need to do this other than meat, a pitchfork, and a cauldron?

Respect for your cardiovascular system?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:11 AM on November 13, 2009


I'm another native NoDak (my student loads were through the Bank of ND) and disappointed that the fondue has switched to frozen steaks. It used to be pretty tasty and would usually get you through the misery that is the Medora Musical. And it is abject misery. It's saving grace used to be when they had the recreation of Teddy Roosevelt's charge up San Juan Hill right next to the amphitheater but they took all the piss and vinegar out of that. Now all that's left are entertainers better suited for cruise boats and Branson MO variety shows.

The Bank of ND was a left-over (like the State Mill) of the populist movement in the early part of the century. Farmers got sick of being screwed over by banks and mills controlled by out-of-state interests; it resulted in state-owned businesses and that populist streak still runs under the current in ND politics.
posted by Ber at 8:41 AM on November 13, 2009


/another meat story derail/

If Pitchfork Steak Fondue has gone downhill, pack up the kiddies in the extended-cab pickup and motor a mere 9 hours from Fargo to Montour, Iowa and Rube's Steak House. As a vegetarian, it was one of the scariest places I've ever been to--and I've had jobs working in a morgue and selling pneumatic stunners to stockyards.

No boiling oil (though I bet you could suggest it to them) but a huge fiery grill is the centerpiece of the room. The walls are lined with glass-doored coolers of meat; fresh, unaged, barely-had-time-to-get-the-skin-off steak. Like the Pitchfork, the lure for Rube's apparently is that you grill it your own self. I took business customers there (not knowing I was being set up) and yeah, I had about the lamest ever iceberg salad for dinner.

Most of the meat eaters were thrilled, but my boss, a city slicker like me, but no vegetarian by a long shot, said in aside that when he got too close to the back door, he was sure he could hear chainsaws carving up the next batch of Moo Meat.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:59 AM on November 13, 2009


What would I need to do this other than meat, a pitchfork, and a cauldron?

Me. I have to be there. To, uh, supervise and make sure you're doing it right.
posted by flaterik at 12:13 PM on November 13, 2009


my student loads

Boy, I remember those.
posted by Skot at 12:18 PM on November 13, 2009


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