Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A Colony On Mars : Chapter 14

. Tuesday, 7 April 2009

CHAPTER – A bank is organized
February 5, 2108: Alan Jeffery, and Remar Otton two of the men who
had completed their Government contracts and remained on Mars as private
citizens decided that they had just figured out the perfect small business to go
into. They arranged through Thelma to lease a lot in The Company cavern
business district right next to where the Burger Boy's building stood. They went
to work building a store front with their own hands. They were able to negotiate
for and acquire from the Government a surplus safe and a good supply of rebar
reinforcing rods used to reinforce concrete. They paid a couple of men that
worked as welders to come over and weld a metal frame on all four sides of
their store front then they used Mars cement to cover the walls. Outside the
walls they stacked the usual cement blocks and when they were finished they
bought enough scrap metal to have a front door welded together and hinges
made. When they were through they owned the most in-penetrable building in
the colony. They then told Thelma and Walter that wanted some kind of charter

making their business legal. There was a lot of consternation all around but
they finally got their permission from The Company and from the Government.
The First Colonial Bank of Mars was open for business. The money poured in,
they soon had over two million dollars on deposit in their safe. They did not pay
any interest but rather charged their customers a small fee for the service of
safeguarding their money. They were able to acquire some surplus computer
equipment from the Government and started printing checks which were really
just IOU's in small amounts and selling them at the bank.
“In case you hadn't noticed Alan we don't know diddle squat about
running a bank.” “I realize that Remar, but we are both intelligent men and we
can learn.” “Here is what I propose, lets advertise and hire an agent/consultant
on Earth that does know about banking. We can then have him locate a
correspondence course from some banker training school that will be willing to
email us all of our study material and send up the most important books on
banking on the next supply ship”
They both approved of that plan and emailed an ad to one of the New
York newspapers to run in their Classified section under help wanted. They
were flooded with emails which they read aloud to each other then selected the
three best qualified and sent them an email requesting a full resume. They
eventually settled on the best qualified candidate and hired him for just a
nominal consulting fee. They then found a qualified detective agency and ran a
thorough background check on the man. He came out squeaky clean. Then
the email started flying back and forth from them and their consultant.
Their agent had spoken with one of his old professors at Harvard
University school of business who was willing to undertake educating them via
email. Shortly study plans began to arrive by email. They had a lot of time on
their hands so they started knocking out the lessons at a record pace. Within
six months they had the books that he had sent up on the supply ship and were
both becoming banking experts. They had their agent pick out a good selection
of banking business equipment and had that sent up. They began to offer more
services at the bank. They arranged a form that their clients could sign
directing that all future payments for wages were to be deposited in First
Colonial bank. Since they had all the latest banking equipment they had to add
on another room to the bank. They found two women on Mars who had once
held responsible positions in banks on Earth and persuaded them to come in
after working on their regular jobs and handle the paper flow at the bank. They
had established a correspondent bank relationship with big name stock and
bond brokerage firms and with the largest bank in the United States. Things got
a little sticky when they applied to become an FDIC member bank. There were
just so many things about First Colonial that did not fit the FDIC mold. It took
them almost six months but with the help of two U.S. Senators finally began to
print on the bottom of all their forms the magic words “Member FDIC” They
could now exchange bank drafts with their New York Correspondent bank and
employed a trust officer at their correspondent bank to temporarily handle
investments for their bank. They knew that as soon as there was a demand for
borrowed money on Mars they would be financing that development through
their bank but until then the money would be earning a good return invested on
Earth. At that point they began to pay interest on deposits and more money
poured in. The workers on Mars liked having their nest eggs on Mars where
they could keep an eye on them. By the time Utopia was sealed they hoped
that their little bank could justifiably claim that they were holding over one billion
dollars in deposits.
The Agent that they had hired in New York had no interest in moving to
Mars but he recommended a young man that had excellent credentials. First
Colonial hired the man and his wife, bit the bullet and paid the one million dollar
fee to have them moved to Mars. When Abe and Lilly Schuman arrived on
Mars the bank began to look a little like and operate a lot like a real bank. Lilly
was installed as the head teller and cashier. Abe was given the title of Manager,
Abe also took on the duties of loan officer. Allen and Remar ended up doing
pretty much what Abe told them to do.
With the arrival of the second ship after opening the bank they received
two million dollars in ones and fives which they promptly made available for
circulation on Mars. They bought the bank drafts that they had sold with small
bills. In the meantime when the first ship arrived after opening the bank Burger
Boy's had received their three million dollars in change which they deposited in
the bank so now there was more money in circulation than they would need
until Utopia opened up. The people on Mars tended to think in terms of all
progress and development as “When Utopia Opens”.
Paul, Tim and Carla thought it was a godsend having the bank here
because since Mars wages were not taxable the IRS paid little attention to
transfers of cash to and from banks on Earth and First Colonial Bank on Mars.
Long before Utopia opened Tim and Carla had over a million dollars on deposit.
The bankers were happy because they were the only bank in the system that
didn't have to anticipate the arrival of inspectors from the FDIC, although they
were a member bank it was just too damned expensive to send an FDIC
inspector up to Mars to inspect or audit First Colonial. Neither the FDIC nor the
bank wanted sensitive information traveling back and forth by email so they
were largely left alone. It also might be noted that the FDIC had little doubt
about the solvency of First Colonial Bank.

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