Time for a Throwback… Way back. – WBA staff dusted off our past publications and found some gems for your enjoyment:
T. W. Borum, a banker from Barron, saw the new-fangled jalopies wheezing down the country roads of northern Wisconsin every day. To him, the auto represented dangerous extravagance that he feared would someday wreck Wisconsin's hard-won prosperity. Following are excerpts of his speech to WBA delegates in 1915:
The automobile is a very expensive luxury and a customer who buys one of them on time gives unmistakable evidence of bad judgment.
Another man in whose judgment one must place confidence, felt that the automobile trade as a whole is overdone and while automobile trucks and drays are a business asset, taking the place of horses, it is not real good banking to loan money to anyone, no matter how good financially, knowing the money so loaned was to be used in the purchase of an automobile for purposes of pleasure.
Today in Wisconsin there is an investment of $70 million in automobiles, 90 percent of which has been withdrawn from banks, either by withdrawal of deposits, money borrowed, or notes purchased, all for payment to the manufacturers of automobiles. Necessarily this has reduced the amount of money that is available in the country districts to local merchants and others upon whose daily labors the rural communities are depending.
It is very clear that banks are treading on very dangerous ground in extending credit to [auto] dealers whose percentage of profit is at best limited... The automobile manufacturers should carry their own customers and not be sapping the country of all surplus money in the interest of one industry.
Originally sourced from "Good as Gold - A History of Banking in Wisconsin," Copyright © 1992 by Wisconsin Bankers Association.