Exciting news from the world of interchangeable banking institutions: TCF, a name that boomers associate with a hundred time-and-temp signs, has been absorbed by a financial amoeba, and the old local name will be lost.

Old-timers who've seen one local institution after another fade away will no doubt enter full Coot Mode: "Gorl-durn it all to Goshen! Stop changin' the danged names around like a dad-gum lollygangin' moniker-monger!"

Settle down, citizen. This is the way of things. Your new name is Huntington Bank.


This is a bank name that sounds like it's for plummy voiced tassel-loafer WASPs with ascots who walk around with a golf club in one hand and a cocktail in the other. I'd hate to apply for an account there.

"He's really not our kind, is he? Rather short. Can't quite see him on a yacht at all unless he's polishing something or refilling the ice bucket. Poor boy probably can't trace his family back more than two generations. Well, have Muffy type up the letter and tell him we're dreadfully sorry, but his money's a bit too ... new."

Of course it's new! I got it in my last paycheck! If it were old money, you wouldn't cash it!

I joke because that's what we do here: joke. And alienate future advertisers. I'm sure it's a fine bank. I'm just sad to lose another local name. TCF stood for something, once upon a time: Twin Cities Federal.

All of the local banks are gone. Marquette just seemed to evaporate somehow, although I'm sure they sent out letters. Midwest Federal, known for its big Green Tree logo, had a demise so spectacular we thought they'd disassemble the Nicollet Mall headquarters and bury it like nuclear waste. Northwestern was a solid name, but they changed it to Norwest, which sounds like a Yankee whaler describing the wind. Farmers and Mechanics was a favorite, because you wondered how they got together in the first place; it's a bit like the Doctors and Pastry Chefs Bank.

There were many other small banks that flourished and collapsed, usually because some amoral New York financier had cornered the brass market. Or perhaps there was a panic, where all economic activity ceased because the bankers were breathing into a paper bag. We don't have panics anymore, just "contractions and corrections," which sounds like you're having an English paper graded while you give birth.

Anyway. I'm sure the new bank will have a spiffy website that shows people doing the things they always do on banking websites: They are either looking at their phone with a broad, satisfied smile, possibly because they have been Approved, or there's a couple sitting at a table with broad, satisfied smiles, because they are now Secure.

I'd prefer a picture of a vault that has a yard-thick door and a hard-faced guard with a Tommy gun peering out through a small window. Tagline: "Your money is in here, and it's not going anywhere." At least with TCF, you knew your money was right here, in the TC!

Except no, not really; it doesn't work like that. There are no sacks in vaults anymore. The money's just ... out there, floating. Which means that all banks ultimately are TCF, perhaps: Total Cash Fiction.