The mysteries of finance: Earlier this year Who2 took out a modest line of credit to do some hedge-trimming and technical roto-tilling around the website.
US Bank, for reasons known only to itself and God, routed the approval through some part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It was never quite clear why.
Now, I happen to be a big fan of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act and of proactive government in general. That said, you’d have to be more trusting than I am not to wonder how exactly the bank benefited in sending us through that particular intricate path.
What I’m saying is that some banker, somewhere, is probably right this second receiving a $12 million bonus for somehow flipping our little couple-thousand-dollar line of credit into a collateralized debt obligation, a small but aggressive hedge fund, and 37 bad mortgages from Oxnard, California.
Well, that’s fine. We’re glad to be doing our part for The Recovery. But today we got the humorous kicker in the form of a letter from the bank, which begins:
“It is a requirement of the U.S. Small Business Administration, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, that you certify that the funds were not used for ineligible purposes including swimming pools, golf courses, gambling establishments or aquariums and zoos.”
(It’s not clear how they knew that those were the exact items we had planned for the Who2 recreation complex.)
The bank further demands that we swear on an attached form that “No working capital loan proceeds… will be used for any costs or expenses associated with a swimming pool, aquarium, zoo and/or golf course.”
It’s fully in the spirit of our mysterious line of credit that no explanation is given for why these particular items are verboten. One might have thought that the construction of a new zoo or aquarium would be a jolly way to boost the local economy. Or what about a new golf course? Those bankers have to spend their money somewhere.
It IS nice to get some amusement out of our tax dollars. On the downside, now the penguins will have to go back to the shop.