What do banks have in common with bike shops, bookstores and clothing shops? If you said coffee, or café, you’re coffee culture savvy. Then the question becomes: What do banks have to do with coffee? We’ll get to this later. First the facts. Writer Erica Sandberg has written about a new venture opening up, if all works out, in September. She’s very excited about the addition of a new bank coming to San Francisco. This will be the eighth for this chain in the US. Unlike any banks we probably have known before, this one is very much out of the box. It will include a Peet’s coffee shop, complete with Wi-Fi, right in the bank. That’s what accounts for Sandberg’s excitement. It could also be the free entertainment. The bank-café’s website announces free Jazz night with free drinks in their New York bank tonight! If you live in New York, maybe you can still make it. They have contests, free seminars, like a Starbucks with a bank. The article says the bank is now hiring and no financial knowledge is required, as employees will be trained. Once hired, they will be dispensing both coffee and “personal finance and banking information” to their customers. What DO banks have to do with coffee? There was a time when some banks used to have a table on which was a hot water dispenser and instant coffee. They offered this free coffee with free pens and pads. With the third wave of coffee riding high and coffee becoming the most IN thing right now, it makes perfect sense. After all, what’s a bank to do in this season when the industry is not held in high esteem by most Americans? Give patrons their favorite comfort food/beverage, but charge for it. It’s discounted, but after all, the bank is also using the customer’s money to make more money, so it’s a safe deal. However, the alarming thing about the whole idea is the kind of “expert” personal financial information being dispensed with the coffee. Someone with no experience and no formal training, advising you on your finances in these perilous times? It might only be superficial advice, but then what’s the point? Granted, the professionals didn’t do that well in the last few years, but a banker who’s busy pouring drinks …. You do the math. ROASTe won’t tell you how to invest your life savings, but we can promise you coffee that’s guaranteed to please while you enjoy it at home in peace and quiet.