To Bank or Not to Bank, That Is the Question

As even bankers sometimes will admit, banks are fair-weather friends. The weather these days is not too good. Besides some unsavory actions banks discovered among their clients and besides some high-visibility bankruptcies, closings, and mergers among many others, banks face some genuine issues. Credit levels are too high, partly because of big mining companies force-feeding sights. It's a bit like pâté de foie gras, only the industry is the goose, and the banks are concerned that their goose is cooked. Still, as occurred in the 1980s when some banks bailed out wholesale, solid companies are suddenly finding that their banks are hesitant to renew lines of credit. This might be subtle (or not so subtle) pressure to manage inventories better and unload or break out some dead stock. In this regard, retailers and suppliers might see only moderate or no pain as they recover metal and di

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