Bank That Pays Interest in Ice Cream Is Actually Causing Controversy

ice cream conesCome on, let's face it. Who doesn't love ice cream? (Even people with a lactose intolerance love it so much they'll hurt themselves for it -- or enjoy soy/almond/rice milk frozen desserts or sorbet!) And who wouldn't want to deposit their money in a bank where you earn interest ... in ice cream?!

And so seemed to go the thought process of Ethan Clay, a Pittsburgh ice cream shop owner who recently decided that people need "a creative solution to banking in a new economy" and has started taking deposits his brand-new, totally un-FDIC insured bank, the Whalebone Cafe Bank. Customers who deposit a minimum of $100 earn interest in the form of a made-up currency called "exclamation" dollars, which can be used to buy ice cream or other items at Clay's ice cream and coffee shop. Hello, GENIUS!


Clay says every $1 in exclamation bucks is worth $1.10 in regular dollars, so a customer with $200 on deposit currently would earn "about 5.5 percent" per month, or roughly 11 exclamation dollars ... to put toward yummy ice cream treats. He explains that he wanted to create ...

... a truly local, local bank where people who drink coffee together ... were actually sharing each other's money. And I wanted people to be able to borrow money at a reasonable rate.

Awesome! And if that means people get to "earn" cash to put toward more coffee and more ice cream that they were going to enjoy anyway, more power to 'em!

Of course, law enforcement isn't too thrilled with the concept. Because even though Clay is telling officials not to worry, because it's basically just a "gift card program," the Pennsylvania Department of Banking sees it quite differently. What a buncha buzzkills! Hopefully, Clay does what he has to to keep his "ice cream bank" in business, because I'm sure banking there is not just satisfying to customers' sweet tooths, but their wallets, as well.

What do you think about this banking concept? Would you want to earn interest in ice cream?


Image via Joelk75/Flickr

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