We’ve got the big four banks in Australia: The Commonwealth, the National Australia Bank, the Australia New Zealand, and Westpac, which used to be the Bank of New South Wales with the slogan, “You can bank on the Wales”.
One afternoon, a green tree frog hopped into the Canberra branch of Westpac, on City Walk.
Now, if you know this particular branch at all, it’s got the autoteller machines just outside, there’s the main door to the left and the first thing you meet as you enter is the enquiry desk.
This frog hopped right up to the desk and looked up at the young man on duty there with big frog eyes, and he looked back with his narrow, flinty banker’s eyes, wondering how a green tree frog with such big eyes and big lips would survive in the dog-eat-dog world of banking.
The frog looked up and said, “I’d like to ask about a loan.”
“Certainly, sir,” replied the bank officer, who as well as being polite, had remarkably keen eyesight. “Our loans officer, Mrs Macgregor, will be with you shortly. Just take a seat, please. Can I have your name?”
“Kermit Jagger,” said the frog, and went off to sit by a window, where there might be a few flies.
After a while a young lady appeared, said “Mister Jagger?” and led him into her office.
He hopped in, sat down, and they looked at each other.
“Ah, I don’t want to be rude, but with that surname, and those lips…”
“Yes, yes, I get that a lot. He’s my father.”
“Oh, okay. You know, I just wondered. My name’s Patricia, by the way.”
“Now, you want a loan, yes? How much do you need?”
“Thirty thousand dollars. I’d like to buy a new pad.”
“Hmmm. That’s a lot of money. Do you have any collateral?”
“Well, I know the manager here,” the frog smiled. It was a very wide smile. “He’s a good friend of mine.”
“That’s good, but we’d like something you could put up as security.”
“I have an elephant.”
The frog brought out a little ivory elephant, the size of your thumb, beautifully carved, except one of the tusks was chipped.
“Hmmm,” Patricia said, looking at it with a magnifying glass. “The tusk is damaged. I’ll have to ask the manager.”
So she walked into the manager’s office, told him the situation and showed him the tiny elephant. “He offered this as collateral, what do you think of it?”
The manager glanced at it. “It’s a knick-knack, Pattie Mac. Give the frog a loan. His old man’s a Rolling Stone.”