Banking and finance is numbers. It's lots and lots and lots (and lots) of numbers, enough numbers to either scare away or bore to death most people who aren't crazy for math or accounting.
And for years, most people were fine avoiding the banking industry, deciding instead to just check their monthly statements and make sure their money was still intact and, hopefully, growing.
Now? Not so much.
If the consecutive stings of the recession, mortgage crisis, government-subsidized bank bailouts and corporate 401(k) and pension raiding taught us anything, it's that simply checking a quarterly statement isn't enough to make sure you, your business, your money and your future are safe.
Even if we weren't completely careful with how we kept track of our finances, we thought the government would be there to keep disaster from happening. Then we found out the Securities and Exchange Commission was warned about Bernie Madoff for years – and wasn't held accountable for missing the facts.
Now we know. And we won't forget for decades.
It's a new watchdog mentality we've all adopted. We all take extra time to go through the numbers. We watch the markets more closely. We talk to our financial advisers about our 401k. We watch our money.
Still, we need to fill in some blanks. As laymen, we can't possibly understand all the jargon, back-door deals and Wall Street Journal articles about earnings reports and financial instruments. We need people who will keep a close eye on the banking and finance industry and let people know just how their money is performing on a grand scale and how you can make it do more for you.
I'm the new banking and finance reporter at the Central Penn Business Journal, and I'm ready to be that local watchdog – but I can't do it alone. I need your help, all of you.
Point me in the right direction. Tell me what the story is. Tell me what's important. Tell me the experts I should be talking. Tell me who knows more about the midstate financial industry than anyone else. Let me know who I should follow on Twitter. Let me know who I should be calling just to say, "Hey, if you have anything going on, make sure you let me know about it."
Because we all need to watch each other's money these days.
Michael Sadowski is the newest reporter at the Central Penn Business Journal, covering Lebanon County, technology, law, and banking and finance. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter, @MikeCPBJ.