The value of writing a $497.50 check

$1.3 million

checksI wrote a check for $497.50 to someone I hadn’t seen in thirty years. Of course, there is a story here.

“On April 1, 1992, ALBANK Financial Corporation completed its public offering for 15,697,500 shares of common stock (the “Common Stock”) at $10.00 per share.” This was interesting to me for two related reasons.

One was that, as a customer of Albank’s previous entity, Albany Savings Bank, I was on the first tier of people who were able to actually purchase the stock. If memory serves, it was people with ASB checking or savings accounts, folks with ASB credit cards, ASB mortgage holders, and then the general public. Not sure of the middle order, but of the first and last, I’m positive.

The other thing is that, while I was going to library school, I had a job at a temp agency. And coincidentally, the work I got, for a couple of months, was to help process all of the orders for the purchases of Albank stock.

If I Were A Rich Man

As I saw all of the checks pour in, many for $1.3 million, the maximum buy, I recognized that this would be a profitable transaction to get involved with. If I could only find that kind of money. The problem is that I didn’t even have the $250 to make the minimum buy of 25 shares. But one of my co-workers gave me $100 so I could make the purchase.

I would receive small checks periodically, and more cash when Albank was sold to Charter One Bank in 1998. Having written down my partner’s name on the back of an ASB checkbook, I tried the phone number, but it was no good, and I didn’t know how to reach them.

Periodically, when the name and address resurfaced, I would search for the name of my partner, whose surname is fairly unusual. No luck. But after a recent reorganization of the home office, the information resurfaced. This time, I found the name on Google, with three different phone numbers in another state.

The first number was no good, the second just rang, and the third did nothing at all. Later that day, I rang the second number and found my compatriot of thirty years ago. Their last parent had died, and they’d moved within the same city, so the address I had found was incorrect. I let them know I was sending them a check for $497.50. We had a nice chat and discovered they’re looking for work, so I gather the cash would come in handy.

It was good to get that obligation off my plate.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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