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When Cyprus Banks Re-Open, It Might Not Go Well

Monday, 25 Mar 2013 | 5:15 PM ET
Joe Pesci in "Casino"
Source: Universal Pictures
Joe Pesci in "Casino"

The banks of Cyprus are scheduled to open Thursday -- a goal post that's moved several times since the island nation's odyssey began.

But, honestly, if you were a Cypriot banker who was going to deliver the news to your wealthiest clients that their bank accounts were a lot lighter than they once were, would you go to work? What if some of those clients may or may not have made that money in some rougher lines of work?

I'm reminded of that scene in Martin Scorsese's "Casino," when banker Charlie Clark meets with Nicky Santoro, played by Joe Pesci, to talk about how his investments are going. The scene is tense from the very moment Nicky declines the offer of a cocktail.

"I've been trying to reach you. You're tougher to get than the President," Nicky complains.

"Well, I've been busy," the banker says with a nervous chuckle.

"Yeah, least you could do is return my phone calls, though," Nicky says.

"Listen... Nicky... we talked about this... and, uh, I explained to you that there was the possibility you might have to take some kind of loss," the banker says.

Nicky replies: "Yeah. I think I want my money back."

"What're you gonna do? Strong-arm me?" the banker says.

Which prompts this famous soliloquy [which we've cleaned up a bit]:

You know... I think that you've gotten the wrong impression about me. I think in all fairness, I should explain to you what it is that I do.

For instance, tomorrow morning I'll get up nice and early, take a walk down over to the bank and walk in and see you, and, uh... if you don't have my money for me, I'll crack your [____] head wide open in front of everybody in the the bank. And just about the time that I'm comin' out of jail, hopefully, you'll be comin' out of your coma. And guess what? I'll split your [____] head open again. Because I'm [____] stupid. I don't give a [___] about jail. That's my business. That's what I do. And we know what you do, don't we, Charlie? You [___] people out of money and get away with it.

Yeah. We wouldn't go to work tomorrow either.

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