State regulators are cool on a Pittsburgh businessman's idea for a bank that pays interest in ice cream shop gift cards.
The Pennsylvania Department of Banking said they want Ethan Clay to shut down the community bank he's set up at Oh Yeah! ice cream and coffee shop.
Clay said he was motivated by unpleasant bank experiences to provide a simplified community bank offering savings accounts, check-cashing and loans. He calls the venture Whalebone Cafe Bank.
According to Clay, he's not subject to the usual banking rules because his "bank" is actually a gift card program that pays out its 5.5 percent monthly interest in a made-up currency that can be used at his store.
Regulators are unmoved. Banking department spokesman Ed Novak said if Clay doesn't close down "he will be hearing from the district attorney."