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How Central-Bank Interest-Rate Policy Is Destabilizing Banks

How Central-Bank Interest-Rate Policy Is Destabilizing Banks

Broadly speaking, banks operate under the concept of maturity transformation. Banks take short-term – less than one year – financing vehicles, such as customer deposits, and use that to finance long-term – more than one year – returns. These returns range from the most commonly understood loans, such as auto loans and mortgages, to investments in equity, bonds and public debt. Banks make money on the interest spread between what they pay to the owners of the money and what is earned from the operations. Banks also make money on other services, such as wealth management and account fees, though these are relatively small compared to the maturity transformation business.

In terms of assets, the primary asset a bank holds is the demand deposit, also referred to as the core deposit. These are your everyday savings and checking accounts. Banks also sell Wholesale Deposits, such as CDs, have shareholder equity and also can take out debt, such as interbank lending. As these assets are owned by someone else, each of them demands a return for the use of those assets. These are part of the costs of operation for a bank. There are also more fixed operating costs, such as employees, buildings and equipment that must also be financed.

So, a bank will take assets and formulate loans on them. Like most of the world, the US operates on a fractional reserve system, one where banks originate loans in excess of the deposits on-hand. Take a look at the balance sheet of a large regional bank, 5/3 Bank, for example. For the 2018 fiscal year, 5/3 reported non-capital assets of $94 billion and a deposit base of $108 billion. However, the cash and cash equivalent component of these assets stood at $4.4 billion, or just 4% of demand deposits.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Pivot Point

The Pivot Point 


The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions.

It was a rotten system, bound to collapse. But unfortunately, it was a system in which the political elite were so financially bound that the consequences of collapse threatened their place in the social order. So collapse was prevented, by the use of the systems of government to effect the largest ever single event transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the course of human history. Politicians bailed out the bankers by using the bankers’ own systems, and even permitted the bankers to charge the public for administering their own bailout, and charge massive interest on the money they were giving to themselves. This method meant that the ordinary people did not immediately feel all the pain, but they certainly felt it over the following decade of austerity as the massive burden of public debt that had been loaded on the populace and simply handed to the bankers, crippled the public finances.

The mechanisms of state and corporate propaganda kicked in to ensure that the ordinary people were told that rather than having been robbed, they had been saved. In the ensuing decade the wealth disparity between rich and poor has ever widened, to the extent that this week the BBC announced the UK now has 151 billionaires, in a land where working people resort to foodbanks and millions of children are growing up in poverty.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When Deutsche Bank’s Crisis Becomes Our Crisis

When Deutsche Bank’s Crisis Becomes Our Crisis

Our friends in Europe seem totally incapable of addressing their failing financial sector. And that’s not good for anyone.

By anandoart/Shutterstock

Americans generally think of Europe first as a wonderful place to visit. They rarely ponder the economic and financial ties between the United States and European Union, but in fact these ties are extensive and significant to the stability of both economies. One area of particular connection involves the large banks and companies that provide services on both sides of the Atlantic. It is this area of commercial finance that risks are actually growing to the United States—in large part due to political gridlock in Europe stemming from the 2008 financial crisis.

Credit market professionals have been aware of problems among the European banks for many years. Their lack of profitability, combined with high credit losses and a lack of transparency have created a minefield for global investors going back decades. Whereas the United States has a bankruptcy court system to protect investors, in Europe the process of resolving insolvency is an opaque muddle that leans heavily in favor of corporate debtors and their political sponsors.

When we talk about true mediocrity among European banks, one of the leading example are, surprisingly, German institutions. Germany, after all, has a reputation for being the economic leader of Europe and a global industrial power, thus the continued failures in the financial sector are truly remarkable.

The biggest example, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, has had problems with capital and profitability going back decades. But Deutsche Banks’s problems are not unique. What is troubling and indeed significant for American policy makers, however, is the nearly complete failure of our friends in Europe to address their banking sector, either in terms of cleaning up bad assets or raising capital to enable the cleanup.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

All That’s Missing Is a Black Swan

All That’s Missing Is a Black Swan

“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”
– Ludwig von Mises

The Federal Reserve chart above only goes back to 1970, but its message is clear, nevertheless. The velocity of money has dropped below that which was necessary to maintain a productive economy in 2009 and has never recovered.

The velocity of money can be defined as, “the rate at which money circulates or is exchanged in an economy in a given period.” It’s generally measured as a ratio of gross national product (GNP) to a country’s total money supply.

No money turnover… no economy.

But, if that’s so – if the chart is correct and the money turnover is by far the lowest since 1970 – why did the economy recover after 2010 and why are we in a bull market? Surely, the quantitative easing programme initiated by the Fed corrected the problem and happy days are here again.

Well, actually, neither of those commonly-held assumptions is correct. Quantitative easing didn’t pump money back into the failing economy and, more to the point, it wasn’t intended to. Most of the money that was created through quantitative easing never actually hit the streets.

To back up a bit, in 1999, the Fed, then under Alan Greenspan, convinced the US government, then under President Bill Clinton, to repeal the Glass Steagall Act, an act created in 1933 to assure that banks would never again recklessly create loans to the public that could never be repaid.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

JPMorgan: We Are Fast Approaching The Point Where Banks Run Out Of Liquidity

JPMorgan: We Are Fast Approaching The Point Where Banks Run Out Of Liquidity

Last week we first noted that something unexpected has been going on in overnight funding markets: ever since March 20, the Effective Fed Funds rate has been trading above the IOER. This was unexpected for the simple reason that it is not supposed to happen by definition. 

As a reminder, ever since the financial crisis, in order to push the effective fed funds rate above zero at a time of trillions in excess reserves, the Fed was compelled to create a corridor system for the fed funds rate which was bound on the bottom and top by two specific rates controlled by the Federal Reserve: the corridor “floor” was the overnight reverse repurchase rate (ON-RRP) which usually coincides with the lower bound of the fed funds rate, while on top, the effective fed funds rate is bound by the rate the Fed pays on Excess Reserves (IOER), i.e., the corridor “ceiling.”

Or at least that’s the theory. In practice, the effective FF tends to occasionally diverge from this corridor, and when it does, it prompts fears that the Fed is losing control over the most important instrument available to it: the price of money, which is set via the fed funds rate. And ever since March 20, this fear is front and center because as shown in the chart below, starting on March 20, the effective Fed Funds rate rose above the IOER first by just 1 basis point, and then, last Friday spiked as much as 4 bps above IOER.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here’s why the Federal Reserve rejected the safest bank in America

Here’s why the Federal Reserve rejected the safest bank in America

In the spring of 1692, an energetic young Scotsman named John Campbell started a new business in central London.

Campbell was a goldsmith, and his business sold jewelry and other crafted metals like plates and silverware.

But Campbell’s new company had another business line as well: banking. And the company he started eventually became Coutts & Co., a bank that still exists today in the UK.

Since the dawn of the Bronze Age thousands of years ago, metal workers (‘smiths’, from the word ‘smite’– to strike) were prominent, highly valued members of society.

Smiths were instrumental in construction, architecture, science, warfare, and art.

And they also provided some of the world’s earliest banking services.

For most of human history, money was metal– primarily gold and silver. And people knew that storing large quantities of gold and silver in their homes made their wealth prone to theft.

Goldsmiths already had tight security in their shops due to their significant inventories of precious metals.

So it was commonplace for other residents in town to store their own gold with the local smith, piggybacking on his security, in exchange for a nominal fee.

This was banking in its most traditional form: customer paid a fee to store wealth at a goldsmith’s shop.

By the time John Campbell set up his bank in the late 1600s, however, times had changed. Goldsmith-bankers had begun making loans… keeping only a small portion of their customers’ gold on reserve in the vault, and loaning out the rest at interest.

This is essentially the same model of banking that still exists today.

Giant institutions control trillions of dollars that we depositors dutifully provide to them.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Birth of a Monster

The Birth of a Monster

The Federal Reserve’s doors have been open for “business” for one hundred years. In explaining the creation of this money-making machine (pun intended — the Fed remits nearly $100 bn. in profits each year to Congress) most people fall into one of two camps.

Those inclined to view the Fed as a helpful institution, fostering financial stability in a world of error-prone capitalists, explain the creation of the Fed as a natural and healthy outgrowth of the troubled National Banking System. How helpful the Fed has been is questionable at best, and in a recent book edited by Joe Salerno and me — The Fed at One Hundred — various contributors outline many (though by no means all) of the Fed’s shortcomings over the past century.

Others, mostly those with a skeptical view of the Fed, treat its creation as an exercise in secretive government meddling (as in G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island) or crony capitalism run amok (as in Murray Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed).

In my own chapter in The Fed at One Hundred I find sympathies with both groups (you can download the chapter pdf here). The actual creation of the Fed is a tragically beautiful case study in closed-door Congressional deals and big banking’s ultimate victory over the American public. Neither of these facts emerged from nowhere, however. The fateful events that transpired in 1910 on Jekyll Island were the evolutionary outcome of over fifty years of government meddling in money. As such, the Fed is a natural (though terribly unfortunate) outgrowth of an ever more flawed and repressive monetary system.

Before the Fed

Allow me to give a brief reverse biographical sketch of the events leading up to the creation of a monster in 1914.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Do You Beat The Bankers At Their Own Game?

How Do You Beat The Bankers At Their Own Game?

Those that have been following events for several years know they are under attack by an enemy that has no face and means to do them great harm. Nothing less than their sovereignty and freedom is at stake. Absolute control over people and resources is the ultimate goal.

People need to understand that the bankers need to collapse everything and leave the population in want of resources and supplies. Just like after a natural disaster when the government shows up to provide help to those that have lost everything, the bankers want to show up after the population has lost everything in a collapse, to be their savior and gain control of everyone by offering resources in exchange for compliance.

There are several actions you can take to prevent these people from gaining control over your life. 

You must be able to feed yourself-

You must have a home to live in that you own free and clear-

You need to be your own energy company-

You need to be your own bank-

You need to be able to defend what you have-

You need to have skills to operate your own business-

You need to promote a community based economy-

To put it simply, you need to get out of their game and start your own. Remember, the house always wins.

The bankers can only win the game if people are dependent on the elite for everyday necessities. The bankers have created a society of dependent people that they can exploit. They can only continue to exploit people as long as they are dependent on the bankers for the things they need. Once this dependence is broken the bankers lose much of their control on society. This dependence is broken by people who can provide their own necessities. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Wall Street, Banks and Angry Citizens

Wall Street, Banks and Angry Citizens

A major question remains unanswered when it comes to the state of Main Street, not just here but across the planet. If the global economy really is booming, as many politicians claim, why are leaders and their parties around the world continuing to get booted out of office in such a sweeping fashion?

One obvious answer: the post-Great Recession economic “recovery” was largely reserved for the few who could participate in the rising financial markets of those years, not the majority who continued to work longer hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, to stay afloat. In other words, the good times have left out so many people, like those struggling to keep even a few hundred dollars in their bank accounts to cover an emergency or the 80% of American workers who live paycheck to paycheck.

In today’s global economy, financial security is increasingly the property of the 1%. No surprise, then, that, as a sense of economic instability continued to grow over the past decade, angst turned to anger, a transition that — from the U.S. to the Philippines, Hungary to Brazil, Poland to Mexico — has provoked a plethora of voter upheavals. In the process, a 1930s-style brew of rising nationalism and blaming the “other” — whether that other was an immigrant, a religious group, a country, or the rest of the world — emerged.

This phenomenon offered a series of Trumpian figures, including of course The Donald himself, an opening to ride a wave of “populism” to the heights of the political system. That the backgrounds and records of none of them — whether you’re talking about Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán, Rodrigo Duterte, or Jair Bolsonaro (among others) — reflected the daily concerns of the “common people,” as the classic definition of populism might have it, hardly mattered. Even a billionaire could, it turned out, exploit economic insecurity effectively and use it to rise to ultimate power.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chapter 2: Laws That Make Robbery Legal.

CHAPTER 2: LAWS THAT MAKE ROBBERY LEGAL.

A law can be anything from an attempt to establish justice on earth to a device for robbery and murder.[1] Nazi race law was an example of the latter. Most people pay lip service to the idea that laws should be just; but in fact, laws are often made to favour the powerful. Laws supporting slavery and laws favouring men over women are two examples of that.[2]

Today, thousands of lobbyists spend untold amounts of money each year influencing lawmakers on behalf of their (usually corporate) paymasters. Many of the new laws they promote would not be called ‘just’ by most of us – if we knew about them. But how many voters keep an eye on new laws, to check if they are just?[3]

This chapter describes how banks became authorised in law to create money, as part of the age-old practice of ruling classes writing laws to suit themselves.

Laws allowing money (and other value) to be created as debt are surely the most unjust laws generally in force today. These laws are actually very simple, but very few people know about them, and their injustice is not often talked about. People who benefit from them prefer to ignore them – and prefer it if other people don’t talk about them either.[4]

These laws simply establish that debt can be bought and sold as if it is a commodity, like beef or beans. The legal word for this is, they make debt ‘negotiable’.[5]

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“There Are Going To Be Shocks” – Barclays CEO Warns Another Financial Crisis Is Likely

“There Are Going To Be Shocks” – Barclays CEO Warns Another Financial Crisis Is Likely

Barclays CEO Jes Staley took a few days off from his battle to save Europe’s last functional global investment bank to travel to Davos this week, where he participated in a handful of interviews with Bloomberg and CNBC, and offered an interesting – if slightly self-serving – prediction about whether the unprecedented levels of debt rattling around the global financial system will result in another crisis like what happened ten years ago.

Staley

While he believes another great financial crisis is more or less inevitable, Staley insisted that, this time around, his industry wouldn’t be the cause. In fact, it might just be a buffer against the worst of the fallout. Because global banks have shrunk their balance sheets since the crisis (largely at the behest of regulators), they could end up shielding the global economy when credit markets – which have been fueled in part by non-bank lenders (i.e. shadow banks) – seize up.

“This time, there’s a chance the banks will be the buffer, as opposed to the cause” of the crisis, Staley, who has been the British bank’s chief executive officer since 2015, said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Francine Lacqua from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Echoing a warning that has been featured in these pages more than once (and as recently as last week when we wrote that “An Unexpected Development Could Crush The Leveraged Loan Market”), Staley cited the flow of credit into collateralized loan obligations as a sign of the growing risks in the credit market, and pointed to the freeze-up in high-yield issuance in December as an indication of what a future “credit shock” could look like.

But destabilizing credit risks aren’t confined to corporate balance sheets. The growing sovereign debt burden could also become a problem.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chapter One: The Money Supply: How It Came to be Created by Banks

CHAPTER ONE: THE MONEY SUPPLY: HOW IT CAME TO BE CREATED BY BANKS.

The most important fact in economics today goes unmentioned by most economists and bankers: money is created as debt from banks, and it is cancelled when debts are repaid.[1]

I have asked many economists and bankers why this is so seldom mentioned, and always I get the same response: it’s too difficult for the public and most students to understand.

In fact, it’s not so difficult to understand. A famous economist once wrote: ‘The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.’[2]

Why, truly, is the fact so seldom mentioned? Another venerable quotation supplies the answer: ‘The general ignorance (of banking and finance) is not caused by any peculiar difficulty of this branch of political economy, but because those who are best informed are almost all interested in maintaining delusion and error, instead of dispersing both.’[3]

I introduce these respectably-sourced quotations to show that the statement ‘money is debt from banks’ is not an outrageous and invented claim like so many statements today, but something that has been known for a long time.

For instance, many years ago, if you looked up ‘Banking and Credit’ in the Encyclopaedia Britannica you would find the following paragraph: —

‘When a bank lends… two debts are created; the trader who borrows becomes indebted to the bank at a future date, and the bank becomes immediately indebted to the trader. The bank’s debt is a means of payment; it is credit money. It is a clear addition to the amount of the means of payment in the community.’[4]

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How California stayed with gold when the rest of the U.S. adopted fiat money

How California stayed with gold when the rest of the U.S. adopted fiat money

We are ten years into the age of bitcoin. But people are still using national currencies like yen, dollars, and pounds to buy things. What does history have to say about switches from one type of monetary system to another? In this post I’ll dig for lessons from California’s successful resistance to a fiat standard that was imposed on it in the 1860s by the rest of the U.S.

Not long after the war American Civil War broke out in 1861, a run on New York banks forced most of the country’s banks to stop redeeming their banknotes with gold. A few months later Abraham Lincoln’s Union government began to issue inconvertible paper money in order to finance the war. These notes were popularly known as Greenbacks.

$1 legal tender note, or greenback

Thus the 19 states in the Union shifted from a commodity monetary standard onto a fiat monetary standard. But Californians, who had been using gold as a payments medium for the previous decade-and-a-half, chose not to cooperate and continued to keep accounts in terms of gold. As a result, California stayed on a gold standard while the rest of the Union grappled with fiat money.

This had very different repercussions for prices in each region. As the Union issued ever more greenbacks to finance the war, the perceived quality of these IOUs deteriorated. Through much of 1863 and 1864, their price fell relative to gold. Because prices in the Union were set in terms of greenbacks, consumer and wholesale prices rose rapidly.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey’s Debt Crisis Deepens, Erdogan Bails out Banks His Way

Turkey’s Debt Crisis Deepens, Erdogan Bails out Banks His Way

Shifting bad consumer & business debts from banks to the public, but the way this bank bailout got packaged is pretty nifty.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has launched a raft of measures ostensibly designed to reanimate the economy, including offering direct financial support for people with credit-card debt. The plan will enable Turkey’s maxed-out consumers to go to the biggest state-run lender, Ziraat Bank, and apply for debt rescheduling at low rates of interest. “Any retail client from any bank can apply,” Erdogan said.

Credit-card debt is a major problem. Since 2010 consumer credit has increased almost five-fold on the back of low interest rates (at least in certain foreign currencies), government incentives, and loose loan standards. By August 2018, when these pillars supporting Erdogan’s debt-fueled economic miracle began to buckle, outstanding non-housing consumer debt, peaked at 532 billion Turkish lira ($97 billion at today’s exchange rate, chart via Trading Economics):

About half of this amount is credit card debt. About one-third of the credit-card debt was considered to be non performing. A good portion of this debt is denominated in foreign currency, such as the euro or dollar, to get access to the low interest rates available in those currencies. And this foreign-currency debt is now, after the lira’s exchange rate has fallen, very hard to service. In other words, the government’s scheme is likely to have plenty of takers.

“The debts of citizens who are having repayment problems will be collected under a single umbrella, via Ziraat Bank,” Erdogan said. “They will pay off their debt with a loan from Ziraat and will pay it back according to the level of their monthly earnings.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Money: How Its Past Predicts Its Future

Money: How Its Past Predicts Its Future

btc_gold1.PNG

What is money, where does it come from and more importantly where does it go?

At first glance, it might appear inexplicable and bizarre that our governments and our rulers have managed to keep their stronghold over the monetary system for 2000 years, especially when one thinks about the countless ways in which they abused that power and used their monopoly to the detriment of their own citizens. It was a mass delusion that facilitated this, a blind belief that they, and they alone, can be trusted with this vital task while looking out for our best interests as well. However, now, as mistrust against our rulers is justifiably deepening, it is becoming increasingly clear that only we as individuals can ensure our best interests and it is only a matter of time before the entire ill-founded edifice comes crumbling down.

To answer all these questions about money, we need to first understand its history — keeping in mind that those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. Everything started when people settled down and instead of living off nature they started adding value to it; this was the beginning of private property rights. In addition, men started to realize that some people are better at performing specific duties than others and thus set into motion what we today understand as the division of labor. This increased economic output and in general terms, everyone became better off. This transition in how work was performed in an economy made trade between individuals a necessity. Thus barter, or the exchange of real goods and services against other real goods and services, became commonplace. Barter also had its disadvantages, because it required what is known as a “double coincidence of wants” in order to function.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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