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ATMs Spitting Back Bank Cards In Lebanon As “Dollars Have Virtually Disappeared”

ATMs Spitting Back Bank Cards In Lebanon As “Dollars Have Virtually Disappeared”

Though banks reopened this week in Lebanon, with the country’s financial institutions remaining front and center in massive anti-government protests amid accusations of corruption and wild mismanagement, withdrawal limits have now been made official by the country’s Banks Association — previously unofficially enforced. 

The formal controls now include limiting withdrawals to $1,000 per week, with transfers abroad only ambiguously defined necessary for “urgent matters”.

Yet the collective panic, driven by fears patrons won’t be able to retrieve their deposits from banks, has only compounded, as now The Washington Post reports “Dollars have virtually disappeared.”

Vandalized ATM machine in Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli this week, via Middle East Online.

“Over recent weeks, ATMs in Lebanon have been spitting back bank cards, refusing to provide dollars to those who ask for them, though people here have long used the American currency alongside the Lebanese pound,” the WaPo reported.

Protest-racked Lebanon over the past month has seen its banks opened for only half that time. Given that most of the country’s debt is held by local banks, and with the scene of police literally standing at teller windows having to enforce controls and restrain patrons from removing all of their own money, the vicious cycle continues hurtling the $86 billion indebted country toward economic collapse. 

First, the deteriorating security situation since Oct. 17 forced their prior closure for two weeks, with the country’s association of banks then fearing a run on deposits, and after a brief opening staff went on strike, citing personal safety at the hands of angry citizens demanding their cash from the “thieving” banks (literally in some cases involving clients with guns). 

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

As Hong Kong ATMs Run Out Of Cash, Central Bank Steps In To Prevent “Panic Among The Public”

As Hong Kong ATMs Run Out Of Cash, Central Bank Steps In To Prevent “Panic Among The Public”

As the violence in Hong Kong escalates with every passing week, culminating on Friday with what was effectively the passage of martial law when the local government banned the wearing of masks at public assemblies, a colonial-era law that is meant to give the authorities a green light to finally crack down on protesters at will, one aspect of Hong Kong life seemed to be surprisingly stable: no, not the local economy, as HK retail sales just suffered their biggest drop on record as the continuing violent protests halt most if not all commerce:

We are talking about the local banks, which have been remarkably resilient in the face of the continued mass protests and the ever rising threat of violent Chinese retaliation which could destroy Hong Kong’s status as the financial capital of the Pacific Rim in a heart beat, and crush the local banking system. In short: despite the perfect conditions for a bank run, the locals continued to behave as if they had not a care in the world.

Only that is now changing, because one day after a junior JPMorgan banker was beaten in broad daylight by the protest mob, a SCMP report confirms that the social upheaval has finally spilled over into the financial world: according to the HK publication, the local central bank, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, was forced to issue a statement warning against a “malicious attempt to cause panic among the public” after rumors were spread online about the possibility of the government using emergency powers to impose foreign-exchange controls.

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

Why Are ATMs Disappearing at an Alarming Rate after a Wave of Branch Closures?

Why Are ATMs Disappearing at an Alarming Rate after a Wave of Branch Closures?

Banks are curtailing “cash services.” But why?

In Australia, banks are reducing ATMs by about 8% a year. In the UK, ATMs — or cashpoint machines, as they’re termed locally — are disappearing at a rate of around 300 per month, leaving consumers in rural areas struggling to access cash, according to a new report by the consumers’ association, Which? The rate of closures has increased sixfold in the period from November 2017 to April this year from a steady pace of 50 per month since 2015.

Banks in Spain have closed around 40% of their branches over the past ten years, on the back of unprecedented industry consolidation and cost cutting. In Barcelona, there are now less than half the number of branches there were in 2008. But it’s in small towns and villages where the impact is being felt most keenly. According to new research, by 2016 as many as 4,114 municipalities — the equivalent of 50.7% of all urban settlements — had no bank branches at all.

Banks in Spain are are also shutting down many of their ATMs. In 2017, the biggest lenders withdrew over 1,100 cash machines — around 3% of the national total. BBVA, Spain’s second biggest lender mothballed 192 ATMs (2.9% of its total stock) last year; Bankia, 301 (4.8%); Caixabank, 47 (0.5%), and Banco Sabadell 541 cash machines, the equivalent of 15% of its total stock.

This is all happening at a time when banks in Spain are making it more and more difficult to access cash from the branches that remain open. As we previously reported, Spain’s third largest lender, CaixaBank, last year launched a pilot project in Madrid aimed at limiting cash services in their branches to less than three hours a day, from 8:15 am to 11 am.

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

How A North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Attack Could Kill Millions And Turn America Into A Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland

How A North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Attack Could Kill Millions And Turn America Into A Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland

This is why North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile is so important.  North Korea had test fired a total of 22 missiles so far this year, but this latest one showed that nobody on the globe is out of their reach.  In fact, General Mattis is now admitting that “North Korea can basically threaten everywhere in the world”, and that includes the entire continental United States.  In addition to hitting individual cities with nukes, there is also the possibility that someday North Korea could try to take down the entire country with an EMP attack.  If the North Koreans detonated a single nuclear warhead several hundred miles above the center of the country, it would destroy the power grid and fry electronics from coast to coast.

I would like you to think about what that would mean for a few moments.  Suddenly there would be no power at home, at work or at school.  Since nearly all of our vehicles rely on computerized systems, you wouldn’t be able to go anywhere and nobody would be able to get to you.  And you wouldn’t be able to contact anyone because all phones would be dead.  Basically, pretty much everything electronic would be dead.  I am talking about computers, televisions, GPS devices, ATMs, heating and cooling systems, refrigerators, credit card readers, gas pumps, cash registers, hospital equipment, traffic lights, etc.

For the first couple of days life would continue somewhat normally, but then people would soon start to realize that the power isn’t coming back on and panic would begin to erupt.

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

Bank of China ATMs Go Dark As Ransomware Attack Cripples China

Bank of China ATMs Go Dark As Ransomware Attack Cripples China

In the aftermath of the global WannaCry ransomware attack, which has spread around the globe like wildfire, a significant number of corporations and public services have found their infrastructure grinding to a halt, unable to operate with unprotected if mission-critical computers taken offline indefinitely. Some of the more prominent examples so far include:
  • NHS: The British public health service – the world’s fifth-largest employer, with 1.7 million staff – was badly hit, with interior minister Amber Rudd saying around 45 facilities were affected. Several were forced to cancel or delay treatment for patients.
  • Germany’s Deutsche Bahn national railway operator was affected, with information screens and ticket machines hit. Travelers tweeted pictures of hijacked departure boards showing the ransom demand instead of train times. But the company insisted that trains were running as normal.
  • Renault: The French automobile giant was hit, forcing it to halt production at sites in France and its factory in Slovenia as part of measures to stop the spread of the virus.
  • FedEx: The US package delivery group acknowledged it had been hit by malware and said it was “implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible.” .
  • Russian banks, ministries, railways: Russia’s central bank was targeted, along with several government ministries and the railway system. The interior ministry said 1,000 of its computers were hit by a virus. Officials played down the incident, saying the attacks had been contained.
  • Telefonica: The Spanish telephone giant said it was attacked but “the infected equipment is under control and being reinstalled,” said Chema Alonso, the head of the company’s cyber security unit and a former hacker.
  • Sandvik: Computers handling both administration and production were hit in a number of countries where the company operates, with some production forced to stop. “In some cases the effects were small, in others they were a little larger,” Head of External Communications Par Altan said.

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

A Lesson From the Greek Crisis: Safe Deposit Boxes Are Not Safe

A Lesson From the Greek Crisis: Safe Deposit Boxes Are Not Safe

Last week the Greek government imposed capital controls to prevent cash from escaping from the Greek banking system, which is on the brink of collapse.  These repressive financial measures, which were invented by “Hitler’s banker” Hjalmar Schacht in the 1930s, include the closing of banks,  limiting cash withdrawals from ATMs to 60 euros ($67) per day, and the banning of all money transfers via credit and debit cards to accounts held in foreign countries.  Despite these Draconian controls, Greek banks continue to hemorrhage cash and, after yesterday’s referendum, it is probable that the daily limit on withdrawals from ATMs will be tightened.  Worse yet, the reeling Greek public suffered another shock yesterday when Deputy Finance Minister Nadia Valavani revealed to Greek television that the government and banks had already agreed that people would also not be allowed to withdraw cash from safe deposit boxes for as long as the controls were in place.  This may be part of a fallback plan if theECB ends its bailout of the Greek banks.  The government with the banks’ connivance would seize the cash euros stored in these boxes and compensate their lessees by crediting an equal sum of euros to their increasingly inaccessible checking deposits.  The cash would then be fed into ATMs to postpone the day of reckoning for Greece’s zombie fractional-reserve banks.

Bank woes

In the meantime, the market has been working to provide a private, nonbank alternative for Greeks to safely store cash.  In Dublin, Ireland enterprising diamond dealer Seamus Fahy, who owns Merrion Vaults, is offering a 15% discount for Greeks who are able to evade the fascist capital controls and smuggle their cash out of the country.  

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

 

 

 

 

Forget Greece … China Is the Real Threat

Forget Greece … China Is the Real Threat

When the ATMs Went Dark …

There’s a time for calm, rational behavior … and a time to panic. On Tuesday, investors in U.S. stocks decided not to panic. Monday’s sell-off halted. But it did not reverse.

And it left the street with its worst half-year performance since 2010. Gain for 2015 so far? Zilch. But have we seen the top? We will have to wait to find out.

Fox News reports that Greeks are eyeing Bitcoin to protect their savings. At midnight Tuesday night, the Greek government defaulted on a €1.5-billion loan repayment to the IMF. And it has imposed a 60-euro-a-day limit on cash withdrawals.

50As of today, depositors reportedly only get 50 euro per day, because the banks have run out of 10s and 20s.

This leaves many Greeks short and looking for alternatives. Pity those who were last in line at the ATMs before they went dark. Says a restaurant owner in Athens, quoted by the Associated Press:

“You don’t know what can happen. In my case, I have money, and I don’t have money in a sense. I have it in the bank, but I can’t get it in my hands. It’s crazy.”

As we’ve been pointing out, money in the bank is not the same as money in hand. The first is just a loan to what could be a bankrupt institution. It could be worth nothing. The second is cash – ready, handy, and extremely useful.

In a financial emergency, there won’t be a liquor store in town that won’t welcome you as a customer. A Greek butcher… also to Associated Press:

“I have no cash to pay for meat supplies for next week because of the capital controls. Sooner or later, probably in this month, I’ll have to let 10 people go.

The people are buying with cash, not credit cards, and the problem is the customers don’t have cash.”

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

 

 

And So It Begins – Greek Banks Get Shut Down For A Week And A ‘Grexit’ Is Now Probable

And So It Begins – Greek Banks Get Shut Down For A Week And A ‘Grexit’ Is Now Probable

Greece Financial MeltdownIs this the beginning of the end for the eurozone?  For years, European officials have been trying to “fix Greece”, but nothing has worked.  Now a worst case scenario is rapidly unfolding, and a “Grexit” has become more likely than not.  On Sunday, the European Central Bank announced that it was not going to provide any more emergency support for Greek banks.  But that was the only thing keeping them alive.  In order to prevent total chaos, Greek banks have been shut down for at least a week.  ATMs are still open, but it is being reported that daily withdrawals will be limited to 60 euros.  Of course nobody knows for sure if or when the banks will reopen after this “bank holiday” is over, so needless to say average Greek citizens are pretty freaked out right about now.  In addition, the stock market in Greece is not going to open on Monday either.  This is what a national financial meltdown looks like, and the nightmare that has been unleashed in Greece will soon start spreading to much of the rest of Europe.

This reminds me so much of what happened in Cyprus.  Up until the very last minute, politicians were promising everyone that their money was perfectly safe, and then the hammer was brought down.

The exact same pattern is playing out in Greece.  For example, just check out what one very prominent Greek politician said on television on Saturday

“Citizens should not be scared, there is no blackmail,” Panos Kammenos, head of the government’s coalition ally, told local television. “The banks won’t shut, the ATMs will (have cash). All this is exaggeration,” he said.

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

 

 

 

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