Home » Posts tagged 'banks'

Tag Archives: banks

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

“Inflation” and America’s Accelerating Class War

“Inflation” and America’s Accelerating Class War

Those who don’t see the fragmentation, the scarcities and the battlelines being drawn will be surprised by the acceleration of the unraveling.

I recently came across the idea that inflation is a two-factor optimization problem: inflation is necessary for the macro-economy (or so we’re told) and so the trick for policy makers (and their statisticians who measure the economy) is to maximize inflation in the economy but only to the point that it doesn’t snuff out businesses and starve workers to death.

From this perspective, households have to grin and bear the negative consequences of inflation for the good of the whole economy.

This narrative, so typical of economics, ignores the core reality of “inflation” in America: it’s a battleground for the class war that’s accelerating. Allow me to explain.

“Inflation” affects different classes very differently. I put “inflation” in italics because it’s not one phenomenon, it’s numerous phenomena crammed into one deceptively simple word.

When “inflation” boosts the value of homes, stocks, bonds, diamonds, quatloos etc. to the moon, those who own these assets are cheering. When “inflation” reduces the purchasing power of wages, those whose only income is earned from their labor suffer a decline in their lifestyles as their wages buy fewer goods and services.

They are suffering while the wealthy owners of soaring assets are cheering.

The Federal Reserve and federal authorities are not neutral observers in this war. The Fed only cares about two things: enriching the banking sector and further enriching the already-rich.

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

The anatomy of a financial crisis

In this blog, we present the anatomy of a financial crisis. A characteristic feature of a banking crisis is that it tends to follow, more-or-less, the same path regardless of the ‘shock’ or ‘trigger’ that initiates it.

The next phase of the crisis is likely to be a global financial crisis, as we have been anticipating for quite some time (see, e.g., Q-Review 4/2017). However, few understand what a financial crisis is, though it is probably among the most feared economic phenomena of mankind.

So, let’s dive in.

The initiation

If a banking system is sound and robust, it can usually withstand financial and economic shocks.

But a banking system may be fragile. Usually this is due to high leverage levels, where banks have either lent aggressively or carry risky financial investments on their balance sheets—usually both. Banks can also have a weak financial position, with chronically low profitability and insufficient reserves. As we have explained earlier, this is exactly the state the European banking sector finds itself in.

The onset of a financial crisis requires a trigger. The most common is a recession or the expectation of recession among consumers and investors.

Recession leads to diminished income and defaults by both corporations and households. This increases the share of non-performing loans in bank loan portfolios, reducing the value of loan collateral and increasing bank risks and capital needs. As write-downs and losses increase, mistrust among other banks and depositors and investors does as well. The bank’s share price will usually start to reflect this.

A ‘bank run’

If suspicion spreads, banks will be apprehensive about counterparty risk and will be unwilling to lend to one another even on an overnight basis.  If allowed to continue, this will have a calamitous impact on liquidity in money markets.

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

On Inflation (& How It’s Not What Happens Next)

Everyone is convinced the dollar is going to inflate because more dollars are entering the system.

But are they really?

That is the question that sparked a succinct Twitter thread by Travis K (@ColoradoTravis) explaining why inflation is not what happens next (emphasis ours):

Let’s take a look at how dollars are born and how they die.

A dollar is ‘born’ when a loan is made against collateral on a bank’s balance sheet. Banks can issue multiples of dollars for every dollar of collateral they have.

It’s this multiplication effect that expands the amount of total dollars.

Generally, banks are limited in how much they can lend – let’s say it’s 10x their collateral. So for every dollar of collateral they have, they can lend 10 dollars.

By so lending, they ‘birth’ new dollars into the system.

As banks lend more, more dollars are created and the money supply increases. This multiplicative lending is the chief driver of total dollars in the system.

Banks lending a lot → more total dollars and inflation.

When do dollars die?

Dollars ‘die’ when debts are paid back. This reverses the multiplication effect of lending, leading to less total dollars in the system and a contraction of total dollars in circulation.

So what is the Fed ‘printer’ doing – creating dollars, right? Actually no, not really.

The printer only increases the collateral banks have to lend against. It does not directly ‘birth’ dollars, only *potential* dollars.

Banks are still the midwives, and the only ones who birth dollars into the system by lending.

The Fed can increase collateral by 1000x but unless the banks lend against that collateral, dollars will not enter circulation for you and I to interact with.

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

Turkey’s 2nd Financial & Currency Crisis in 2 Years Blossoms. Heavily Invested European Banks Look for Exit. But Not the Most Exposed Bank

Turkey’s 2nd Financial & Currency Crisis in 2 Years Blossoms. Heavily Invested European Banks Look for Exit. But Not the Most Exposed Bank

Big Gamble that was hot for years has gone sour after Turkish lira’s plunge and surge of defaults on bank debts denominated in foreign currency.

As the Turkish lira logged fresh record lows against both the dollar and the euro on Friday, and is now down 19% this year against the dollar, attention is turning once again to the potential risks facing lenders. They include a handful of very big Eurozone banks that are heavily exposed to Turkey’s economy via large amounts in loans — much of it in euros — through banks they acquired in Turkey. And the strains are beginning to replay those of the last currency/financial crisis in 2018.

When the Money Runs Out…

Subordinate bonds of Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS, which is majority owned by Spanish lender BBVA, together with two other local banks — Turkiye Is Bankasi AS and Akbank TAS — are trading at distressed levels (yields of over 10 percentage points above U.S. Treasuries), even though the banks are still profitable and said to be highly capitalized. This is an indication of the amount of confidence investors have in the ability of these companies to repay their obligations.

Three weeks ago, when the lira was trading within a tight band against the dollar — the result of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) pegging the lira to the dollar by burning through billions of dollars of already depleted foreign-exchange reserves and dollars borrowed from Turkish banks — no corporate bonds in Turkey were trading at these levels. Now that the CBRT has stopped propping up the lira, which has since fallen 7% against the dollar, the average risk premium demanded by investors to hold dollar-denominated notes of Turkish businesses has soared.

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

Nobody Knows How to Ever Get Out of This Mess

Nobody Knows How to Ever Get Out of This Mess

“Extend and Pretend” forevermore.

This is the transcript of my podcast last Sunday, THE WOLF STREET REPORT. You can listen to it on YouTube, and you can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts,  iHeart Radio, and others.

Until a few months ago, most Americans didn’t even know what “forbearance” was. Now, roughly four million home mortgages, or about 8% of all home mortgages, are in forbearance. Those four million households with mortgages in forbearance might still not fully understand what forbearance is, but they know one thing: They don’t have to make mortgage payments for a while, and they get to spend that money on other things instead of sending it to the bank.

There are forbearance deals offered by lenders for credit cards and auto loans. I don’t owe any balances on my credit cards and I don’t have an auto loan, but my inbox gets blasted with offers of forbearance anyway, by every bank I do business with.

My WOLF STREET media mogul empire too. It’s just a tiny business, and it doesn’t owe any money, but sure enough, my bank is offering “assistance” with those debts that my business doesn’t have.

When a lender agrees to grant the borrower forbearance, the lender agrees to not exercise its rights when the borrower doesn’t make the loan payments. There is an agreement both parties sign, and this forbearance agreement determines, among other things, the period of forbearance, and what happens afterwards. And afterwards those missed payments will have to be made up somehow. Forbearance is not forgiveness.

But a forbearance agreement can be extended, if both parties agree to do so. In banker’s lingo, it’s called “extend and pretend.”

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

The Bottom’s Falling Out

The Bottom’s Falling Out

Imagine you’re standing across the street from a house that’s on the verge of falling apart, a condemned building, an edifice devoured by rot from bottom to top. Now imagine you see a construction crew arriving to repair it, and they start to fix the roof. You would think that’s not much use if the walls, floor and foundation are just one wolf’s huff and puff away from collapse.

Still, that is what the world’s central banks are doing today: they “fix” the top by bailing out banks and allege that somehow that will fix the rest of the edifice too. In that same analogy, while central banks prop up banks, governments try to support the walls, by bailing out businesses. Again, while the floors and foundations keep on rotting away. And when the floors cave in, so of course will the walls, just like the roof.

There may appear to be some logic to all this, but it’s only the “inner logic” of an economic and political ideology that deals exclusively with how things should be, not how they are. Of course it’s nice to have a shiny new roof, and strong walls. But neither have any value if there are no more floors to support them.

This is what is happening today to our economies and societies. The 2008 crisis wasn’t bad enough to expose the failures of the “inner logic” of the system, but the fallout of COVID19 will be. And it’s not the virus that does it all, or the lockdowns, they merely expose a system that’s been rotting for many years without its floors and foundations ever being repaired.

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

Big Banks Win, You Lose (Volume 32,836)

Big Banks Win, You Lose (Volume 32,836)

bank risk

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the “Volcker Rule” was intended to prevent big banks from taking irresponsible risks.

It’s named after a former Fed Chair, the late Paul Volcker, who used this concept to curb out-of-control inflation in the 1980s.

But in spite of an already-uncertain economy, regulators are now proposing to ease these rules. According to CNBC:

The Volcker Rule was designed to prevent banks from acting like hedge funds. The general principle is that they are allowed to facilitate trades for clients, but not allowed to strap on risk for big proprietary bets.

The amount of risk a big bank can take on is about to change, thanks to the easing of these regulations.

The same CNBC article points out: “The change, which was floated earlier this year, will allow banks to invest more of their own capital in venture capital funds that invest in start-ups and small businesses alongside clients.”

So basically, the money you deposit into your bank account can be used by your bank for riskier investments that have greater potential of backfiring.

According to a ThinkAdvisor article, one of the reasons these changes were proposed in the first place was the difficulty in deciding which investments did or did not pass the Volcker Rule:

FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams argued when the final changes passed that simplifying the post-crisis Volcker Rule, ushered in by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, was needed, as Volcker has been “the most challenging to implement” for regulators and the industry. “Distinguishing between what qualifies as proprietary trading and what does not has proven to be extremely difficult,” she said.

Now that the changes are finalized, an estimated $40 billion could be freed up. It gives the impression of a “backdoor bank bailout” being given to banks, which were feeling financial pressure thanks to COVID-19 lockdowns.

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

Robert Kiyosaki: “I was told not to talk about this”

ROBERT KIYOSAKI: “I WAS TOLD NOT TO TALK ABOUT THIS”

Robert Kiyosaki has been on the front lines warning people of what’s coming. He continues to speak up, even though he was told to “stay in your lane” and not alert the public to what’s going on right in front of them, with their unknowing consent.

Kiyosaki also says that he doesn’t know what’s coming, but that something bigger is coming our way.  As a person speaking out against the ruling class, the elitists, and their system of control and slavery, he could be at the forefront of waking people up. Those still stuck in the left/right paradigm, regardless of the side you choose are going to have to make the worst of choices in the coming future.

Robert Kiyosaki: What The Elites Don’t Want You To Know

Ultimately, Kiyosaki appears to have the same goal as I do right now: waking people up and getting them to leave the Matrix. This is a tough spot to be in because those who still think the ruling class and Donald Trump will save them are going be hurt. The truth is, you are going to have to save yourself, and I agree wholeheartedly with Kiyosaki on that. No government, no false savior (Trump), no bankster, not elitist, no other human is coming to save you.  You must wake up, leave the system, and save yourself.

Is this redundant in recent articles? You bet. But far too many are still stuck in a state of hopeful unawareness of what’s really going on all to support a member of the ruling class who has done nothing but advance the elitists’ agenda. And yes, I mean Trump. Look, it was a tough pill for me to swallow too, and I’ll admit it.

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

Big Banks Report Their Ultra-Wealthy Clients Are Rushing Into Gold

Big Banks Report Their Ultra-Wealthy Clients Are Rushing Into Gold

gold
Photo by Wikipedia.org CC BY | Photoshopped

This week, Your News to Know rounds up the latest top stories involving gold and the overall economy. Stories include: The ultra-wealthy aren’t sold on the stock market recovery, Powell’s dovishness boosts gold prices, and Goldman rolls out yet another optimistic forecast for gold.

Big banks are moving their clients’ assets into gold as the stock market soars

Reuters recently spoke to representatives of nine big banks, which manage around $6 trillion of wealth for the world’s ultra-rich. And, in stark contrast to the action in the stock market, gold appears to be the asset of choice for both money managers and the clients themselves.

Of the banks that provided a forecast for gold prices, all four are calling for higher prices by the end of the year. Additionally, all nine have recommended and adjusted to a portfolio allocation of up to 10%. The respondents cited gold’s ability to shield investors against both inflation and deflation, as well as a variety of other downturns, as the main reason for rebalancing. As Lisa Shalett, Chief Investment Officer of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley noted, the bank’s clients hardly needed convincing, sharing that Morgan Stanley’s wealthy clients, with decades of experience in investment, were particularly keen to hedge their bets with gold.

Representatives of UBS, Wells Fargo Investment Institute and JPMorgan Private Bank’s United Kingdom and Ireland branch likewise stated that client interest in the metal has increased exponentially over the past few months. Andre Portelli, co-head of investments at Barclays Private Bank, pointed out that the supply glut caused by the pandemic made his bank’s clients favor bullion over other options.

In terms of forecasts, JPMorgan’s Oliver Gregson sees $1,750 as a likely target for gold by the end of the year. UBS is slightly more bullish on the metal with a year-end target of $1,800, adding that a return of coronavirus-related issues could bring the metal to $2,000.

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

Bailouts Can’t Save This Fragile System

Bailouts Can’t Save This Fragile System

Bailouts Can’t Save This Fragile System

It’s obvious the global economy is painfully fragile. What is less obvious is the bailouts intended to “save” the fragile economy actually increase its fragility, setting up an inevitable collapse of the entire precarious system.

Systems that are highly centralized, i.e., dependent on a handful of nodes that are each points of failure — are intrinsically fragile and prone to collapse.

Put another way, systems in which all the critical nodes are tightly bound are prone to domino-like cascades of failure as any one point of failure quickly disrupts every other critical node that is bound to it.

Ours is an economy in which capital, wealth, power and control are concentrated in a few nodes of the network we call “the economy.”

A handful of corporations own the vast majority of the media; a handful of banks control most of the lending and capital; a handful of hospital chains, pharmaceutical companies and insurers control health care; and so on.

Control of digital technologies is even more concentrated, in virtual monopolies: Google for search and YouTube for video. Facebook/Instagram and Twitter for social media. Microsoft and Apple for operating systems and services.

The vast majority of participants in the economy are tightly bound to these concentrated nodes of capital and power, and these top-down, hierarchical dependencies generate fragility.

When unexpectedly severe volatility occurs, the disruption of a few nodes brings down the entire system. Thus the disruption of the subprime mortgage subsystem — a relatively small part of the total mortgage market and a tiny slice of the global financial system — nearly brought down the entire global financial system in 2008 because it is a tightly bound system of centralized concentrations of capital, power and control.

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

European Banks Reveal Scale & Complexity of Crisis. Shares Hammered Back to 1987 Level

European Banks Reveal Scale & Complexity of Crisis. Shares Hammered Back to 1987 Level

They haven’t gotten over Financial Crisis 1 and the Euro Debt Crisis. Now there’s a new crisis. Deutsche Bank’s CEO going on TV to soothe nerves didn’t help matters.

The biggest European banks have started to report their earnings against a bleak backdrop of locked down economies, plunging economic activity, surging business closures and rising loan defaults. Each earnings call laid bare the scale, scope and complexity of the problems and challenges facing a European banking sector that never really recovered from their last two crises — the Global Financial Crisis followed by the Euro Debt Crisis.

The Stoxx 600 Banks index, which covers major European banks, fell 4.5% on Thursday. Today, continental European stock markets were closed (May Day), but the London Stock Exchange was open, and the index ticked down another 1% (to 88.8). The Stoxx 600 Banks index has already collapsed by 40% since Feb 17, when the Coronavirus began spreading through northern Italy. After the initial 40%-plus plunge in late February and early March, the index has remained in the same dismally low range:

On April 21, the Stoxx 600 Banks Index had closed at 79.8, down 83% since its peak in May 2007, and the lowest since 1987. The following day, the ECB announced it was going to accept junk bonds as collateral when banks borrow from it. Yesterday, the ECB was excepted to go even further and announce that it would actually buy junk-rated bonds, as the Federal Reserve announced a few weeks ago. But the ECB didn’t announce it, and the Fed hasn’t bought any junk bonds yet either.

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

Banks Will Not Bail Out The Economy

Banks Will Not Bail Out The Economy

These days, we hear a lot that banks were the problem in the 2008 crisis and now they are the part of the solution. 

Banking was not the main problem of the 2008 crisis, but one of the symptoms that indicated a more serious disease, the excess risk taken by public and private economic agents after massive interest rate cuts and direct incentives to take more debt coming from legislation as well as local and supranational regulation. Lehman Brothers was not a cause, it was a consequence of years of legislation and monetary policies that encouraged risk-taking.

The second part of the sentence, “now banks are the solution,” is dangerous. It starts from a wrong premise, that banks are stronger than ever and can bail out the global economy. Banking may be part of the solution, but we cannot place, as the eurozone is doing, the entire burden of the crisis on the banks’ balance sheet. I will explain why.

When economists in Europe talk endlessly about the differences in growth and success of monetary and fiscal policy between the United States and Europe, many ignore two key factors. In the United States, according to the St Louis Federal Reserve, less than 15% of the real economy is financed through the banking channel, in the European Union, it is almost 80%. In addition, in the United States, there is an open, diversified, more efficient and faster mechanism to clean non-performing loans and recapitalize the economy that adds to its high diversification in private non-bank financing channels. 

It is, therefore, essential that in periods of crisis countries, particularly in Europe, do not relax risk analysis mechanisms, because the economic recovery may be slowed down by ongoing problems in the financial sector and even lead to a banking crisis in the midterm. The worst measure that countries can take in a crisis is to force incentives to take a disproportionate risk.

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

FDIC asks Americans to keep their money in the banks

FDIC asks Americans to keep their money in the banks

Yesterday the Chair of the FDIC released an astonishing video asking Americans to keep their money in the bank.

Accompanied by soft piano music playing in the background, the official said:

“Your money is safe at the banks. The last thing you should be doing is pulling your money out of the banks thinking it’s going to be safer somewhere else.”

Amazing. I was half expecting her to waive her hand and say, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…”

As I’ve written before, there’s $250 TRILLION worth of debt in the world right now: student debt, housing debt, credit card debt, government debt, corporate debt, etc.

And let’s be honest, some of that debt is simply not going to be paid.

Millions of people have already lost their jobs. Millions more (like the 10 million waiters and bartenders across America) are barely earning anything right now because their businesses are closed.

A lot of those folks have no emergency savings to fall back on during times of crisis, so they’re going to be forced to choose: pay the rent, or buy food.

The government has already suspended evictions and foreclosures, which is a green light for people to stop paying the rent or mortgage.

And that means banks will take it in the teeth.

This is what happened back in 2008– millions of people across the country stopped paying their mortgages, and the banking system nearly collapsed as a result.

Today it’s a similar situation; a lot of people are going to stop paying their mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, etc. And that directly impacts the banks.

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

Banks are going to drown in an ocean of defaults

Banks are going to drown in an ocean of defaults

On November 6, 2000, then US presidential candidate George W. Bush told a crowd of cheering supporters, “they misunderestimated me.”

Now, if English is not your native language, allow me to clear the air: ‘misunderestimate’ is not a word. But then again, George W. Bush was legendary for hilarious slip-ups like this.

There are entire books dedicated to his ‘Bushisms,’ the ridiculous made-up words and incomprehensible sayings that became routine for the 43rd US President.

‘Misunderestimate’ seems to be a conflation of the words ‘misunderstand’ and ‘underestimate’. And while that was utterly hysterical 20 years ago when Bush first said it, ‘misunderestimate’ may be the most appropriate word of today.

The entire world has completely ‘misunderestimated’ the Corona Virus.

In terms of misunderstand– that’s obvious. There’s so much that we don’t know about the virus (officially known as SARS-CoV-2) and the disease that it causes (COVID-19).

For example, a group of researchers published a “peer-reviewed” research paper earlier this month stating that the virus had split into multiple strains.

(Peer-reviewed is a type of self-regulation among academics; it means the paper had been evaluated by other experts before it was published.)

But other specialists in the field strongly disagreed with the paper’s conclusions.

Swiss biologist Richard Neher described the research as, “wrong, misleading. . . downright dangerous inferences,” while Australian virologist Ian Mackay called it a “weak paper and poor science.”

Another peer-reviewed study released in the Journal of Medical Virology concluded that the virus originated from snakes. But plenty of experts disagreed with that assertion too.

The scientific community has learned so much about SARS-CoV-2 since it first surfaced a few months ago.

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

America Is The 4th Worst Abuser Of Biometric Privacy Rights In The World

America Is The 4th Worst Abuser Of Biometric Privacy Rights In The World

credit: Comparitech

Does anyone really believe America is still the land of the free? 
Since 9/11, DHS, the FBI, the CIA, and countless other alphabet soup agencies have turned the United States into a public surveillance monstrosity.
In 19 years, one terrorist attack has done what no one else could have dreamed of: turn America’s freedoms into a distant memory.
Abusing citizen’s rights and privacy used to be the hallmark of dictatorships and police states like the CCCP or North Korea.
A recent study conducted by Comparitech, rated 50 countries from best to worst at protecting citizen’s biometric data.
The study found that America is one of the world’s worst abusers of citizen’s biometric privacy.

“While China topping the list perhaps doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, residents of (and travelers to) other countries may be surprised and concerned at the extent of biometric information that is being collected on them and what is happening to it afterward.”

This really should not come as a surprise, because last year Comparitech revealed that American and Chinese cities lead the world in spying on their citizens. Last week, I wrote an article explaining how 2019 would go down as the year that facial recognition and corporate surveillance became commonplace in America.

Comparitech’s recent study on biometric privacy compared how 50 countries collect and use data to identify innocent people:

  • Many countries collect travelers’ biometric data, often through visas or biometric checks at airports
  • Every country we studied is using biometrics for bank accounts, e.g. fingerprints to access online app data and/or to confirm identities within the banks themselves
  • Despite many countries recognizing biometric data as sensitive, increased biometric use is widely accepted
  • Facial recognition CCTV is being implemented in a large number of countries, or at least being tested

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase