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Half The World’s Banks Won’t Survive The Next Crisis, McKinsey Finds

Half The World’s Banks Won’t Survive The Next Crisis, McKinsey Finds 

More than half of the world’s banks are at risk of collapse in the next global downturn if they don’t start preparing for late-cycle shocks, McKinsey & Company warned in its latest global banking outlook. 

The consultancy firm warned on Monday, in a 55-page report titled The last pit stop? Time for bold late-cycle moves, that 35% of banks globally are “subscale” and will have to merge or sell to larger firms if they want to survive the next crisis. 

“A decade on from the global financial crisis, signs that the banking industry has entered the late phase of the economic cycle are clear: growth in volumes and top-line revenues is slowing, with loan growth of just 4% in 2018—the lowest in the past five years and a good 150 basis points (bps) below nominal GDP growth. Yield curves are also flattening. And, although valuations fluctuate, investor confidence in banks is weakening once again,” McKinsey said. 

Kausik Rajgopal, a senior partner at McKinsey, told Bloomberg that “we believe we’re in the late economic cycle and banks need to make bold moves now because they are not in great shape,” adding that, “in the late cycle, nobody can afford to rest on their laurels.”

The report warned that 60% of global banks are experiencing “returns below the cost of equity.” And even warned that when the next recession strikes, “negative interest rates could wreak further havoc.” 

McKinsey said fin-tech startups are rapidly evolving the industry, and legacy banks risk “becoming footnotes to history” if they don’t immediately invest in technology. For instance, the report said, Amazon and Ping An are two technology firms that are quickly acquiring market share from the traditional banking sector. 

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

Underestimating Them & Overestimating Us

UNDERESTIMATING THEM & OVERESTIMATING US

“Do not underestimate the ‘power of underestimation’. They can’t stop you, if they don’t see you coming.” ― Izey Victoria Odiase

Image result for bernanke, yellen, powell

During the summer of 2008 I was writing articles a few times per week predicting an economic catastrophe and a banking crisis. When the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression swept across the world, resulting in double digit unemployment, a 50% stock market crash in a matter of months, millions of home foreclosures, and the virtual insolvency of the criminal Wall Street banks, my predictions were vindicated. I was pretty smug and sure the start of this Fourth Turning would follow the path of the last Crisis, with a Greater Depression, economic disaster and war.

In the summer of 2008, the national debt stood at $9.4 trillion, which amounted to 65% of GDP. Total credit market debt peaked at $54 trillion. Consumer debt peaked at $2.7 trillion. Mortgage debt crested at $14.8 trillion. The Federal Reserve balance sheet had been static at or below $900 billion for years.

During 2007, a risk averse senior citizen couple (my parents) who had accumulated $200,000 of retirement savings over their lifetime of hard work, could generate $10,000 of interest income in a Vanguard money market fund yielding 5%. This supplemented their modest Social Security income of $20,000 to $30,000 per year. The interest rate on savings during normal economic times was generally 2% above inflation, which hovered around 3% in 2007 according to the data manipulators at the BLS.

As the summer of 2008 progressed, I felt more disconnected. I had been doing everything possible to support Ron Paul’s candidacy for president, but the masses weren’t ready for the truth or the reality of our situation. In my opinion the country was already off-course and headed towards a debt created disaster. 

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

GOLDNOMICS PODCAST: Prepare Now As Risk Of Contagion In Today’s Fragile Monetary World

GOLDNOMICS PODCAST: Prepare Now As Risk Of Contagion In Today’s Fragile Monetary World 

◆ GOLDNOMICS PODCAST – Episode 13 – Lucky for some !

◆ Why is nobody talking about the real risk of contagion to investors, savers & companies?

Listen or Watch Podcast Here

◆ While all the focus in the UK, Ireland and the EU is on Brexit, the risk of another debt crisis looms as companies, banks, governments and the global economy grapple with massive levels of debt
◆ “Contagion will impact stocks, bonds and deposits and both investments and savings across the spectrum” 
◆ Prepare for the 4 C’s:  i) Counter party risk  ii) Credit and debt crisis  iii) Currency wars and  iv) Contagion 
◆ Complex financial & technology systems in the fintech age make the counter parties which investors and savers rely on more fragile. This highlights the need for direct and outright legal ownership of tangible assets
◆ Financial, economic and monetary contagion risk underlines the importance of real diversification and owning gold in the safest ways possible

We Finally Understand How Destructive Negative Interest Rates Actually Are

We Finally Understand How Destructive Negative Interest Rates Actually Are

We are in the midst of a strange economic experiment. Vast quantities of negative-yielding debt are currently sloshing around the global economy. While the amount of negative-yielding bonds has dropped recently from a mind-boggling number in excess of $17 trillion, reinvigorated central bank easing across the globe ensures that this reduction is only temporary.

We are slowly starting to understand how destructive negative interest rates actually are. Central banks control short-term interest rates in an economy by setting the rate banks receive on their deposits, that is, on the reserves they hold at the central bank. A new development is the control central banks now exert over long-term rates through their asset purchase, or “QE” programs.

Banks profit from the interest rate differential between “lending long” but “borrowing short”. Essentially, the difference between lending and deposit rates determine a bank’s profitability. However, with today’s very low interest rates, this difference becomes almost non-existent, and with negative rates, inverts completely.

When a central bank pushes rates to negative, banks need to pay interest on the reserves they hold there. But they are not relieved of the obligation they have to pay interest on customer deposits, who are understandably reluctant to pay interest on money they place at a bank. Consequently, the whole earnings logic of banking goes haywire if banks are required to pay interest on loans and receive interest on deposits. As profit margins of banks are squeezed, profitability falls and lending activities suffer.

However, the problems created by negative interest rates do not stop there. In 2008, an influential article describing the economic malaise in Japan after the financial crash of the early 1990s found that instead of calling-in or refusing to refinance existing debts, large Japanese banks kept loans flowing to otherwise insolvent borrowers.

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

Do Banks Require Savings to Accommodate Demand for Lending?

DO BANKS REQUIRE SAVINGS TO ACCOMMODATE DEMAND FOR LENDING?

There is an emerging view held by many commentators that it is banks and not the central bank that are key for the expansion of money. This way of thinking is promoted these days by the followers of the post Keynesian school of economics (PK).[1] In a research paper by the Bank of England’s Zoltan Jakab and Michael Kurnhof, they suggest that

In the intermediation of loanable funds model of banking, banks accept deposits of pre-existing real resources from savers and then lend them to borrowers. In the real world, banks provide financing through money creation. That is they create deposits of new money through lending, and in doing so are mainly constrained by profitability and solvency considerations.[2]

It seems that for the researchers at the Bank of England and PK followers the key for money creation is demand for loans, which is accommodated by banks increasing lending. In this framework, banks do not have to be concerned with the means of lending, all that is necessary here that there is a demand for loans, which banks are going to accommodate i.e. demand creates supply.

According to the Bank of England researchers,

In the real world, the key function of banks is the provision of financing, or the creation of new monetary purchasing power through loans, for a single agent that is both borrower and depositor. The bank therefore creates its own funding, deposits, in the act of lending, in a transaction that involves no intermediation whatsoever. Third parties are only involved in that the borrower/depositor needs to be sure that others will accept his new deposit in payment for goods, services or assets. This is never in question, because bank deposits are any modern economy’s dominant medium of exchange.[3]

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

The Ghost of Failed Banks Returns

THE GHOST OF FAILED BANKS RETURNS

Last week’s failure in the US repo market might have had something to do with Deutsche Bank’s disposal of its prime brokerage to BNP, bringing an unwelcome spotlight to the troubled bank and other foreign banks with prime brokerages in America. There are also worrying similarities between Germany’s Deutsche Bank today and Austria’s Credit-Anstalt in 1931, only the scale is far larger and additionally includes derivatives with a gross value of $50 trillion.

If the repo problem spreads, it could also raise questions over the synthetic ETF industry, whose cash and deposits may face escalating counterparty risks in some of the large banks and their prime brokerages. Managers of synthetic ETFs should be urgently re-evaluating their contractual relationships.

Whoever the repo failure involved, it is likely to prove a watershed moment, causing US bankers to more widely consider their exposure to counterparty risk and risky loans, particularly leveraged loans and their collateralised form in CLOs. The deterioration in global trade prospects, as well as the US economic outlook and the likelihood that reducing dollar interest rates to the zero bound will prove insufficient to reverse a decline, will take on a new relevance to their decisions.

Problems under the surface

Last week, something unusual happened: instead of the more normal reverse repurchase agreements, the Fed escalated its repurchase agreements (repos). For the avoidance of doubt, a reverse repo by the Fed involves the Fed borrowing money from commercial banks, secured by collateral held on its balance sheet, typically US Treasury bills. Reverse repos withdraw liquidity from the banking system. With a repo, the opposite happens: the Fed takes in collateral from the banking system and lends money against the collateral, injecting liquidity into the system. The use of reverse repos can be regarded as the Fed’s principal liquidity management tool when the banks have substantial reserves parked with the Fed, which is the case today.

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

Banks Seek Lower Credit Score Requirements, Targeting Over 50 Million New Subprime Borrowers

Banks Seek Lower Credit Score Requirements, Targeting Over 50 Million New Subprime Borrowers

When the next bubble bursts – and it will – be sure to take a look back at this article. It might help explain some things.  Lenders, seemingly unhappy with the vast avalanche of debt they’ve issued over the last decade, are now looking to “move the goalposts” in order to be able to lend even more money to even less creditworthy individuals.

Gone are the old days of relying on a consumer’s borrowing history to determine creditworthiness, and instead lenders now look at such bizarre trivia as magazine subscriptions and phone bills to decide how much should be lent to potential borrowers. Banks like Goldman Sachs Group, Ally Financial and Discover are now experimenting with the new metrics.

The changes are seismic for many large banks, who spent the last 10 years targeting only extremely credit-worthy borrowers. But, as we all know too well, when that pool runs out the show must go on by any means possible. And that is how we got to no-doc loans and subprime CDOs just before the last bubble burst.

At stake is a lot of potential money: banks are targeting the estimated 53 million U.S. adults that don’t have credit scores and 56 million that have subprime scores. The banks claim that many of these people don’t have traditional borrowing backgrounds, often times because they pay in cash or are new to the U.S. That doesn’t make them bad debt slaves prospects, however. Quite the opposite.

The timing also couldn’t be any better: US consumer debt is higher than ever, as Americans continue to borrow in order to finance everything from cars, college, housing and medical care. 

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

The Guide To Real History

The Guide To Real History

In the last two centuries, all wars have been machinations orchestrated by bankers pursuing two very simple objectives: profit and a world domination that bears a name: the New World Order.

Education and medias are the main culprits to blame for keeping the important role of bankers in the dark shadows of history. The genuine relevance of Rothschild, Rockefeller, Warburg, Morgan and their peers is voluntarily kept hidden from public scrutiny, so that any investigator that digs in the realms of our past can easily be discredited as a «conspiracy theorist». Author Carroll Quigley once had full access to the Council on foreign relations documents and he confirmed the very real world banking conspiracy designed to dominate the world, in his book «Tragedy and hope».

Bizarrely, education and medias prefer to bring everything back to public figures and politicians like Churchill, Hitler or Stalin, but they will never tell you that these charismatic monsters had no money, nor created it. Hitler was a failed artist that built the most formidable war machine the world had seen in 6 years only, in a near-bankrupt country deprived of any oil production, so do you think he might have had some help?

The Grand Scheme

Before 1971, bank loans were based on their gold reserves, but no bank really owned the value in gold of the money it lent over the years, so the scheme wasn’t very different than today’s fractional system of money creation, in which banks have to own 1/10th of their loans. For example, if bank A has a million dollar, it can lend 10 millions to bank B, which can lend 100 millions to a country, since bank B owns 10 millions. This is basically how the world ended up owing 184 trillion dollars (184 000 000 000 000$) to private banks as of today.

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

The Fantasy of Central Bank “Growth” Is Finally Imploding

The Fantasy of Central Bank “Growth” Is Finally Imploding

Having destroyed discipline, central banks have no way out of the corner they’ve painted us into.

It was such a wonderful fantasy: just give a handful of bankers, financiers and corporations trillions of dollars at near-zero rates of interest, and this flood of credit and cash into the apex of the wealth-power pyramid would magically generate a new round of investments in productivity-improving infrastructure and equipment, which would trickle down to the masses in the form of higher wages, enabling the masses to borrow and spend more on consumption, powering the Nirvana of modern economics: a self-sustaining, self-reinforcing expansion of growth.

But alas, there is no self-sustaining, self-reinforcing expansion of growth; there are only massive, increasingly fragile asset bubbles, stagnant wages and a New Gilded Age as the handful of bankers, financiers and corporations that were handed unlimited nearly free money enriched themselves at the expense of everyone else.

Central banks’ near-zero interest rates and trillions in new credit destroyed discipline and price discovery, the bedrock of any economy, capitalist or socialist.

When credit is nearly free to borrow in unlimited quantities, there’s no need for discipline, and so a year of university costs $50,000 instead of $10,000, houses that should cost $200,000 now cost $1 million and a bridge that should have cost $100 million costs $500 million. Nobody can afford anything any more because the answer in the era of central bank “growth” is: just borrow more, it won’t cost you much because interest rates are so low.

And with capital (i.e. saved earnings) getting essentially zero yield thanks to central bank ZIRP and NIRP (zero or negative interest rate policies), then all the credit has poured into speculative assets, inflating unprecedented asset bubbles that will destroy much of the financial system when they finally pop, as all asset bubbles eventually do.

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

Why The Next ECB Stimulus Plan May Fail

Why The Next ECB Stimulus Plan May Fail

Why The Next ECB Stimulus Plan May Fail

In June 2014 I wrote an article called Draghi’s Plan does not fix Europe. In that article, I explained that the structural challenges of the eurozone -high government spending, excessive tax wedge, lack of technology leadership and demographics- were not going to be solved by a round of quantitative easing.

Now, the evidence of the European Union leads the ECB to hint at another stimulus plan. Gone is the triumphalism displayed by of the European Commission on August 2017 (read).  The “strong recovery” they credited to the “decisive action of the European Union” has all but disappeared. 

The slowdown in the eurozone is not similar to other economies. The ECB has slashed growth estimates consistently and currently expects a level of growth that is half of what they had projected eighteen months ago.

It is fascinating because many analysts tend to discuss the European slowdown as if the stimulus had been abandoned. Far from it. Let us remember that the European Central Bank repurchases all debt maturities in its balance sheet and that it has launched a  new liquidity injection (TLTRO) in March this year.

That is why it is appropriate to discuss the severity of the Eurozone slowdown in the context of the chain of fiscal and monetary stimuli that have been implemented. To understand the serious mistake of constantly stumbling on the same stone, we need to understand the size of the fiscal and monetary programs and their underwhelming results.

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

Hong Kong Activist Leader Calls For a Run on the Bank

Hong Kong Activist Leader Calls For a Run on the Bank

Chen Haotian asks citizens to withdraw cash deposits to target Chinese banks.

Prominent Hong Kong pro-independence political activist Chen Haotian has called for a run on Chinese banks, asking that everyone withdraw their money on the same day.

Haotian is a founding member and the convenor of the Hong Kong National Party.

Arguing that large scale protests have only led to injuries and escalating police brutality, Haotian believes another method could be used to severely undermine China’s influence – a good old fashioned run on the bank.

He suggested that another method could be used, namely, impacting the financial system,” reports China Press.

“He called on Friday (August 16) that Hong Kong citizens take out all bank deposits. The primary goal is Chinese banks, but he said other banks should also be targeted, otherwise Chinese banks can borrow money from other banks to solve problems.”

Hong Kong has been rocked by weeks of violent protests by pro-independence campaigners. Earlier this week, riot police stormed Hong Kong International Airport to clear them out.

As we reported on Tuesday, while China is unlikely to invade using PLA troops, experts have suggested that soldiers could be disguised as Hong Kong police.

The Bank’s ‘Stress’ Tests

THE BANK’S ‘STRESS’ TESTS

MY REPORT ON THE BANK OF ENGLAND’S LATEST (NOVEMBER 2018) STRESS TESTS WAS PUBLISHED BY THE ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE ON AUGUST 3RD.

The purpose of the stress tests is, in essence, to persuade us that the banking system is in good shape on the basis of a make-believe exercise which purports to show what might happen in the event of a supposed severe stress scenario as modelled by a central bank with a dodgy model and a vested interest in showing that the banking system is in great shape thanks to its own wise policies.

We are expected to believe that the central bank has managed to rebuild the banking system despite enormous pressure placed on it by the institutions it regulates, whose principal objective is to run down their capital ratios (or equivalently, maximise their leverage) in order to boost their returns on equity and resulting short-term profits, and never mind the systemic risks and associated costs imposed on everyone else or the damage their high leverage did in the Global Financial Crisis.

These latest Bank of England’s stress tests were published in the Bank’s November 2018 Financial Stability Report, the core message of which was that the UK banking system was doing just great, but that a No-Deal Brexit would be a disaster. Wrong on both counts.

I will focus here on the first issue, the state of the banking system.

In essence, the Bank paints a reassuring picture of bank resilience. The message is that the UK banking system is now so strong that it could sail through another crisis that is more severe than the last one and still be in good shape. How do we know this? Because the stress tests tell us, claims the Bank. However, the truth is that the Bank’s stress tests are useless at detecting bank fragility.

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

Chinese Banks No Longer Trust One Another As Repo Rates Skyrocket

Chinese Banks No Longer Trust One Another As Repo Rates Skyrocket

For those who have grown bored with the ongoing US-China trade war whose escalation was obvious to all but the dumbest BTFD algos, the biggest news of the past week was that yet another Chinese bank was bailed out by the Chinese government – the third in the past three months – and a substantial one at that: with over 1.4 trillion yuan in assets ($200BN), Hang Feng Bank’s nationalization was certainly large enough to make a dent on the Chinese financial system and on the Chinese Sovereign Wealth Fund, which drew the short straw and was told to bailout the troubled Chinese bank (more here).

Hang Feng’s bailout followed those of Baoshang and Bank of Jinzhou, which means that 3 of the top 4 most troubled banks have now been either nationalized by an SOE or seized by the government, which is effectively the same thing.

Of course, to regular readers this development was hardly surprising, especially after our post in mid-July when we saw the $40 trillion Chinese banking system approach its closest encounter with the proverbial “Lehman moment” yet, when inexplicably the four-day repo rate on China’s government bonds (i.e., the cost for investors to pledge their Chinese government bond holdings for short-term funding) on the Shanghai exchange briefly spiked to 1,000% in afternoon trading.

While some attributed the surge to a fat finger, far more ominous signs were already present, and in the aftermath of the Baoshang failure, which has sent Chinese banking stocks tumbling, one-day and seven-day weighted average borrowing rates had remained low thanks to huge central bank cash injections – such as the 250BN yuan we described back in May  – longer tenors such as the 1 month repo have marched sharply higher.

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

Hong Kong Riots Reveal A Looming Crisis At The World’s 6th Largest Bank

Hong Kong Riots Reveal A Looming Crisis At The World’s 6th Largest Bank

Earlier today, in addition to the chaos surrounding the escalation of the US-China trade and currency war, we also got news which slipped under the radar that the CEO of HSBC, one which with $2.6 trillion in assets is the largest UK bank and the 6th largest bank in the world by assets, was unexpectedly quitting and his departure would also lead to mass layoffs, with the bank set to fire 4,000 workers, or about 2% of its workforce.

And while today’s market massacre succeeded in sweeping the HSBC news under the rug, one can’t help but wonder: is HSBC, which has had almost as many run-ins with the law as one particular infamous German bank, going to be the next Deutsche Bank?

For the answer we went to one of our blogging friends who runs the Strategic Macro blog, and who conveniently took a look at some of the cockroaches in HSBC’s basement. What he found was troubling, especially in light of the ongoing turmoil in Hong Kong which at any given moment is just a few minutes away and a false flag provocation away from a Chinese invasion.

Courtesy of the Strategic Macro blog, we present:

HSBC’s exposure to Hong Kong real estate

So conventional wisdom is that post-Basel III the banks hold a lot of capital against loans and are run conservatively. And in a normalised market this is very true I think.

However when you are calculating LTVs and RWAs and PDs against bubble valuation levels, are they still appropriate? If you calculated it against replacement costs, the LTVs would go through the roof, and so would RWAs and the banks would be left with an CET tier 1 equity deficit to be covered by a rights issue. Any losses and higher RWAs on impaired loans would further cost equity.

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

A Bank With 49 Trillion Dollars In Exposure To Derivatives Is Melting Down Right In Front Of Our Eyes

A Bank With 49 Trillion Dollars In Exposure To Derivatives Is Melting Down Right In Front Of Our Eyes

Could it be possible that we are on the verge of the next “Lehman Brothers moment”?  Deutsche Bank is the most important bank in all of Europe, it has 49 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives, and most of the largest “too big to fail banks” in the United States have very deep financial connections to the bank.  In other words, the global financial system simply cannot afford for Deutsche Bank to fail, and right now it is literally melting down right in front of our eyes.  For years I have been warning that this day would come, and even though it has been hit by scandal after scandal, somehow Deutsche Bank was able to survive until now.  But after what we have witnessed in recent days, many now believe that the end is near for Deutsche Bank.  On July 7th, they really shook up investors all over the globe when they laid off 18,000 employees and announced that they would be completely exiting their global equities trading business

It takes a lot to rattle Wall Street.

But Deutsche Bank managed to. The beleaguered German giant announced on July 7 that it is laying off 18,000 employees—roughly one-fifth of its global workforce—and pursuing a vast restructuring plan that most notably includes shutting down its global equities trading business.

Though Deutsche’s Bloody Sunday seemed to come out of the blue, it’s actually the culmination of a years-long—some would say decades-long—descent into unprofitability and scandal for the bank, which in the early 1990s set out to make itself into a universal banking powerhouse to rival the behemoths of Wall Street.

These moves may delay Deutsche Bank’s inexorable march into oblivion, but not by much.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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