banking crisis

Podcast

Bill Black: The Banks Have Blood on Their Hands

And our regulators are too fearful to act
Saturday, July 13, 2013, 9:13 PM

We invited Bill Black to return to explain whether the level of systemic risk due to fraud in our financial markets has improved or worsened since the dire situation he painted for us in early 2012. Sadly, it looks like abuse by the big players has only flourished since then.

In the U.S., our regulators have publicly embraced a "too big to prosecute" doctrine. We are restraining, underfunding, and dismantling regulatory oversight in the interest of short-term stability for the status quo. Which, as a criminologist, Black knows with certainty creates an environment where bad actors will act in their self-interest with assumed (and likely real, at this point) impunity. » Read more

Insider

Iceland - The Model the Bankers Would Like to Forget

The one successful victor over the banks
Friday, June 28, 2013, 2:27 AM

As the 2008 banking crisis unfolded, a lot of secret decisions were made that essentially boiled down to this: The bankers did not want to absorb the losses that resulted from their decisions.  The name of the game was who is going to eat the losses? And the early target, as always, was taxpayers. » Read more

Insider

Cyprus Bank Heist: A True Game-Changer

Near-term risks include domino-like bank runs & capital cont
Monday, March 18, 2013, 12:29 AM

This weekend on 3/16/13, under pressure from IMF bankers and a push from German politicians, a Cyprus bailout deal was approved that would take the bulk of the bailout fund from the private bank accounts of Cyprus bank depositors.  Yes, you read that right; savers were determined to be the logical target to bail out the profligate.

The reaction from depositors, predictably, was intensely negative.  They are furious and shocked.

This is a complete game-changer.  It means that even money in the bank is not safe.  It implies that money in pension and money market accounts is not safe, either.  It means that rule of laws and contracts really don't matter.  Of course, MF Global taught us that.  It finally means that trust is no longer a part of the equation...  » Read more

Insider

Europe: Welcome to the Domino Effect

Expect EU economies to topple with accelerating rapidity fro
Monday, March 4, 2013, 3:52 PM

Executive Summary

  • France:  Bet on a bankruptcy of the French government
  • Italy:  Will not be able to fund its debt obligations without external help
  • Spain:  The best outcome at this point is years of grinding financial repression 
  • UK:  At growing risk of a big upward spike in price inflation, leading to a currency crisis

If you have not yet read Part I, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Individual States

France

Perhaps the cameo event that best describes French attitudes was the recent correspondence between Maurice Taylor Jnr, head of Titan International, the tire manufacturer, and Arnaud Montebourg, France's Minister for Industrial Renewal. While it was good theatre, the serious points were that on average a French worker at an industrial plant works for three hours a day, and that the Minister resorted to threats that any Titan products imported into France would be “inspected by the relevant authorities with extra zeal.” That is the way things are done in France: Upset the Minister or a government functionary and none of your product gets to market, as Mr Taylor will shortly find out.

France has an official unemployment rate of about 10.5%, which would be somewhat higher if it were not for three-hour days in many of the factories. Taxes on employers are among the highest in Europe, and employment legislation is so onerous that employing an extra hand is the last option for all private sector employers.

Large companies, such as Peugeot-Citroen, generally tolerate poor labour productivity and sub-standard quality products partly because the unions are strong, and partly because senior managers look to government to “help” by providing subsidies and by other means. Consequently, private-sector manufacturing is not competitive, and sales in the troubled Eurozone are collapsing. Peugeot’s share price says it all.

Decades of government protection have left France’s industrial sector in the weakest position of the larger Eurozone economies. Smaller businesses, outside the major cities, are heavily reliant on agricultural produce and hospitality, much of which is undeclared, untaxed, and untaxable. Furthermore, France’s farmers have long been beneficiaries of the EU’s agricultural subsidies, and have never had to be efficient. » Read more

Blog

Europe is Drowning Under Too Much Government

Its banks are being increasingly propped up by the U.S.
Monday, March 4, 2013, 3:52 PM

The Christmas and New Year's break, when Europe shuts down and stops thinking, is now well and truly over, and we are reawakening to the same old problems: Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy, France…all with their hands out for money from Germany, Holland, Finland, and Austria.

The holiday from the banking crisis, which was the result of the determination of the ECB to put a lid on it, is also over, with yields on the supplicant countries’ debt rising again.

However, joining the bad news list is the United Kingdom. Ominously, the pound is sliding in the foreign exchange markets, providing a very tricky background for Chancellor Osborne’s budget on March 20th. I shall examine the UK’s position later, but first let’s update ourselves on developments in the Eurozone.

The reality is that all the problems of the Eurozone are still with us, despite the fall in bond yields and their modest subsequent recovery. There is now the likelihood that we are about to enter the final phase of the end of the Eurozone experiment, with far wider consequences. So we need to pick up the story where we left off. » Read more