Category Archives: Banking

What we could do with a postal savings bank: Infrastructure that doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is the nation’s second largest civilian employer after Walmart. Although successfully self-funded throughout its long history, it is currently struggling to stay afloat. This is not, as sometimes asserted, because it has been made obsolete by the Internet. In fact the post office has gotten more business from Internet orders than it has lost to electronic email. What has pushed the USPS into insolvency is an oppressive 2006 congressional mandate that it prefund healthcare for its workers 75 years into the future. No other entity, public or private, has the burden of funding multiple generations of employees who have not yet even been born. Continue reading

The Armageddon looting machine: The looming mass destruction from derivatives

Increased regulation and low interest rates are driving lending from the regulated commercial banking system into the unregulated shadow banking system. The shadow banks, although free of government regulation, are propped up by a hidden government guarantee in the form of safe harbor status under the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act pushed through by Wall Street. The result is to create perverse incentives for the financial system to self-destruct. Continue reading

Making the world safe for banksters: Syria in the crosshairs

Iraq and Libya have been taken out, and Iran has been heavily boycotted. Syria is now in the cross-hairs. Why? Here is one overlooked scenario . . . Continue reading

The leveraged buyout of America: Big banks are using your deposits as collateral for borrowing in the repo markets

Another reason why we need public banks

Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money? Continue reading

Not too big to jail: Why Eliot Spitzer is Wall Street’s worst nightmare

Before Eliot Spitzer’s infamous resignation as governor of New York in March 2008, he was one of our fiercest champions against Wall Street corruption, in a state that had some of the toughest legislation for controlling the banks. It may not be a coincidence that the revelation of his indiscretions with a high-priced call girl came less than a month after he published a bold editorial in the Washington Post titled “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States from Stepping in to Help Consumers.” Continue reading

Wells Fargo, it ain’t your great-grandpa’s stagecoach anymore

Wells Fargo is your neighborhood mega-money laundering, drug war profiteering, prison-industry enlarging bank, one big elite networking operation that’s not afraid to get its hands covered in blood money. Yes siree, they’re a whole new coach of pain on wheels, coming right at you. Continue reading

Green light for city-owned San Francisco bank

When the Occupiers took an interest in moving San Francisco’s money into a city-owned bank in 2011, it was chiefly on principle, in sympathy with the nationwide Move Your Money campaign. But recent scandals have transformed the move from a political statement into a matter of protecting the city’s deposits and reducing its debt burden. The chief roadblock to forming a municipal bank has been the concern that it was not allowed under state law, but a legal opinion issued by Deputy City Attorney Thomas J. Owen has now overcome that obstacle. Continue reading

Collateral damage: QE3 and the shadow banking system

Ben Bernanke’s May 29 speech signaling the beginning of the end of QE3 provoked a “taper tantrum” that wiped about $3 trillion from global equity markets—this from the mere suggestion that the Fed would moderate its pace of asset purchases, and that if the economy continues to improve, it might stop QE3 altogether by mid-2014. The Fed is currently buying $85 billion in US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities per month. Continue reading

Eight reasons not to hire Larry Summers for Fed chief

Last Wednesday, I heard Perianne Boring, a new reporter on, report that Ben Bernanke was planning to resign as head of the Federal Reserve and that Larry Summers name had been mentioned as a replacement. I flashed back to four years ago and an article I wrote called “Bankrupting the world,” which said that Tim Geithner was just the face, the voice, behind the PPPIP (Public Private Partnership Investment Program) giveaway to America’s top commercial banks to restore what amounts to $200 trillion in their cumulative derivative debt. Continue reading

Gangster state America

There are many signs of gangster state America. One is the collusion between federal authorities and banksters in a criminal conspiracy to rig the markets for gold and silver. Continue reading

Bail-out is out, bail-in is in: Time for some publicly-owned banks

The crossing of the Rubicon into the confiscation of depositor funds was not a one-off emergency measure limited to Cyprus. Similar “bail-in” policies are now appearing in multiple countries. (See my earlier articles here.) What triggered the new rules may have been a series of game-changing events including the refusal of Iceland to bail out its banks and their depositors; Bank of America’s commingling of its ominously risky derivatives arm with its depository arm over the objections of the FDIC; and the fact that most EU banks are now insolvent. A crisis in a major nation such as Spain or Italy could lead to a chain of defaults beyond anyone’s control, and beyond the ability of federal deposit insurance schemes to reimburse depositors. Continue reading

Winner takes all: The super-priority status of derivatives

Shock waves went around the world when the IMF, the EU, and the ECB not only approved but mandated the confiscation of depositor funds to “bail in” two bankrupt banks in Cyprus. A “bail in” is a quantum leap beyond a “bail out.” When governments are no longer willing to use taxpayer money to bail out banks that have gambled away their capital, the banks are now being instructed to “recapitalize” themselves by confiscating the funds of their creditors, turning debt into equity, or stock; and the “creditors” include the depositors who put their money in the bank thinking it was a secure place to store their savings. Continue reading

It can happen here: The confiscation scheme planned for US and UK depositors

Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few Eurozone “troika” officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds. Continue reading

A safe and a shotgun or publicly-owned banks? The battle of Cyprus

The deposit confiscation scheme has long been in the making. US depositors could be next

On Tuesday, March 19, the national legislature of Cyprus overwhelmingly rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout. Reuters called it “a stunning setback for the 17-nation currency bloc,” but it was a stunning victory for democracy. As Reuters quoted one 65-year-old pensioner, “The voice of the people was heard.” Continue reading

The Gramm-Leach-Biley Act, the most disastrous economic act of the 20th century

The Crash of 2008 was not caused by irrational exuberance, as Alan Greenspan euphemistically put it, but by greed, cunning and ambition, held in check since 1935 by the Glass-Steagall Act, which was unleashed when President Bill Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Biley Act of 1999. Continue reading

Low interest rates impoverish savers

Even the most ardent optimist has to confront the consequences of low interest rates. The macro analysis of ivory tower academics seldom reflects the struggle of ordinary consumers or retirees. One such pinhead is Ben Bernanke. Continue reading

Exploring the public bank option for Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the Bank of Scotland have been pillars of Scotland’s economy and culture for over three centuries. So when the RBS was nationalized by the London-based UK government following the 2008 banking crisis, and the Bank of Scotland was acquired by the London-based Lloyds Bank, it came as a shock to the Scots. They no longer owned their oldest and most venerable banks. Continue reading

It’s the interest, stupid! Why bankers rule the world

In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last month, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35% to 40% cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed” but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system. Continue reading

Where is today’s Pecora Commission?

The Pecora Commission was named for Ferdinand Pecora, the fourth chief counsel of the investigation into the causes of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The commission launched in 1932 by a majority Republican Senate and continued under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, turned out to be one of the highlights of FDR’s crusade to rebuild America’s wrecked economy during the Great Depression. Continue reading

Saving the Post Office: Letter carriers consider bringing back banking services

On July 27, 2012, the National Association of Letter Carriers adopted a resolution at their National Convention in Minneapolis to investigate establishing a postal banking system. The resolution noted that expanding postal services and developing new sources of revenue are important to the effort to save the public Post Office and preserve living-wage jobs; that many countries have a successful history of postal banking, including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States itself; and that postal banks could serve the 9 million people who don’t have bank accounts and the 21 million who use usurious check cashers, giving low-income people access to a safe banking system. Continue reading

Our money in their banks: Why?

As Republicans stride in the direction of hardcore fascism and Democrats mince toward a soft-core police state, America endures a campaign with no substance allowed to interfere with corporate capital’s electoral show. Unless the Green Party attracts citizen attention by adhering to the substance of democratic ideals that contrast with the political pimping of the major parties, the people will face endless television mudslinging battles between political pornographers trying to entice them to vote for a lesser evil. As usual. Continue reading

Titanic banks hit LIBOR iceberg: Will lawsuits sink the ship?

At one time, calling the large multinational banks a “cartel” branded you as a conspiracy theorist. Today, the banking giants are being called that and worse, not just in the major media but in court documents intended to prove the allegations as facts. Charges include racketeering (organized crime under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO), antitrust violations, wire fraud, bid-rigging, and price-fixing. Damning charges have already been proven, and major damages and penalties assessed. Conspiracy theory has become established fact. Continue reading

The Libor scandal in full perspective

The article about the Libor scandal, coauthored with Nomi Prins, received much attention, with Internet repostings, foreign translation, and video interviews. To further clarify the situation, this article brings to the forefront implications that might not be obvious to those without insider experience and knowledge. Continue reading

Banksters take us to the brink

Every day brings more reminders of the terrible unfairness that besets our country, the tragic reversal of fortune experienced by millions who once had good lives and steady jobs, now gone. Continue reading

The real Libor scandal

According to news reports, UK banks fixed the London interbank borrowing rate (Libor) with the complicity of the Bank of England (UK central bank) at a low rate in order to obtain a cheap borrowing cost. The way this scandal is playing out is that the banks benefitted from borrowing at these low rates. Whereas this is true, it also strikes us as simplistic and as a diversion from the deeper, darker scandal. Continue reading

Another breach in the wall of a corrupt system: The LIBOR scandal

On July 2, LaRouchePAC wrote in a report sent to me, “Most cases of financial fraud are presented to the public as cases of individual crimes, committed by individuals or small groups of individuals—as corrupt acts by elements within an otherwise honorable system. But every once in awhile a case comes along that blows that fiction out of the water and reveals that it is the system itself that is corrupt. Rather than rotten apples spoiling the barrel, a rotten barrel is spoiling the apples. The corruption comes from the top.” Continue reading

Government by the banks, for the banks: The ESM coup d’état in Europe

On Friday, June 29, German Chancellor Angela Merkel acquiesced to changes to a permanent Eurozone bailout fund—“before the ink was dry,” as critics complained. Besides easing the conditions under which bailouts would be given, the concessions included an agreement that funds intended for indebted governments could be funneled directly to stressed banks. Continue reading

Bank for International Settlements on big banks

The shadow-banking component that adds to the risk of non-regulatory oversight just deepens the mystery behind the most powerful banking institution that runs roughshod over global finance. In order to gain an insight into the complexity of deception, examine the function of the BIS. The granddaddy of all central banks, the Bank for International Settlement, latest BIS Annual Report 2011/2012, foretells future financial consolidation. Continue reading

Cooperative banking in the Aquarian Age

According to both the Mayan and Hindu calendars, 2012 (or something very close) marks the transition from an age of darkness, violence and greed to one of enlightenment, justice, and peace. It’s hard to see that change just yet in the events relayed in the major media, but a shift does seem to be happening behind the scenes; and this is particularly true in the once-boring world of banking. Continue reading

You call it trading. I call it stealing.

Dear Mr. CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Mr. Jamie Dimon: There you are sitting with egg on your face and $2 billion plus going deep into the red on bad bets. You, the guy who fought for less and not more regulation is now in the middle of a major mess. You, the guy who hates the Volker rule named after ex-Fed Chief, Paul Volker, and says it went too far and that “if you want to be trading, you have to have a lawyer and a psychiatrist sitting next to you determining what ‘was your intent’ every time you did something.” That was some expensive exaggeration, wouldn’t you say? Continue reading

The best Congress the banks’ money can buy

Here we go again. Another round of the game we call Congressional Creep. After months of haggling and debate, Congress finally passes reform legislation to fix a serious rupture in the body politic, and the president signs it into law. But the fight’s just begun, because the special interests immediately set out to win back what they lost when the reform became law. Continue reading

Public sector banks: From black sheep to global leaders

Public sector banking is a concept that is relatively unknown in the United States. Only one state—North Dakota—owns its own bank. North Dakota is also the only state to escape the credit crisis of 2008, sporting a budget surplus every year since; but skeptics write this off to coincidence or other factors. The common perception is that government bureaucrats are bad businessmen. To determine whether government-owned banks are assets or liabilities, then, we need to look further afield. Continue reading