Tag Archives: Banks

New World Order

You might not realise it and some hope that most don’t, yet there is a shift this week, there is a new global ruler on the planet. Some will deny it, they will sugarcoat it and some will use carefully phrased denial, they will not give any answers, but the world changes this week. It was always going to happen and I saw this event coming towards us with certainty no later than 6 years ago, it was like watching a bull shark trying to break free, cut the line that hooked him, yet this wire was too strong, there was no evading the obvious, the new ruler is here to stay. The new superpowers are Russia, China and the Bank. This week as the US borrows another $3,000,000,000,000 dollars the stage is set, the interest will now spiral and the US can no longer pay its debts, it is even worse, the annual income will not cover the interest on the outstanding debt. Even t 1%, the US will have to hand over $25,000,000,000 in interest, and there the setting is stage, or better yet the stage is set. The BBC reported that “The government has also extended the annual 15 April deadline for tax payments adding to the cash crunch” it is the final downfall acts through a consumer based economy and we will all feel that crunch as the US governing table will now mandatory include a representative of the banks, not some ‘political commission’, no a stage where the banks set the stage of what is allowed to be done. It is a new stage and even as we think who that is, my speculated view is that it is a representative that both the Rothchilds and Wall Street approve of, there is no need to wonder on which side of the political isle they fall, they will be above that and both Democratic and Republican parties will have to adhere to this. Are you scared? You should be! This is no longer a stage where the citizens are heard, it becomes a stage for consumers and enablers only. So the rights of the elderly and unemployed will fall away, they will have to make room for enablers and users. Their rights will be sullied more and more. It is not something that will happen overnight, it is something that will happen over the next 3 years. Political decisions, hard budgets and economic stages will be set. The fat of the body remains, the unessential parts will be cast aside to whither and die. This was the stage I foresaw in 2013, now it is no longer avoidable. Even as we see “Last week the chair of America’s central bank, Jerome Powell, said that he would have liked to see the US government’s books be in better shape before the pandemic”, in my view he is saying “You need a miracle to keep us out of the decision stream”, and he would have been right. As I see it, this is the direct impact of irresponsible politicians acting and spending a credit card that does not impact them and leaving the next group to fend for itself, that has been the stage for well over a decade and now the bill is due, no 5G economy to save them, no IP innovators to up the value of the US, the game is pretty much over and after the US falls, the EU will follow quite soon. The banks played the long game and they won, I wonder how much mercy and humanity their spreadsheets show, because for a lot of us it will become a much harder world. We either show value or we are done for, this is what sitting on the sidelines brought you all. The direct impact of “It will work out”, it will not and now we will face a much harsher situation and as the media plays towards its shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers, the people will finally realise that they have been played. The bank bill is ALWAYS due, there is no escaping it. I wonder if there is truth in the matter of an independent California, because they represent the largest group of enablers and consumers, No matter how we see it, the US has no stage to pay for the interest on $25,000,000,000,000. Their economy will not allow for that, so what will drain first, their pension plans, or will they pay out of the unemployment funds? The banks will get their pound of flesh and they do not care how the US brings the numbers, as long as they bring them, when this new bill comes aross, the numbers are reached and the needs of the banks can no longer be ignored. Aneconomy by comission driven people, the almost ultimate nightmare towards an economy you do not want to consider.

A new world order that crept under a cloud of inactions by those who should have acted and the people are alas out of options, they voted the inactionable collective in and now we can merely watch on the sidelines how it all unfolds before our eyes. You thought the Coronavirus shut down was bad? It will get a lot worse, now consider that not only supermarket aisles are empty, add to that the services will at some point fall away, see where a lot of us are then. 

We all let it happen, we only have ourselves to blame.

 

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Is it progress?

We have at times a fair feeling of what costs are required in any business, we are at times a little off, we are at times a little bemused, but what is the feeling that people got two days ago when the Financial Times gave us ‘Europe’s banks slash 60,000 jobs as outlook turns negative‘? The story (at https://www.ft.com/content/e17ee0f2-183b-11ea-9ee4-11f260415385) seems to hand over another part of a story, but not the one that is out in the lighters. When we are confronted with ‘European bosses have been left with little option but to slash tens of thousands more jobs to try to address their chronically poor profitability‘, we might think that banks are unprofitable, yet the entire debt issues seemingly takes that out of the equation. When you look around in your area, are there more banks or less banks? There is another side, any debt driven errors and system malfunctions are now clearly in the hands of the banks, this means that THEY must give rise to repairs, to paying for the issues at hand and they are not allowed to pass these costs onto the customers. You see 60,000 jobs are ‘suddenly’ regarded as ‘poor profitability‘. It seems that the data dimensionality of banks is almost literally set to ‘profit through inactions‘ and as such they must pay for the blowback because inaction is never a cause of non stop profit.

So when we see: “lenders across Germany, UK, France, Spain and Switzerland have collectively announced more than 60,000 jobs cuts this year” and we investigate the stage, we would come to very different conclusions. Yet the picture is not that clear, the graphics that the article show, an image that include those trading below book value and those above book value gives a different picture, it shows a remarkable group of European and Rest of World banks trading below book value, so they are trading at a loss, which is of course debatable at the best of times. In that group we find ING, HSBC, Deutsche bank, Santander and a few others, the question becomes, why were they allowed to trade below book values in the first place? and it opens up a can of worms on several sides. As such we see a repetition of the Dutch bad bank issues when we are confronted with “resulting in 18,000 job losses and the creation of a new “bad bank” to dispose of €288bn of unwanted assets” Yet what happened to the commissions of hundreds of staff members as close to a third of a trillion is not returned? We merely see banks that wanted to look good whilst there was no reason to see them as good, so as such “chief executive Christian Sewing announced a retreat from investment banking over the summer, resulting in 18,000 job losses” makes me wonder about the levels of stupidity allowed at Deutsche Banks, does that not count for you? I wonder if we get an article on just how much the bunglings of Christian Sewing got him paid, in base income and bonuses. The fact that Deutsche Bank is losing one in five jobs is a larger issue, the idea that one in five jobs are lost in a bank shows that they have been playing the numbers and in all this europe will see another wave of bank responsibility whilst it is done AFTER the fact, so why was the EU not on top of this? And people complain about me mentioning the entire EU gravy train, I reckon that this example should set the straight, the EU have been facilitating to a much larger degree and the taxpayer gets to pay the bill, or did you think that shoving ‘a new “bad bank” to dispose of €288bn of unwanted assets‘ was done for corporate responsibilities. 

It gets to be a lot worse, Moody’s which does not have the greatest reputation when we look at financial meltdowns is stated to have said “Moody’s, which this week changed its outlook for global banks to negative from stable, warns that the “profitability gap between euro-area banks and global peers will widen further” in the medium term despite the large headcount reductions” yet when we mull over the numbers (Deutsche Bank with one in five jobs lost) gives out a whole different stage when we are confronted with “this week changed its outlook for global banks to negative from stable“, all whilst the numbers show that this was a flaw in the making, months in the making, as such it makes Moody’s a joke, not a reporting entity.

So all in al it is not consolidation, but a lack of oversight that is causing additional pain to the industry, I wonder how long it will take the other newspapers to catch on, and this is not limited to banks, this will take on a larger role all over Europe. Yet the gravy train will ignore the pains and it will support its own interests through recommendations.

 

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Danger on the Australian shores

There is a danger lurking, it took over Japan, the US and Europe, now we see Greg Jericho (aka gorgonomics) vocally giving us: ‘The government needs to get into more debt, our grim economy depends on it‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2019/may/28/the-government-needs-to-get-into-more-debt-our-grim-economy-depends-on-it) and my first reaction is: “You have got to be out of your bloody mind“. In the first politicians should never be trusted with the option of deeper debt, the US and Europe are clear evidence of that. The second is that giving that much power to the banks is just unacceptable. We see transgression after transgression and they walk away with mere fines. Reuters gave us less than two months ago: “The largest ever money laundering scandal in Europe is rippling through the region’s banks“, these people think that they can get away with murder, and whilst we hear politicians proclaim that they will use the full power of the law, we have yet to see any banker do any serious prison sentence since 2004.

Latvia’s ABLV, the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, Sweden’s Swedbank and it is all about €200,000,000,000 between 2007 and 2015. So far the chief executive of Swedbank was let go, and how much money did they make? These issues are connected. Deutsche bank and the Dutch ING, which was ‘forced’ to pay a $915 million last year for example, yet when their takings are part of billions upon billions, these players go home with a pretty penny. So far the Australian banks are decently clean large debts will optionally change that, anyone telling you different is lying through their teeth. When we realise that EU banks payed over $16 billion in fines between 2012 and 2018 because of lax money-laundering checks, we think that there is a solution, yet how does $16,000,000,000 compare to €200,000,000,000? Someone is going home rich and whilst the banks pay of the fine making it a mere cost, the cost of doing business goes up and so do the fees.

the Singapore Independent (at http://theindependent.sg/nigerian-based-in-singapore-jailed-for-role-in-citibank-money-laundering-scheme/) gave us last week “Paul Gabriel Amos was sentenced to three years’ jail after he pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly receiving stolen property amounting to more than S$1 million and one count of money laundering” ad this is still about a 2008 case, it took over a decade to get this far, and when we see “Amos agreed to help in exchange for a cut of the criminal proceeds“, that is how it works and this is in places where banking is a lot more sophisticated than anything Australia has. You might hear accusations that these cases are not connected, but they are. They are connected to greed and ‘opportunity’. My issue is that the Australian government has no business taking out large loans of any kind until they fix the tax system, no matter how long that takes. It gets to be even worse is we take the Business Insider (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/maxine-waters-deutsche-bank-subpoena-trump-kushner-2019-5), the fact that we see: “The chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee told INSIDER on Tuesday that a New York Times article detailing how Deutsche Bank buried reports of potentially illegal financial activity linked to President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner “reinforces the need” for the panel “to obtain the documents we have subpoenaed from the bank.”“, when we consider that the banks facilitated for someone who is not President of the United States and we consider on how willing any bank is on the criminal path as the worst thing they face are fines at a mere percentage of the takings, when they call that the cost of doing business, how long until Australia is thoroughly tainted in a similar way?

the fact that ABC gave us 4 weeks ago (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-01/google-facebook-make-billions-in-australian-sales-pay-little-tax/11060474) ‘Google, Facebook make billions in Australian sales but pay less than $40m in tax‘, do you not think that overhauling the tax system so that these players pay a fair share is a much better solution? Do you think that paying 0.000002% or less is acceptable? Besides that, the least said about the former car industry and their option for legalised slave labour the better.

Should we not prosecute every treasurer over the last 10 years, and after that see what we can do? I am not some anti-capitalist, I understand that capitalism is a driver and a powerful one, yet even at 1% (giving us at least $200,000,000) would solve a fair amount of issues, would it not? So whilst politicians are wasting our time with “Both companies are facing various probes by regulators in Australia and overseas over issues relating tax“, the entire tax mess should have been addressed well over a decade ago, as such can we get the incomes off al treasurers between 2009 and 2019 back please? This treasurer, if he does not adjust tax laws would be allowed to keep $1 for his attendance.

When we make this law the issues change and yes, we will get all kinds of threats, but they can equally fuck off and bleed someplace else dry. I am certain that a market share of 20 million will draw in other potential investors, because 20 million consumers will want all kinds of stuff.

And whilst people like Greg Jericho are talking about the sweet spot, they all overlook the issue that debt will have to be paid back, that whilst we see that Japan, the US and Europe have no exit strategy to end debt, at present that debt will be there for generations, making them the bitches of banks and fortune 500 companies, plain and simple. When the debt matures the quality of life in these places hit another snag, we did not and will not sign up for that.

I would love to see infrastructure fixed and improved upon, but whilst these idiots are unable to fix the tax system they have no business pushing the tax payers into deep debt.

And whilst there is no doubt that Greg is working from logic, he truly is; the issue is not: “Imagine being able to get a loan to upgrade machinery and equipment for your business at 1.5% – lower than inflation! – and you didn’t take advantage because you have a theory about how debt is bad“, he seemingly forgets that politicians are inherently stupid (they are optionally dumb and greedy in a nice compact package), these politicians ignore and push forward what they had to resolve, the amount of evidence on a global scale is overwhelming. And in the end, we the taxpayers get to pay that hardship, all that whilst tax laws were not dealt with a decade ago, how is that fair to anyone?

 

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Politically phrased budgets

I don’t get to take a jab at the Guardian too often, so when that day does come (like today), then I like to enjoy every moment of it (overall it is still the best paper though). In this case it is an article by Lenore Taylor on the article ‘Rising cost of living, just an illusion‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/30/household-bills-australia-wages-rising)

The new ‘analyses’ show that the average household was better off by $5300 compared to 2008. Are you for real Miss Taylor?

Let’s look at some numbers. I have lived in the same place since 2008, I will even add to that that most of what I have is from around that time, and according to Energy Australia I am regarded to be a stable user, which means that my usage has not changed that much over the years. Yet, in 2007 my average bill was $160, in 2012 it was $275 and now it is $375. So in 6 years my electricity bill went up with a whopping 134%. the bills in 2013 have been less than $2 apart per bill so it seems that overall my usage remains the same.

Her reference to the ‘Natsem modelling’ is there, and apparently it claims that the annual increased cost of living is 1.7%. My train ticket had gone up by 8% (which was better than the NSW projected 10%) and my rent in the last 2 years had risen by 15%, the last step was a 7% increase. As the last two costs are costs we all see regular like clockwork, it seems to be that her article is only slightly weirder then just plain bogus, but that might just be my view on it!

Consider that many people have not seen decent raises in the last few years as some companies had hit hard times; it seems that I was reading a story with the missing bang of realism.

So the question becomes, is she just quoting a source, or is she missing the ball by a lot?

I leave that to you the reader!

There are other sides. Yes, groceries have gone up, yet the milk from my supermarket seemed to have been the same for a long time. In these times, even though I feel for the farmer, the fact that milk remains affordable is a good thing for me, as many other things go up. So even though the groceries, which is a chunk out of anyone’s budget seems remain almost stable, the overall cost of living did go up.

The second increase is the cost of one’s credit card. Most people, if they have a job, they tend to have a credit card. When I got mine, it came with an awesome 9.9%. And for a time it stayed there. It is now a little over 13%. This means a plus 3% rise, I am not blaming the banks (even though I would love to do that). When we consider rent, travel and credit cards, three of the most common items used, is seems that the 1.7% annual increase is just a tale, for the simple reason that most of the other stuff we daily need did not get cheaper and our regular cost of living went up by a lot more than 1.7%

So who did she write the article for?

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About that house you wanted!

It seems the Dutch are ready to take on the advice the Wijfels commission is giving. Even though not direct, it will end up that you have to pay 20% cash up front for any house or apartment you desire. And indeed, there was the subtle ‘line’ that if you do not have that kind of cash, you should address your pension funds. Interesting on how they are willing to open up pension funds to fund that.

Am I against it? There are two sides to this. On the one hand investing into your own future is perfectly sane. If only there was some level of certainty. You see, the fact that banks leave its taxpayers with their risky investments is one thing, the issue on your house is another.

How does this differ? Actually, it should not. A good house is a good house. However, consider some of the housing. How these houses are currently so much over any normal affordable income. It is nice to see a newscast in comparison with Germany; however, when we look at the quality and square meter price, then these prices are far from average. Of course, when seeking apartments in places like Munich, then yes, the prices might seem comparable. Yet, where we see average Munich prices, that is pretty an average price for living anywhere in the Netherlands. I agree that it is not fair that those factors are accountable to the banks, yet, they were at the centre of events when the prices were artificially pushed upwards.

As they sold mortgages no one cared too much about prices as the interest was tax deductable. When that 7%-9% is no longer part of tax deductibility, then we have a situation where the consumer now pays for it all. Add to that coming up with 20% (in due time) and someone slyly mentions the need to access ones retirement funds, we see another political play to get pensions into the banking equation. There is supporting evidence from all kind of sources. An interesting read was how on average house prices went down in US/UK and other places by well over 20%, whilst in the Netherlands the prices lowered less than 8%. It is unfair to just name one factor, as several economic factors had been in place in other nations too. The US crash never hit the European sides that hard, Europe might still fighting the backwash from those days, but on average Europe never had too much of the hardship the US faced. Another reason is the fact that the Netherlands is pretty much ‘full’. Whilst many nations have plenty of housing space outside of the great cities, the Netherlands has become a connection of large cities, with next to nothing to separate them.

Still this play as such to push people towards their retirement finds is slightly less than acceptable. There is however the other side that must be highlighted too. According to Ernst & Young, between 1996 and 2012, the outstanding mortgage has gone from 138 to 650 billion Euros, That means that outstanding mortgages currently have risen half a trillion Euro’s in just 15 years. Some might think that this is not a lot, yet, consider that that the Dutch population is under 17 million, which seems like the banks remain dealing with 100% of unpaid mortgages. If these numbers are correct, then it bears reason that these numbers should be looked at. Is that actually true? You see, feeling it is wrong, and knowing it is wrong (even with supporting evidence) seems nice from the writers point of view, however what about the reader?

There we get the issue that gives us the crux. When comparing apartments in the Netherlands and comparing them To Sweden and Germany, I noticed something. I lived in two of these locations, so I know what to look for. I compared the Dutch http://www.huizenzoeker.nl, Swedish http://www.bovision.se and German http://en.immostreet.com/germany. When comparing an apartment in Rotterdam and Kista (outskirts of Stockholm) we see a comparable raise of prices, yet overall we get a lot more apartment in Stockholm then in Rotterdam, for comparable prices (30%-40% more living space). This comparison takes an astute dive when we look at Germany, especially Bavaria; where all over the place we can buy 5 bedroom villa’s for a lot less than a two bedroom crinkly monkey apartment in Rotterdam. As such we get a first inkling; if we need 40K to buy a 5-bedroom villa is one thing, needing the same for a 2-bedroom apartment becomes a whole other matter. Interesting how this was not mentioned.

So why so much issues about the mortgage changes? We see a political engine too eagerly bowing to the needs of banks, bowing to a group that has visibly forsaken a population, a group that have left many billions in debts and we still bow to their ‘needs’? Now with the additional need to open up retirement finances that had remained relatively safe until now.

Yet, with the massive outstanding mortgages, what is left?
In addition, knowing that level of outstanding debts, are their demands out of proportions? That question becomes a whole lot more interesting when we consider the following from Bloomberg (source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-23/dutch-mortgage-bond-market-threatened-by-capital-rules-dsa-says.html).

This part throws a whole new hole in these issues. Banks are pushed to outside influences, and even though the government pretend to be fighting the good fight to protect this market, it is interesting that this part was not that visible on the news. It might be that the Wijfels report shows this, but I have not read it, so I cannot tell.

My issue is now with this part of the Bloomberg article “Dutch banks are the second-largest issuers of RMBS in Europe, relying on sales of the securities to help fill a 452 billion-euro funding gap between deposits and loans, Dutch central bank data show.” Excuse me?

Looking at some quick 2011 population numbers:
Germany 81.8 million , France 65.43 million, United Kingdom 62.74 million, Netherlands  16.69 million.

EXCUSE ME?

How (or better why) exactly are the Dutch banks the second largest in Residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS)? Even if 100% of the Dutch population is now under mortgage (which is statistically impossible), those numbers are showing an enormous gap. What are we not told? Even if we consider the 25% difference in mortgage funding there are a few questions that should be asked out there. What have the banks been up to, and exactly what questions are not being asked, or better, what part are people and perhaps even politicians not getting information on? Half a trillion Euro funding gap reads like that there is a deficit of half a trillion Euro. That could never be covered by 6 billion in cut backs. Before you think that this has nothing to do with governments then think again, if that shortage is not addressed then that money will have to come from somewhere else. What are the odds that this needs to come from taxation in one way or another next?  More important is the news that people saw over the last year. What buffers do banks have, and if so, how come the Bloomberg (a respectable bringer of news) information was not part of the newscast?

Is this an orchestrate play? It seems to me that a clear yes is in play, however, there are sides to this that do not make sense and they are outside of government controlled sources, sources that currently seemed to remain largely unmentioned. To me it seems that both banks and politicians might need to publicly answer some questions in regards to some of these issues and it would be nice that this is done before banks are given any more leeway or options to shift certain finance issues around.

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Fraud, deception or Ignorance in IT Safety?

Fraud, deception or Ignorance in IT Safety?
Again it was the Dutch NOS last night that gave me the idea of reflection on today’s blog. Their newscast and articles on NOS.nl is all about cybercrime. The news was that last year (October 2012), cyber criminals using the botnet Citadel was able to acquire over 750 GB of data. The data is coming from computers involving the Energy industry, Media corporations, Hospitals, Universities and airlines. The data seems to have gone to eastern European cyber criminals. Over 150.000 computers infected in the Netherlands alone.
Watching it, you could see login details, passwords, network layouts, detailed notes from a doctor and the medication prescribed. The amount of information was staggering! I looked a little further into this botnet. Its name is Citadel. It seems to be an ingenious piece of work. This is something the NSA, GCHQ or the FSB and several other Boy Scout units of a governmental type. When looking at the info, there was an implied strength that it could go passed and ignores many anti-virus systems. When looking at my own provider, there was an interesting lack of information regarding this botnet.
So we are looking at a three edged sword.
Are anti-viral protectors committing fraud? When looking at a Norton protection plan, and I see the green ‘Secure’ sign. Am I really secured? Tracy Kitten from Bankinfo security wrote: “Segura notes that hackers claim PCs relying on anti-virus solutions from Microsoft Security Essentials, McAfee, and Norton were infected. ‘That’s kind of worrisome,’ he says. ” So, am I paying for security I am not receiving?
It seems that this secure statement is also a case of deception. My Norton anti-virus states a secure setting, yet, citadel was initially designed to collect bank information for cyber criminals. From the two facts earlier, I must also conclude that the banks have been insincere to me on more than one occasion (big surprise I know). They claim safety and security, whilst 150.000 computers in the Netherlands seem to prove the opposite. Especially considering that banks have been trimming down on staff because much more goes on-line, yet there is no clear information that the cyber divisions of the financial industry is making any kind of strong progress. The BBC stated on Oct 10, 2012, that GBP 341 million was acquired through card fraud in 2011. The events involving Citadel imply that the losses in 2011 are not likely to go down any day soon.
Last is about Ignorance. That would be you the reader and me. These anti-viral dealers leave us with a false sense of security while we are charged $70-$100 a year, whilst it lowers intrusions, but not remove the threat. I must confess that we are all likely a lot safer with then without anti-viral protection. So stopping anti-virus protection is the worst of ideas.
I feel slightly safer as I have always refused any kind of on-line banking option. From the 90’s I knew that their X-25 protocols had several weak spots, which is now getting me to the last part of this.
If Windows is so weak, volatile and easily transgressed upon, then the dozens of security updates seem little more than a smoke screen. I reckon a lot of us should seriously consider moving to another system like Linux. Linux has proven to be a very secure system. We used to consider Apple to be very secure as it was a Unix based system, which has all matters of security or a much higher level than Windows ever had. However, that it is now an INTEL based system with Microsoft attachments makes me wonder if it remained that secure.
What is my issue with this all is that Yesterday’s news on Citadel was known with the Dutch cyber security for months, and little was done, the newscast even mentioned that many had not been alerted to this danger. I reckon that IF there is truth on transgression on ‘secured’ systems, we need to consider the dangers of connected networks. This likely endangered the infrastructure, and it definitely endangered personal information of millions. With that state of mind, how should we see the security of corporate and personal systems in the UK, US and Australia?
Consider that the implied ignoring of Cyber security is mentioned (but unproven as far as the validity of sources go). Yet, when I seek places like Norton, I get no answer (connection was reset). If we can believe people like Tracy Kitten then the financial sector that relies on massive internet presence, we are in serious trouble. On the other side is the opinion showing on the NOS site by Professor Michel van Eeten from the TU Delft. It is not really created to a directed attack. He compared it to a buck shot into the internet. It was designed to acquire login, passwords and bank details.
My issue is the fact that 150.000 systems were infected! The one flaw in the NOS newscast is the absence of the cyber safety factor. Whether Common Cyber Security was used by those infected. If so, then why are these questions not openly directed at the makers of Norton Anti-Virus, McAfee, Kaspersky and a league of other Cyber Safety providers?

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It hurts every time, but we love it

So, in this fifth part, we will have a little look at the UK banks that were hit lately. This is a progression from previous parts. Not because they were linked (they might be, but I gave no deeper look at that). The important reason is that the banks are doing more than setting a trend. This is all a continuation when banks became more then service providing organisation. They became profit driven. Instead of the normal profit of continuation it became driven to the optional profit of speculation. Even though most banks would argue that this is the way to go, the Netherlands showed how their banks lost to the amount of 40 billion Euros. This pretty much covers more their current deficit. There is also the continuation of thought on the decision makers. How can we be allowed to sit down and see how a group of less than 100 took decisions that would cripple a nation on narrated limitations like ‘miscommunications’, ‘blunders’ and sheer incompetence? More astounding is that following the acts, some decided to look at advices from corporations losing utter fortunes (Source: Telegraaf, 31st October 2012).

This is not just about the fact that we are dependent on a very small group of people. We are confronted that they are just people, with needs and dark desires. A group having ‘ideal’ dreams and writing checks a lot larger than their ego could ever cover.

So what to do?

Let’s take a look at three groups.
The Bank of Scotland, The Lloyds banking group (of which the Bank of Scotland is now a part) and Barclays.

In 2012 the LIBOR scandal got a hold of many (London InterBank Offered Rate), There were accusations and proof was given. As LIBOR affects the US market and it was seen as a violation of American law. The UK version of the Telegraph reported that the chancellor had made it clear that any financial penalty imposed by American regulators must be paid for by bankers, and not the taxpayer. (Source: The Telegraph).

From my side the first thought was that it might be nice if the US cleans up its own side first. I wonder how much money they reclaimed from upper management at Lehman Brothers? Interesting is the information, that those upper level ‘demons’ (aka members of the board of directors) got overall half a billion dollars in bonuses. How much was reclaimed? An example of this is Erin Callan (former CFO Lehman Brothers) who did get a nice payout and if I can believe the NY Times a new husband and moved to a high position with Credit Suisse. Now the next is really important. SHE BROKE NO LAWS! (As far as we know). Also, there does not seem to be any evidence of any kind that she lied. She has been portrayed as a ‘girl’ who was in over her head. That is hard for me to comment on, but it does raise certain questions. There seems to be a board of directors who seem to play the multi-billion dollar game like it is a round of Parcheesi. To debunk a trillion dollar company and then walk away with half a billion should result in more than just global questions. That part is important as at the end there were dealings with Barclays who had a small non illegal windfall. Now business is business, yet it does show that a certain game that was played in the US seems to be played in the UK to the extent that is now the LIBOR scandal.

 

How does this link to the Netherlands and the UK?

Well, look at the reports on how percentage bases are calculated and how it reflects not on ACTUAL debt, but based on how these debts relate to Gross National Product and how these things influence the DOW. So it is in the interest for all to keep certain numbers high. Especially for the greed driven! This is the real problem from my train of thought. Considering what I wrote over the last weeks means that the Greedy need the DOW index to move higher and higher. Yet, all the numbers give me an indication, especially when we see a global depression that those numbers should not go up the way they do. It feels to me that other factors are influencing it all. The US with the fiscal cliff (Fiscal Abyss seems more accurate). Many EEC nations are in massive debt, and then hit with waves of unemployment, higher costs, declining standard of living and no direct prospect that this will improve. People are not spending the way they did. The housing market is breaking down in several nations and so on.

So consider the next nightmare. If the DOW index drops 4,000 points to 10,000. What then? Too many people seem to ignore parts, others want to control parts and those in charge want to rule, so when it does collapse, they maintain whilst none survive.

This same view seems to be happening now in the UK. The controlling of percentages to LIBOR is only a first. A lot of these reports like the one the BBC showed in August 2012 mentioned that this system must change. This was spoken by Martin Wheatley of the Financial Services Authority. He also mentioned discrepancies going back to 1991. This means that some level of manipulation has been going on for over 20 years. So is this about ACTUAL justice, or is it that the US had become SO desperate for as strong as a hand as possible that they pulled a Benedict Arnold against their own banking ‘buddies’. For the UK readers, Benedict Arnold is the American version of Edward Devenney.

Another party in LIBOR is Barclays. They dealt in services that rely on LIBOR, by intentional misrepresenting information they got better deals and therefor more profits. The problem is that using Derivatives in this way and the involved banks’ lending money to each other it becomes a musical chair exercise in passing pieces of paper from one bank to the other. From my viewpoint it could be seen as adding funny money to the internal till and amassing profits from something that was not there. And as they moved hand to hand, they kept the margin of profit that LIBOR offers.

So the following step is reforming this. The UK government seems to be happy to accept all upgrades that Martin Wheatley suggested. However, Reuters reported on the 28th of September 2012 that these changes would add volatility to the short term markets. They also reported that the FSA (the place Martin Wheatley is from) mentions that this standard is too entrenched to replace. It seems that banks on a global scale are too afraid to rock any boat. Is it a fear that their united spread sheets are altered to remove their layer of manipulating? If that is so then their powers would soon be diminished. It seems clear to me that markets are manipulated on several levels and those in charge are in no mood to change any of it. That situation becomes a lot more volatile when you consider the US debt of 17 trillion dollars in addition to the Fiscal Abyss. Those two, when a change is set might mean that the US could be bankrupted overnight.

 

Any claim that this will never happen is slightly moot. Here we now get back to the Netherlands where the same was claimed of the SNS Bank. It is now nationalised. Many nations should now be contemplating massive change to remove the power of banks as we can no longer afford THEIR life style.

It is interesting that the UK is under such scrutiny by the US, yet the US is nowhere near on cleaning its own banks (in my humble opinion). This does not mean that nothing should be done. And it does not mean that they should not have done anything. There is however the question on how those could be improved (as I have asked myself and on my blog in several situations).

So we get to the Lloyds banking group. In January 2013, 8 people were charged connected to a $55,000,000 corruption scandal. (Source: AP). This is not the only issue. Ian Fraser, an award winning Journalist, who reported amongst others for the BBC and Thomson Reuters has a lot more on his blog http://www.ianfraser.org. If anyone wants to question his education? Well the man was ‘shaped’ by St. Andrews (the University, not the Saint), which means he should be regarded as a member of the highest echelon in his profession. In addition, when we look at the board of directors of the banks we mentioned earlier, then we see more than just casual links. Some of them had positions at Citigroup, the FSA, The Royal Bank of Scotland, the US Treasury, JP Morgan Chase, International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) and more. This seems to remain a very small inner circle in-crowd.

It is clear that a lot more has happened and even more is happening. This is not even the complete story, but we have clear evidence spanning 2 continents that several nations have a collection of banks where it is all about the profit. Looking at the ‘blunders’ where they were willing to bet the house on all of it. So I feel that clear, visible and vocal oversight of these parties is a given essential need!

Please consider this last part. The UK banks involved in regard to the corruption case and the LIBOR scandal consists of 4 of the 5 large UK banks. It sounds harsh however this implies 80% of the UK banks have prosecutable issues. This is more than a scary statistic. I would take a guess that these 4 banks are controlled by boards of directors and they would add up to less than 75 persons. What happens when they in the same fashion as the Dutch SNS agree that ‘blunders’ were made? Could the UK survive a hit that large? More important will be the question whether the results also impact their siblings Canada and Australia?

Several questions and I expect that no clear answers will be forthcoming (any day soon). A political step could be in the form of carefully phrased denials and years of closed door meetings.

For me the conclusion from what I have seen over the last few weeks is that oversight is a must, there should be a clear list of definitions that the financial world must openly agree on and that there must be an open list of those involved in those standards.

As I close this final part of my reflections, the hope is that you enjoyed these five blogs.

These series were my thoughts on the Financial Banking Blunders as set in:

  • Greed and the lack of common sense.
  • Time for another collapse.
  • The future of greed.
  • A solution by annexing greed?
  • It hurts every time, but we love it.

I will try to take an evolving look at banking laws in a future blog.

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