Tag Archives: Basel III

Nature of the beast

There was news on how Samsung failed the net mobile options, the news was given ‘Exynos 990-powered Galaxy S20+ flops hard in gaming’ what I read came from NotebookCheck, and it is important that even as I am no friend of Samsung (due to their own doing in 1985), I tend to not be a Samsung hater. Let us not forget that I love Nintendo and I personally hated the WiiU, I also accept that sometimes a failure precedes a success like the Nintendo Switch, so Samsung might optionally be down,but they are not out. In the end the article lets out that it is basically not the fault of Samsung, but the chip (and its makers) is the cause of all the viewed hardship. The Exynos 990 seems to be below par on a few fields as such depending on that chip caused the project to go pear shaped. This is the direct result of choices, sometimes they blow back on us (WiiU anyone?). Yet in the field the hidden message is often missed. As stated ‘after 10 minutes of running PUBG Mobile, the galaxy S20+ was dropping frames to 50fps (something some recent consoles could not maintain), and as low as 40fps by the 20 minute mark’ the story is nowhere near over and Samsung has time to get up to speed in more than one way.

The writer goes on stating how it is that a $200 solution called Redmi Note 8 Pro did so much better. It is interesting that merely one example was matched. Still it is a mark on the status list of Samsung for now, yet a firm that is in the top 5 of most registered patents in the last years does not have merely one push towards the top and even as (for now) the S20+ is not likely to be a pushing power to the top, Samsng has had its share of true innovative successes and as such it will bounce back, it has done that a few times, and I have no doubt it will do so again.

They are not alone, even as Apple has no recorded future failure yet, it seems that not unlike the time of the PowerMac, they face a new chiprace. The news is that Intel just cannot get their response rate right and as we see that, Apple is considering a new path, one that is RISC or ARM, if it is the RISC, we see a return to happy times (ME: happy happy joy joy), yet that is because I am not a chip man and I know little of the ARM, I merely remember the good times of the RISC (I still have my RISC G5), that systems outdid anything available in those days and made no noise. Still that is not enough for you to rely on. In my mind I see another field starting up, all the APP developers relying on little INTEL options to get whatever they made go faster will have to rethink their options, there will be a weeding in the ranks of APP developers soon enough at that point, not to mention the people making PC games and including Apple as an option, it sets the optional parameters that the design for Apple needs to be truly for Apple. These two matters are a larger stage, last year the Irish Times reported on the collaboration between the two in regards to the iTunes movies, but I wonder if it stops there, Samsung has a much stronger infrastructure, Apple has a few unique designs and a following of millions, I wonder if there is not a larger space for more between the two, they must realise that the changed setting of Covid requires a different stage of thinking for the near future, their approach to almost unaffordable phones is nice, but millions of people are getting laid off, people who used to buy their products and that is off the table for the next two years, if not even longer. 

The changes that we are seeing will demand the largest players to find symphony and chorus between them instead of relying on the powerful solo acts that no one can afford. As such we will see a few more surprises in 2020 and 2021. Some might think that the markets will settle again, but they all forgot that to appease Wall Street too many companies were on a 90% stage with no reserves, now it shows as the bankruptcy numbers are going through the roof, even smaller players like Virgin are running for their life laying off thousands of people, without reserves there is no continuance for any of them, they ignored the common setting for keeping reserves and a 2 month shutdown was enough to make most of them buckle and it will get worse, the EU (those pulling the strings) have achieved in delaying Basel III for another year due to Covid implications. The FSB stated in one of their reports “Funding markets have been under strain amid extreme demand for cash and near-cash assets” it is a stage that is escalating, mainly because of a lack of reserves and it hits back at Samsung as well. This one failure is optionally no biggie, but when you consider that the next two years will be washed from larger revenue and profit in a stage where the time was not great to get a failure to deal with is not great, it is all about the reserves and to appease the markets too many players left ‘margin’ on the side for good reporting, it stands to reason that bad news will rule the news on several fields and it seems that Samsung will join that group that ends up having not great news, and optionally they have marginally good news that will get a downward revision up to 60-120 days later, can’t have the current quarter down, can we?

We can look and see how separate events do not add up and that would be fair, there is however a much larger field in sight and in that field the S20+ failure comes at a bad time, yet they are not alone Apple is in a similar place and forgoing individuality for 2-3 years and set combined products might be the good path for those two players. Samsung could revert to another path but overall they are not in charge, their shareholders are and they fear recession like the black plague. This is merely because 2-3 years could result in a stage of no reserves with a much stronger push towards a 3-5 year stage of no consumers and the shareholders fear that much more than anything. 

Is it not interesting how shareholders make a large company much easier to anticipate?

I have no doubt that Samsung will survive this era, just like it did in 1985, so far history has proven me right again and again, yet the entire Corona escalation is new to too many players and to me too, as such there is a lot we cannot see in a stage of feigned ‘non-panic’, even as these people have no idea just how bad things can get, and they need their shareholders to have faith, as such there remains an unknown. 

Time and profit are the ruling elements of the beast that devours, for the most it devours profit, yet what will it resort to when there is no profit?

 

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Insensitive Me

Yes, at times I tend to be truly absent of empathy, especially when I see small items like ‘as companies struggle with debt‘, so as I am given ‘Experts warn companies that have gorged on cheap money for the past decade face going out of business‘, some of them relied on the famous sales quote ‘Fake it till you make it’, and now we see the ‘warning’ sign “A worldwide credit crunch triggered by the coronavirus will set in motion a wave of corporate bankruptcies that will make the global financial crisis look like “child’s play”, investors have warned.” In this my sober response would be ‘And? Why (the eff) would I care?‘, these people relied on the debt, money they never had to get beyond the point of faking it till they made it and one small flu event is now driving them out of business. So as the world is throwing trillions against it all, I wonder just how short sighted they are. The EU spent 3 trillion on an economy to start it and it never did. As such there will be a much larger toll to everyone involved. There is no upside in “The sudden loss of revenue faced by airlines, tourism-related businesses and carmakers make them extremely vulnerable” OK, we get it, it is not their fault, but we have seen an economy giving out ebts, loans and cheap travels all over the world. Now that there will be an actual cost, there is always an impact we did not see coming. And as we are treated to: “many companies will struggle to refinance debt due to a repeat of the sudden change in credit conditions that sparked the 2007 credit crunch, banking collapses and then the GFC. The prospect of no revenue for months meant creditworthiness had plummeted in exposed sectors and cut off access to funding” we see the shortsigted issues that not having reserves bring. There is now a larger cost to rolling over debts and the stage that zero revenue brings will kill off the smaller players, those players thinking that they were in the same league of the big boys and the big boys are indeed wondering if they survive this age, as such the small fishes have almost no chance. 

As such as we consider the impact of “$2 trillion worth of corporate debt is due to be rolled over this year” all whilst we see no validation of debt rolling over, and the absence of paid off debts, we see a much larger field and everyone is in a stage ‘but why me?‘, as I personally see it, it will affect everyone who did not take the option to reduce their debts. I get it, some will be in a shabby situation and none of this is on them, but to give a rise to 5 out of 500 is a little shallow, is it not? It is the station that we see with “Lindsay David, of independent consultancy LF Economics, said the coronavirus shutdown had exposed longstanding imbalances in the financial system that had been disguised by more than a decade of ultra-low interest rates and trillions of dollars from quantitative easing schemes in the major economies“, we see the stupidity of ‘longstanding imbalances in the financial system‘ and the question attached to that ‘Why was it unattended for so long?‘ is a station that no one wants to be at, no one wants to answer that part of the equation. 

As such, the quote “We know everyone is overleveraged, full-bore, full-risk,” he said. “All we were waiting for was a trigger and unfortunately that has come in the form of a health crisis.” As such it is not the fault of the Coronavirus, any trigger would have sufficed, as such being the one adhering to some Wall Street need, is set to zero and the house will take it all, it is in that light that some see players like Virgin Australia who needs to roll over $5 billion whilst it is in a stage where it cannot bring more than $500 million to the table, a mere 10%, even in the better stage where it would have been double that, rolling over is a doubtful stage for a few lenders, yet this health trigger is not the one anyone hoped or even wished for, it is a stage that was well over 10 years in the making and greed driven people filled their pockets and walked away with a multi million bonus, enough to live in luxury for the next 10 years. After which the market will resettle and their stage of profit comes again, that is what we have catered to.

So as we are introduced to “A full repeat of the post-Lehman Brothers crisis was on the cards, he said, as banks scrambled to hold on to liquidity” a lot of people have not considered the stage we see where the panic driven people first bought out all the pasta they could and after that take out their ATM and saving balance before the bank runs out, at that stage the initial point leading to the worst of the worst will be a much larger stage for everyone.

And the larger issue is seen at the end of the article with: “Let’s say you are a pension fund in Canada and six years ago you gave a bank $1bn. Every year you roll over that bond and the deal remains in place. But now you’re saying, ‘you know what, can I have that money back now?’. So the problem for the company is, where will I find $1bn? Not from its deposits or its liquidity because it’s now got more money going out than coming in.” and that is not where it ends, in October 2019 we saw “regulators should be ensuring the strength of the financial sector to withstand future risks, not weaken it, but that is not what is happening in the U.S.  Recent moves to ease regulations suggest financial stability risks are at an inflection point. Incentives to leverage will continue to rise as interest rates remain low amid a global search for yield.  Vulnerabilities that have been “moderate” could escalate quickly to “elevated”, as they did in the lead up to the 2007 – 2008 crisis“, as such some tried to ‘ease’ the Basel 3 regulations as fast as their greedy needs required, as such, we see “Phase-in arrangements for the leverage ratio were announced in the 26 July 2010 press release of the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision. That is, the supervisory monitoring period will commence 1 January 2011; the parallel run period will commence 1 January 2013 and run until 1 January 2017; and disclosure of the leverage ratio and its components will start 1 January 2015. Based on the results of the parallel run period, any final adjustments will be carried out in the first half of 2017 with a view to migrating to a Pillar 1 treatment on 1 January 2018 based on appropriate review and calibration” (at https://www.bis.org/press/p100912.pdf), now that was then and it got a little more time “The leverage ratio1 and the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR), which took effect in January 2018, and the supervisory framework for measuring and controlling large exposures, which took effect in January 2019, have yet to be adopted by all jurisdictions (Graph 1). The leverage ratio is now in force in 16 jurisdictions (one more since 2018), while 11 jurisdictions have final rules in force for the NSFR (unchanged since 2018). Only 10 jurisdictions have final rules in force for the large exposures framework.” (at https://www.fsb.org/work-of-the-fsb/implementation-monitoring/monitoring-of-priority-areas/basel-iii/) as such it is not required until 1 January 2022 (as some stated), and now that it is too late, we will get the larger impact. So how happy are you with those people making 6 figure numbers and delaying it all again and again? You will feel that part soon enough when internal systems start to buckle. We might think that President Trump $1 trillion dollar bailout is a good thing, but when that money dries up (and it will dry up a lot faster than you think) he will a scared little mouse, as he will see firsthand what 300 million angry Americans look like and corporations will see the impact of their delay and rollover tactics. Even now as we are told ‘Trump administration is asking states to hold off on releasing unemployment figures as economy plummets‘, we might start to see a much larger failing. We are in a stage where we set ourselves up for a much larger stage, one that outstages the great depression of the 30’s, it merely took a case of the flu to get us there.

Should you think I am exaggerating, consider the Bloomberg headline (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-19/goldman-sees-deepest-australian-downturn-since-great-depression) a mere 2 hours ago. It might have the sobering ‘Goldman Sees Deepest Australian Downturn Since Great Depression‘ headline, but in part the overp[aid delaying factors are to some degree cause of it all and they are hiding behind “Most of the contraction is expected to be driven by a collapse in ‘social’ consumption“, the essential part of ‘the stage of reserves is not what it needed to be‘ is not mentioned anywhere, you have to distill that from other parts and read through the emptiness of what they claim, they might claim facts, yet they do not give any part of the whole story and it will hit the US, Australia, the UK, France, Spain, Italy and to some degree even Germany. That is what we have to look forward to, at least as the Covid panic continues. It seems to me that the makers of pasta and pantry items are in a much better position. Until a month ago, the idea that San Remo ends up being one of the richest companies in Australia would have been laughed at, when you look at the empty shelves almost everywhere last week, that stage is a lot less laughable at present, I wonder in all this whether the new economic superpower will include San Remo and/or Barilla, as there is a chance that the seat of Virgin Australia on that board will be up for grabs soon enough.

 

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Nubentes capitalismi

Here we see more of the Greek way, as per yesterday we see that the Greek banks need more money, billions more. So this is where I looked for the Latin word of deficit and it is ‘Repudii’ (Latin humour). The Greeks might say “Αποθήκευση έλλειμμα σε ένα θησαυροφυλάκιο της τράπεζας“, but the sad story is not the deficit or the shortage, the sad story is that many Governments, not just the Greeks relied on credit cards whilst they made sure that those spending the money would not have to pay for it, they got a large bonus for spending money they never had and the people have been suffering for far too long. This situation is not just seen in Greece, for the most nearly all EEC nations have spent way too much, a terminal amount of money I might add. If the budgets are a setting for a nation’s health than 30% of them should be pronounced dead and an additional 50% is on the edge of dying. That is the grim situation. In all this we see more and more news on how things are getting better. Better for who? The people around me have not had any rise in living for close to a decade. In addition the cost of living has exceeded the income rise for about that same time, so in all this, when have people been better off since 2004?

In all this Greece might have been hit visibly harder but life in the UK or in France or Italy is no picnic either. In all this the banks seem to go about their usual ways. In addition, as we saw the news regarding bank liquidity and other reserves. The things that are referred to as Basel III and now also Basel 4, why did they not shift the timeline? Why has ‘mandatory’ implementation been delayed until 2019? Why was Greece, as it faced the things it faced and as it needed funds all over the place, not pushed into a mandatory implementation of Basel III? Part of the deal should have been stress testing and demanding defences for banks directly. It seems that it had not been done!

This takes me to an article by Morris Goldstein from May 2012 (at http://www.voxeu.org/article/eu-s-implementation-basel-iii-deeply-flawed-compromise). In here three points come to order.

The first: “Whether member countries should be permitted to enact minimum capital ratios considerably tougher (higher) than those specified under Basel III without approval of the EU“, which is an interesting need, because this would have applied to Greece from the very beginning, and I am talking the issues as they emerged in 2013.

The second: “Whether the restrictions on what can be counted as high-quality capital under Basel III should be scrupulously adhered to in EU legislation“, the fact that EU legislation is not up to par here is even more of an issue, you set rules and standards and then not legislate it? How will banks EVER fall in line when it is not legislated? We have evidence going back to 2004 where bankers lost trillions and still got millions in bonuses. You mean that after a decade, the national legislation arms within the EEC are still no more than mere ‘pussies’ looking for that banking fellow named Dick?

The third: “Whether the Basel III deadlines for introducing an unweighted leverage requirement for bank capital and two new quantitative liquidity standards (the liquidity coverage ratio and the net stable funding ratio) should be mirrored in EU legislation“, which sounds all good and fine, but Basel 3 was already in the works in 2002, why has it taken such a massive amount of time to get close to nothing done? Why were the Greek banks not set to a higher setting because of them requiring so many billions in funds?

It seems that no one has any clear answers here.

Now we get to the good stuff. In the article Morris states the following: “The 15 May accord also permits EU banks to count as equity capital several financial instruments with dubious loss-absorbency, including the so-called “silent participations” of German banks and the minority stakes of French banks in insurance companies. Such a step weakens the Basel III guidelines on the quality of bank capital. In one of the few concessions to the Osborne View, the agreement adheres to the Basel III time schedules for the leverage ratio and the two liquidity standards“, which was to be discussed somewhere after May 2012.

So now we take another leap towards a Danish bank paper, a mere publication (at https://www.danskebank.com/da-dk/ir/Documents/2012/Q1/SpeechQ12012-Confcall.pdf), So in all this, we see the following text: “And you could not just use the what has been known as the Danish compromise, where you have 370% risk weighting for the capital, to kind of end up somewhere in between the two extremes?” to which the response by Henrik Ramlau-Hansen – Danske Bank – CFO was “That could also be a solution, yeah“. Let’s sit on this for a second, a form of weighting where we get to set the weight to ‘370% risk weighting’, so how is this a good idea? I have used weighting in the past, so it is not a big deal on one hand. However, when we look back towards 2004 and 2008, where setting abnormal risks, why give such a level of leeway to a branch that cannot be trusted?

The last part in this comes from shaky grounds, I will tell you this right now and I never hid the fact that I am not an economist. Consider the PDF from the Crédit Agricole Group from November 2013 (at http://mediacommun.ca-cib.com/sitegenic/medias/DOC/94509/2013-11-07-cp-casa-resultats-3eme-trimestre-en.pdf). So they report “Net income Group share in Q3-13: €1,433 million“, now take into account their solvency part:

The targets for fully loaded Basel 3 Common Equity Tier 1 ratios (CET1) are shown below:
1st JAN 2014 31st DEC 2014 31st DEC 2015
Crédit Agricole S.A. 7.8% to 8.0% 8.8% to 9.0% >9.5%
Crédit Agricole Gp 11.0% 12.0% 13.0%
Disclaimer: The above ratios are based on a number of assumptions

 

Now consider the text “These figures take into account the weighting of the capital and reserves of Crédit Agricole Assurances according to the Danish compromise (at 370%) or 34 billion euros in risk weighted assets as well as the extension of the specific guarantees (Switch) between the Regional Banks and Crédit Agricole S.A. for 34 billion euros in risk weighted assets“, so a company with a little over a billion in revenue, ending up with around 830 million in net income group share. So that place is running a weighted risk of 34 billion, which implies that the risk of 34 billion is covered by an income that covers 2.44%, how is that even close to realistic? Why has a massive change in dealing with the weighted risk not been done? Why are people still under threat of exploitation by banks as they live of the fringe of a Danish Compromise?

I am just asking!

This now reflects back to the Greek banks, have they been playing that same game, where did all those billions go to? As an underwriting for more riskier and more profitable incomes? It seems to me that there are issues with the banks all over Europe and their own local governments are clueless as to what the banks are doing. If you consider me wrong than ask any politician right now an answer in regards to Basel III, Basel 4 and their own banks. They are very unlikely to give you a clear answer. This approach is not just for the UK, several other countries should be asking questions and holding the answers to account. So as these politicians have no answers, how come they are elected and how come they are unable to budget anything. Are they budgeting in the same way the Danish compromise is applied to banks? A government spending anywhere between 37%-370% in a weighted budget for the expected gains of taxation tomorrow?

That sounds as hollow as Mr Wimpy going into a food court stating: “I will happily pay tomorrow for a hamburger today!” I wonder how many places he will be able to get food from. Interesting that we do not hold our politicians to this account, which is exactly why the massive cuts from the Conservatives (UK) are so essential, they are in the fight of their lives not to become the mere puppets of the banks. You see, I think it is not that unrealistic that even within my lifetime our income slips will have a taxation part and a deficit settlement part. The day that happens, remember my words! Austerity was the only option, and only when we neuter both the banks and politicians. I think that the change of making an administration accountable for their spending will be essential for us to have any future. For a decade politicians have been writing checks no one could pay and that choice should no longer be an option from 2015 onwards.

Which gets us back to Greece. The two final quotes are: “In August, Eurozone finance ministers released €26bn of the €86bn in bailout funds that went to recapitalising Greece’s stricken banking sector and make a debt payment to the ECB” and “Depositors pulled billions out of the country fearing that Greece would be forced to leave the euro. Limits on withdrawals and transfers imposed in June to prevent Greek banks from collapsing remain in place, although they have been loosened” (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/31/greece-banks-14bn-survive-economic-downturn), so as that risk was known, how come limits on transfers were loosened? So we see the need for another €14bn for the reason that people took their cash outside of Greece, something that was a certainty. Why allow for the loosening of rules on transfers? In that the first paragraph is also an issue. The text: ‘Greece’s four main banks need to find another €14bn (£10bn) of reserves to ensure they could withstand an economic downturn‘, should basically read: ‘Greece’s four main banks need to find another €14bn (£10bn) of reserves to ensure they will withstand the next upcoming economic downturn‘. Because in case of Greece the next downturn is a given and it is not that far away.

This again links to another part. The Greek Reporter gives us: ‘Head of Greek Capital Market Regulator Resigns’ (at http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/10/31/head-of-greek-capital-market-regulator-resigns/), so basically, after the completion of the bank recapitalization he shoves himself out of the back door. Can anyone explain that to me? Because if he did a good job he should not get fired, if he did poorly, or even if he has messed up he should end up in holiday retreat Korydallos. Of course, as far as I can tell, he never committed any crime, so Hotel Korydallos is not for him, but it does re-iterate on how the banks should have been cut to size in freedom before those billions were pushed into Greece and in light of loosened restrictions a few more questions and demands should be set. Now, ‘shoving himself’ out of the back door is of course completely incorrect as the man resigned, but why did he resign? Is he not committed to saving Greece, or has he figured out something I saw almost 2 years ago when I spoke about the idiocracy of enabling the Greek system to the extent the ECB had done?

So why as I finalise this blog, the valid question becomes ‘Why is the Blogger Lawlordtobe having a go at Konstantinos Botopoulos?

This is one that requires an answer and an explanation. You see, on May 20th 2015 (at http://www.waterstechnology.com/buy-side-technology/news/2409402/esma-board-member-capital-market-union-shouldnt-reinvent-the-wheel) we see the title “ESMA Board Member: Capital Market Union Shouldn’t ‘Reinvent the Wheel’“, which is fair enough, but the text: “The idea behind the CMU is not to reinvent the wheel by creating new rules but to achieve free flow of capital by using the existing tools and finding intelligent ways to tie everything together“, leaves me with the clear impression that the application of ‘to achieve free flow of capital’ could be seen as the loosening of restrictions which allowed for many billions (read: dozens) to be transferred out of Greece and as such the ECB (or the IMF) ends up pushing a few dozen billion more into Greece. In that same part ‘finding intelligent ways to tie everything together’, could be seen as diversifying the wealth of the Greek rich and famous towards the shores of Bermuda or Riyadh, places with not a taxman in sight. Is my interpretation correct? I am willing to consider that I am wrong and I am making no accusation, it is mere speculation on my side.

Yet in all this the timeline should be the cause of many questions, questions the press at large does not seem to be making. The rest of the article is on centralising reports and it seems to me that the article is missing a few steps. Even as the implied dangers of Brexit are voiced, Frexit is ignored. Now we must allow that people were not taking Frexit seriously, but the tide is still turning and the one danger in that part (Marine Le Pen) is gaining approval ratings on the right side of the Isle. Reuters stated: “Le Pen, who is set to win control of France’s northernmost area in December elections, saw her rating rise 5 percentage points to 52 percent among right-wing voters who were asked who they wanted to become more influential in political life“, which now puts her right behind former prime minister Alain Juppe, whilst both are leaving Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy far behind them in the dust. The battle is far from over, but again the reality of a Frexit is moving one more step forwards towards reality and in all that Greece was the starting spark to that upcoming dangerous escalation, only because hard choices were not made in late 2013, because the bankers and the greed driven required the Status Quo to remain as is, which is why we are seeing escalations that could impact the savings of millions to come soon enough.

Now, I will admit that there is no given that Marine Le Pen would win, yet as we have seen a massive amount of speculation and innuendo left right and centre, the mere danger of Frexit is ignored for the larger extent. Why? Is Frexit not an additional danger that is also propelling Brexit? And the Greek issue is what drove both to begin with, so there are direct links and in all that these intertwining events have been largely ignored for too long.

You should not take my word for any of this, it is my view on the matters, it is however important that you read up and that you ask the right people the right questions, the absent part in that is slightly too scary, especially when the Greek bank towers come tumbling down.

 

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G8 on a bicycle ride

Today, like most days, it is good to get this little jolt of inspiration by Dutch news bringer NOS (www.nos.nl). They illustrated a specific situation where the banks are failing. Whether it is intentional, short sighted or lack of whatever they claim. Banks are not doing their jobs. They have turned into commercial enterprises at the expense of everyone.

We all know that money is tight. We do not have anything to spend, and when I see something interestingly innovative that it could better both consumer and economy then it becomes a matter of public scrutiny, whether some should be allowed to continue the way they are and the way they are clearly not properly doing ‘their’ business.

Of course, the reality is that the Spanish banks are pretty much utterly bankrupt. So if a bank is described as “the connection between customers that have capital deficits and customers with capital surpluses.” So what should we think when the bank itself has come to severe deficit.

When a bank is subject to regulations, guidelines and requirements, I wonder if some should be allowed to call themselves banks. In addition, I am starting to have a few serious concerns in regards to these regulations and guidelines at present. If banks are supposed to have a decent foundation of reserves, the notion that a good idea failing moving towards to a profitable niche should raise questions.

A step requiring no more than 3 million Euro! This bounced as banks seemed to have ‘other’ priorities. When banks that seem to have billions vested in something and according to Basel III are required certain reserves. What on earth is going on?

Consider that a bank has EVERY cent levied in one way or another in a nation with over 25% unemployment rate; I would say that something seems to be wrong in my book. It should be considered that these banks are serving a population group by letting them skate on dangerous thin ice, which is how I see it. Of course the opposing view might be very true. It might be an idea that the banks see as a not so profitable one. Yet, the fact that this design is getting international interest seems to give weight to the designers view, not the banks view.

So what caused all this?

I grew up in the Netherlands, a nation that used to have a massive national monopoly on bicycles. Bicycles were almost 1:1 for every person living in that country. Cars were still a rarity. Today, places like Amsterdam, Leiden and Rotterdam rely on bicycle (especially the student population). I remember having to go 9 kilometres every day to school. So that was a daily 18 Km ride! Those were the days! So, even though I’ve resided in places like London and Sydney, where the rider of a bicycle has less of a chance then Bambi in a deer hunt, I remain optimistic towards the needs of bicycles on a global scale.

In addition, we could consider places like France, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and several other places to realise that finding an investment like a novel version of the bicycle into a new era is a massive thing. The chance for an investor of getting a possible corner in the market with 3 million Euro should wake up those who have cash. Seeing it could also infuse the economy of Spain, then that investment seems a lot less like a gamble. I would like to add, that if I had the money I would run to that opportunity.

So, here we are!

A Spaniard called Eduard Sentis has come up with something so innovative it is hard to grasp that no one came up with it. He calls it the Urbike. When we think of bicycles, then we should consider the downsides. For me over history that has been two parts. The first is the danger of flat tires. Eduard gave an old idea new breath with a solid tyre, so no punctures ever. The second is that the chain of the bike can get dislodged. No problems, Eduard added a bicycle version of a shaft drive. So the two downsides I lived with are gone. It even comes with a navigator that is seriously rain and shockproof. (http://www.designboom.com/design/urbikes-by-eduard-sentis/)

This is innovation where no one had looked to for some time, or perhaps they did and the timing was off.

Why would people buy a bicycle? Consider that cars become more and more expensive, fuel prices go up and when you live against a wave of mounting costs then the old way could be the best way to get anywhere. Many will come up with excuses not to consider the car, but then, be honest! Do you really need a car to get bread and milk from the grocer? Do you really need to get to friends nearby in cars?

All that waste of money and then consider all those online options you get from those insurers after answering a ‘few’ questions. For the most you do not ever ask that much detail from the person you have intimate sex with, question after question! NOT ONE gave me a simple answer. They will claim that answers are not that simple. A bicycle is simple. You sit on it and drive. You should get some insurance, but it should be nowhere near the cost of a car insurance.

We seem to ignore in many places the fact that we all could use the workout a bicycle gives us. If all these governments are so into healthy living, the impossibility of Eduard Sentis not getting any funding is becoming more and more of a puzzle, one that might yield massive earnings down the line. I agree that this is always a gamble, but timing is presently on his side.

So is this about the bicycle or the bank? I think both need to be looked at. I think financial groups are now moving into margins where almost none are left. If the Royal Banks of Scotland had close to 40 Billion Euros revenue in 2012 (not all of that profit mind you), and they are in ‘decent serious financial predicaments’ then other banks should doing reasonably well. 3 million should hardly show up with the possible future revenues in store. You see, that is part of the question. What do we know about those margins they should have?

So an amazing innovation gives visibility to failing banks seem to be in question. The fact that the bicycle was offered to the Danes as they were not able to get funding in Spain only intensifies the outstanding question. The banks with the reserves they should have; the transparency in banking that should be and their status at present. Who is minding the store and are we getting the whole picture or are they too managing bad news over a long period of time?

So here we are, the G8 has started and their message is trade and transparency (well these two mattered here to me).  Considering that India and China are also attending that summit, then the question should be, how did a project like Urbike not get any funding for bringing transparent international trade. It’s not like the 200 billion in bad debts in Spain will go anywhere. If Santander can pledge 840 million towards bad banks, in a place where the toxic assets have swallowed 38 billion (Sareb), spending 3 million (less than 0.0001%) towards something that could propel trade and economy seems to be a good thing.  I wonder if that will come up during the G8, or will it in the end be another vessel to move into a Syrian discussion. Perhaps weapons trade has a better return on investment? (It seems to work for Russia)

As we move into the latter half of another year, too many eyes are averted to a growing amount of toxic bank moves. A cost that is very likely to get left with taxpayers in the end.

It seems that we are all taken on a bicycle ride, a bicycle that got never any funding to begin with.

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