Posts tagged banking
As the latest winter storm moved across my region yesterday afternoon people were heading home, stopping to pick up any last minute supplies en route, waiting to see what the reality would bring come morning after a day of ever changing weather forecasts. Reality painted a beautiful winter landscape over night as shown below from a few quick photos taken this morning.
Last night many people, myself included, checked online to one of the local media websites to see what businesses would be closed due to the winter snow storm. A long list of city and county offices, schools, manufacturing facilities, day care centers and others were listed as expected. There are many factors that come into play, such as public safety, availability of employees due to travel conditions and school / day care closings, delayed delivery of supplies affecting manufacturing, rural routes that would make school bus travel impossible, plus everyone enjoys a snow day, which may be most applicable to the municipal closings.
When reading the updated local closings this morning, after taking time to enjoy the winter snowfall all around me, one thing is strikingly apparent. Money is never closed. Even in this day of online purchases and banking the brick and mortar locations will not let a winter snow storm interrupt transactions. The retail giants are open should anyone have been asleep the last few days and were not aware of the winter storm moving in. The financial institutions are listed as open, averaging a 1.5 ~ 2 hour delay. Not to worry, a bit of snow will not curtail your opportunity to help generate more profits for the banks. In contrast a Baptist church is listed as closed today. I am sure there is a moral to the story when winter weather closes a church but not a bank. I will let you ponder that one for awhile.
Hoping all drive safe, stay warm and enjoy the beautiful scenery before the sunshine turns today into another pretty memory.
Rise of the Libertarians, 10 reasons why Slate, Salon and the progressive media are afraid
Attached is an extremely well done article which lays out why it is that today’s political establishment, especially the “progressives” are so afraid of libertarianism.
Libertarianism is a logical evolution from statism. Statism is a 20th Century ideology based in the idea that systems were closed and if the right smart people ran society an egalitarian Utopia would bloom. If we could create an atom bomb with concerted government directed efforts why could we not also engineer the society (many) people wanted? In the dark days of a rising Soviet Union and expanding a New Deal, very few thought of the economy as a living breathing thing. Something which was alive and composed of billions and billions of exchanges and human decisions. Society was instead a machine, a factory. From this factory we could create the dream which had so long eluded humanity.
But this kind of thinking, contrary to what people thought at the time, was not a revolution against oppressive feudalism and the industrial revolution. Statism was and is an extension of it. Government as a massive corporation, nominally “owned by the workers of the world” but always controlled by a group of lever pullers who look remarkably like the group of lever pullers they replaced.
Libertarianism in contrast embraces an open source society. People, every day people, are valued as individuals. In a world where individuals are more educated than ever – and I don’t mean in the sense that people have more degrees than in the past, I mean in the sense that through the Internet people know much more about the world around them – individuals demand respect. People are not cogs to be placed in a machine by self designated social engineers. People are living entities who come together, or choose not to depending on perceived value.
Progressivism, statism, in contrast is about force. It is about a failed top down 20th Century religion based in the fever dreams of Marx and Hegel from the 19th Century. Seriously, it is a religion.
For those looking forward. For those who despise coercion. Who value human dignity. Who have faith in their abilities and a healthy fear of bureaucrats who say they know best when the data shows over and over that they don’t. For those who believe that each person should be given the chance to actualize his or her gifts to the maximum degree possible. For those who believe that society to the degree possible should be VOLUNTARY. For those who believe that they know how to manage their lives better than some government employee sitting in a stone building somewhere. Well, libertarianism has quite a lot to offer.
And to think Rachael Maddow said that the “era of small government was over” right after the government shutdown in October, and right before Obamacare blew up. And I think she honestly believed it, along with the rest of the establishment. Only 5 months ago.
For the record since this particularly sweet moment her ratings have tanked, though she does now have a wealthy new sponsor for her show, Exxon Mobile. Kudos to her on that.
So welcome to the (peaceful) revolution America and it’s just beginning. Welcome to ACTUAL CHANGE. It is an exciting time, and take absolutely nothing for granted.
8. Libertarians really don’t like crony capitalism. For all the lip service progressives pay to the “problem” of income inequality, they consistently back the most illiberal and inegalitarian policies. Is there anything fair about showering taxpayer resources upon this energy company or that—and making their CEOs’ wealth more secure in the process? Is there anything equitable about shoring up the U.S. banking cartel with permanent legislation like Dodd-Frank? And what chosen “one-percenters” are benefitting from the crony-infested Obamacare legislation, which rains goodies down on drug-makers, healthcare providers, and insurance companies in equal measure? On the other hand, while libertarians don’t mind the sort of inequality that comes from people successfully creating happy customers, wealth, and jobs, we really—no really—don’t like collusion between business interests and government power.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
How Central Banks Cause Income Inequality
The gap between the rich and poor continues to grow. The wealthiest 1 percent held 8 percent of the economic pie in 1975 but now hold over 20 percent. This is a striking change from the 1950s and 1960s when their share of all incomes was slightly over 10 percent. A study by Emmanuel Saez found that between 2009 and 2012 the real incomes of the top 1 percent jumped 31.4 percent. The richest 10 percent now receive 50.5 percent of all incomes, the largest share since data was first recorded in 1917. The wealthiest are becoming disproportionally wealthier at an ever increasing rate.
Most of the literature on income inequalities is written by professors from the sociology departments of universities. They have identified factors such as technology, the reduced role of labor unions, the decline in the real value of the minimum wage, and, everyone’s favorite scapegoat, the growing importance of China.
Those factors may have played a role, but there are really two overriding factors that are the real cause of income differentials. One is desirable and justified while the other is the exact opposite.
In a capitalist economy, prices and profit play a critical role in ensuring resources are allocated where they are most needed and used to produce goods and services that best meets society’s needs. When Apple took the risk of producing the iPad, many commentators expected it to flop. Its success brought profits while at the same time sent a signal to all other producers that society wanted more of this product. The profits were a reward for the risks taken. It is the profit motive that has given us a multitude of new products and an ever-increasing standard of living. Yet, profits and income inequalities go hand in hand. We cannot have one without the other, and if we try to eliminate one, we will eliminate, or significantly reduce, the other. Income inequalities are an integral outcome of the profit-and-loss characteristic of capitalism; they cannot be divorced.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher understood this inseparability well. She once said it is better to have large income inequalities and have everyone near the top of the ladder, than have little income differences and have everyone closer to the bottom of the ladder.
Yet, the middle class has been sinking toward poverty: that is not climbing the ladder. Over the period between 1979 and 2007, incomes for the middle 60 percent increased less than 40 percent while inflation was 186 percent. According to the Saez study, the remaining 99 percent saw their real incomes increase a mere .4 percent between 2009 and 2012. However, this does not come close to recovering the loss of 11.6 percent suffered between 2007 and 2009, the largest two-year decline since the Great Depression. When adjusted for inflation, low-wage workers are actually making less now than they did 50 years ago.
This brings us to the second undesirable and unjustified source of income inequalities, i.e., the creation of money out of thin air, or legal counterfeiting, by central banks. It should be no surprise the growing gap in income inequalities has coincided with the adoption of fiat currencies worldwide. Every dollar the central bank creates benefits the early recipients of the money—the government and the banking sector — at the expense of the late recipients of the money, the wage earners, and the poor. Since the creation of a fiat currency system in 1971, the dollar has lost 82 percent of its value while the banking sector has gone from 4 percent of GDP to well over 10 percent today.
The central bank does not create anything real; neither resources nor goods and services. When it creates money it causes the price of transactions to increase. The original quantity theory of money clearly related money to the price of anything money can buy, including assets. When the central bank creates money, traders, hedge funds and banks — being first in line — benefit from the increased variability and upward trend in asset prices. Also, future contracts and other derivative products on exchange rates or interest rates were unnecessary prior to 1971, since hedging activity was mostly unnecessary. The central bank is responsible for this added risk, variability, and surge in asset prices unjustified by fundamentals.
The banking sector has been able to significantly increase its profits or claims on goods and services. However, more claims held by one sector, which essentially does not create anything of real value, means less claims on real goods and services for everyone else. This is why counterfeiting is illegal. Hence, the central bank has been playing a central role as a “reverse Robin Hood” by increasing the economic pie going to the rich and by slowly sinking the middle class toward poverty.
Janet Yellen recently said “I am hopeful that … inflation will move back toward our longer-run goal of 2 percent, demonstrating her commitment to an institutionalized policy of theft and wealth redistribution.” The European central bank is no better. Its LTRO strategy was to give longer term loans to banks on dodgy collateral to buy government bonds which they promptly turned around and deposited with the central bank for more cheap loans for more government bonds. This has nothing to do with liquidity and everything to do with boosting bank profits. Yet, every euro the central bank creates is a tax on everyone that uses the euro. It is a tax on cash balances. It is taking from the working man to give to the rich European bankers. This is clearly a back door monetization of the debt with the banking sector acting as a middle man and taking a nice juicy cut. The same logic applies to the redistribution created by paying interest on reserves to U.S. banks.
Concerned with income inequalities, President Obama and democrats have suggested even higher taxes on the rich and boosting the minimum wage. They are wrongly focusing on the results instead of the causes of income inequalities. If they succeed, they will be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If they are serious about reducing income inequalities, they should focus on its main cause, the central bank.
In 1923, Germany returned to its pre-war currency and the gold standard with essentially no gold. It did it by pledging never to print again. We should do the same.
About the Author
Frank Hollenbeck teaches finance and economics at the International University of Geneva. He has previously held positions as a Senior Economist at the State Department, Chief Economist at Caterpillar Overseas, and as an Associate Director of a Swiss private bank.
Image credit: https://mises.org
Why Are Banking Executives In London Killing Themselves?
Bankers committing suicide by jumping from the rooftops of their own banks is something that we think of when we think of the Great Depression. Well, it just happened in London, England. A vice president at JPMorgan’s European headquarters in London plunged to his death after jumping from the top of the 33rd floor. He fell more than 500 feet, and it is being reported by an eyewitness that “there was quite a lot of blood“. This comes on the heels of news that a former Deutsche Bank executive was found hanged in his home in London on Sunday. So why is this happening? Yes, the markets have gone down a little bit recently but they certainly have not crashed yet. Could there be more to these deaths than meets the eye? You never know. And as I will discuss below, there have been a lot of other really strange things happening around the world lately as well.
But before we get to any of that, let’s take a closer look at some of these banker deaths. The JPMorgan executive that jumped to his death on Tuesday was named Gabriel Magee. He was 39 years old, and his suicide has the city of London in shock…
A bank executive who died after jumping 500ft from the top of JP Morgan’s European headquarters in London this morning has been named as Gabriel Magee.
The American senior manager, 39, fell from the 33-story skyscraper and was found on the ninth floor roof, which surrounds the Canary Wharf skyscraper.
He was a vice president in the corporate and investment bank technology department having joined in 2004, moving to Britain from the United States in 2007.
What would cause a man in his prime working years who is making huge amounts of money to do something like that?
The death on Sunday of former Deutsche Bank executive Bill Broeksmit is also a mystery. According to the Daily Mail, police consider his death to be “non-suspicious”, which means that they believe that it was a suicide and not a murder…
A former Deutsche Bank executive has been found dead at a house in London, it emerged today.
The body of William ‘Bill’ Broeksmit, 58, was discovered at his home in South Kensington on Sunday shortly after midday by police, who had been called to reports of a man found hanging at a house.
Mr Broeksmit – who retired last February – was a former senior manager with close ties to co-chief executive Anshu Jain. Metropolitan Police officers said his death was declared as non-suspicious.
Last week, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG died last week. The cause of death has not been made public.
Perhaps it is just a coincidence that these deaths have all come so close to one another. After all, people die all the time.
And London is rather dreary this time of the year. It is easy for people to get depressed if they are not accustomed to endless gloomy weather.
If the stock market was already crashing, it would be easy to blame the suicides on that. The world certainly remembers what happened during the crash of 1929…
Historically, bankers have been stereotyped as the most likely to commit suicide. This has a lot to do with the famous 1929 stock market crash, which resulted in 1,616 banks failing and more than 20,000 businesses going bankrupt. The number of bankers committing suicide directly after the crash is thought to have been only around 20, with another 100 people connected to the financial industry dying at their own hand within the year.
But the market isn’t crashing just yet. We definitely appear to be at a “turning point“, but things are still at least somewhat stable.
So why are bankers killing themselves?
That is a good question.
As I mentioned above, there have also been quite a few other strange things that have happened lately that seem to be “out of place”.
“Have an exit plan…”
What in the world does he mean by that?
Maybe that is just a case of Drudge being Drudge.
Then again, maybe not.
And on Tuesday we learned that a prominent Russian Bank has banned all cash withdrawals until next week…
Bloomberg reports that ‘My Bank’ – one of Russia’s top 200 lenders by assets – has introduced a complete ban on cash withdrawals until next week. While the Ruble has been losing ground rapidly recently, we suspect few have been expecting bank runs in Russia.
Yes, we have heard some reports of people having difficulty getting money out of their banks around the world lately, but this news out of Russia really surprised me.
Yet another story that seemed rather odd was a report in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that stated that Germany’s central bank is advocating “a one-time wealth tax” for European nations that need a bailout…
Germany’s central bank Monday proposed a one-time wealth tax as an option for euro-zone countries facing bankruptcy, reviving a idea that has circled for years in Europe but has so far gained little traction.
Why would they be suggesting such a thing if “economic recovery” was just around the corner?
According to that same article, the IMF has recommended a similar thing…
The International Monetary Fund in October also floated the idea of a one-time “capital levy,” amid a sharp deterioration of public finances in many countries. A 10% tax would bring the debt levels of a sample of 15 euro-zone member countries back to pre-crisis levels of 2007, the IMF said.
So what does all of this mean?
I am not exactly sure, but I have got a bad feeling about this – especially considering the financial chaos that we are witnessing in emerging markets all over the globe right now.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Paul Craig Roberts on the Dollar Demise and the Future of the Negative Interest Rate
Published by Boom Bust
About: Where have all the banks gone? Well, according to statistics from the FDIC, banks are going the way of the dinosaur.
We’ll tell you all about it.
Also economist and former Assistant Treasury Secretary, Paul Craig Roberts, joins Erin today to discuss all things Fed policy.
Finally, Rachel Kurzius and Erin discuss the high net-worth practice of “jurisdiction shopping” in today’s Big Deal.
Today’s crony economy is killing the middle class
The only people who have seen their real incomes increase under this president have been the top 5% of earners. Those with large investment portfolios have seen their assets grow – or perhaps more accurately, have watched them inflate – while most of America has seen its income reduced over the last 5 years. Adjusted for inflation the average household in America makes less than 2008. Quite a bit less.
Crony capitalism has much to do with this. Those who have connections in government game the system for their benefit reaping rewards from the unwashed and often unknowing cubical serfs who populate the American landscape. (Or at least used to.)
(From Real Clear Markets)
Never has it been so good to be invested in a vastly expanding federal government — either to distribute or receive federal subsidies. Never has it been so lucrative to work in banking or on Wall Street. And never has it been so bad to try to find a decent job making something real.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
“Bank of America stealing thousands of homes, and lying to the government about it.” (?)
B of A allegedly abused the HAMP program which was created to help homeowners approaching foreclosure. The bank allegedly threw out the paperwork of applicants who had fulfilled their end of the loan modification bargain, making the homeowner restart the modification process. Many people it is alleged fell into foreclosure who didn’t need to be there simply because the bank couldn’t get it’s act together. In many cases, as the attached article reports, it was worse than just incompetence.
Remember, Bank of America got bailed out by the taxpayers. The bank managed its books far worse than many of the homeowners facing foreclosure. Still mercy was in short supply at the bank.
Putting aside whether programs such as HAMP should have ever happened, and the fact that the housing crash was basically created by a too loose Fed, this is yet another example of a connected bank with all the right friends doing whatever it wanted while the average person with no political clout was left to swing in the breeze.
Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit systematically lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications, and paid their staff bonuses for deliberately pushing people into foreclosure: Yes, these allegations were suspected by any homeowner who ever had to deal with the bank to try to get a loan modification – but now they come from six former employees and one contractor, whose sworn statements were added last week to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.
By CBC News Posted: Jun 14, 2013 10:10 PM ET | Last Updated: Jun 14, 2013 11:44 PM ET
Secret tax-haven names released to public
Journalism group anticipates crowd-sourcing of leaked offshore list will yield revelations
A glimpse at an enormous trove of leaked records about secret companies and accounts is being opened to the public in hope it will shed light on the murky world of offshore finance.
The information, contained in a new online database released Friday night, has the names of more than 100,000 offshore entities — mainly companies and trusts set up in locales such as the British Virgin Islands and Cook Islands — and the people associated with them.
CBC News has had exclusive Canadian access to the data for months and has determined that it names at least 550 Canadians. Media outlets worldwide have been reporting on the information leak since it came to light in early April, with far-reaching global repercussions.
- Browse the new database of secret companies
- Read how countries have been rattled by tax-haven data leak
- See how massive leak of offshore records came to light
- Find out how the rich hide money offshore
The online names database was released late Friday night by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and contains a basic subset of the 260 gigabytes of leaked tax-haven files that the Washington-based group obtained and shared with global news organizations, including the CBC.
“What we’re doing for the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, and other offshore havens is what’s routinely done in many countries around the world — making the control and ownership of companies a matter of public record,” said Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the journalism consortium.
“This is about transparency and accountability. There is a growing consensus that no one should be able to own a company secretly. No one should be able to hide in the shadows behind a company or trusts.”
The newly released database shows the names and, where available, the shareholders and directors of offshore companies, and visually maps out links between them.
For example, a search of “Ghermezian” finds the name of Alberta businessman David Ghermezian, president of the West Edmonton Mall, and links him to a British Virgin Islands-registered company called Regal Mega Malls Development Corp . and a group of Chinese, Taiwanese and Canadian entrepreneurs.
Ghermezian has told CBC News his offshore company was a legal joint venture to develop a mega-shopping centre in China, but the project fizzled.
The names database does not contain the much vaster cache of potentially confidential information from the offshore data leak, such as bank account numbers, passport data, telephone numbers, financial transactions and emails.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said it hopes people will browse the names and tip off reporters to new revelations about people and companies doing business offshore.
“ICIJ believes many of the best stories may come from crowd-sourcing, when readers explore the database,” the organization said in a press release.
Offshore companies not necessarily illegal
Under Canadian law, it is not illegal to create an offshore company or trust as long as it is properly declared for tax purposes. There are a variety of reasons for setting one up, though all offshore entities typically enjoy strict secrecy under the laws of the jurisdictions in which they’re based.
“We’re not saying that everyone in the database has done something wrong,” Hudson said. “If you haven’t done anything wrong, however, you shouldn’t have anything to fear from this disclosure.”
CBC News has reported that the leaked files show that a Canadian senator and her husband, one of the country’s most prominent class-action lawyers, were beneficiaries of a confidential offshore trust in the Cook Islands that was used to make investments via Bermuda.
High-profile figures, from Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan to an officially bankrupt Swedish real-estate mogul to European banking dynast Élie de Rothschild, have used offshore accounts to hide wealth.
However, the leaked data also discloses dozens of cases of crooks, money-launderers and even democratically elected officials using the secrecy afforded by tax havens.
As CBC News reported recently, for example, the data shows how Russian criminals used offshore companies set up and administered by a Canadian firm in the Caribbean to launder part of a $230-million heist of the Russian treasury.
Other media outlets have found that the current or past leaders of countries such as Azerbaijan, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia and Colombia have ties to offshore companies, sometimes in cases that would present serious conflicts of interest.
“A lot of people will be panicked to wonder if their names are on that sort of list and what it’s going to mean for them,” said Raymond Baker, president of Global Financial Integrity, a U.S. non-profit that campaigns to stop illicit movements of money.
“Right now there are millions and millions of entities around the world, shell companies where we don’t know who owns those entities. This is ridiculous. If we want to curtail the flow of illicit money, step one is knowing who owns the businesses that we are dealing with,” he said.
Tax probes underway
While journalists have their hands on the full set of leaked offshore records, so do national tax agencies. Britain, Australia and the United States announced last month that they’ve launched what could be the biggest ever international investigation into tax cheats using the data. Britain said it obtained the leaked files in late 2010.
Canada was offered the data by confidential sources for a price sometime before last December, but rejected it due to the Canada Revenue Agency’s policy at the time of not paying for such information. The federal government overturned that policy in its recent budget, which ushered in a plan to pay tipsters up to 15 per cent where the CRA recovers more than $100,000 from someone using offshore accounts to dodge their tax obligations.
Hudson said the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is hoping people will use its new database to find leads on other potential abuse of tax havens.
“It’s not a panacea. It’s not going to tell you everything. But it’s a tool,” he said.
“It’s a starting place for research for average citizens, for journalists, for government officials to start seeing connections and start documenting who’s out there and who’s using offshore.”
If you have more information on this story, or other investigative tips to pass on, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Republished with permission
As stated on Mountain National Banks’ website, “On Friday, June 7, 2013, Mountain National Bank, Sevierville, TN was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Subsequently, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver.”
The Mountain National Bank site goes on to say “All deposit accounts, excluding certain brokered deposits, have been transferred to First Tennessee Bank, National Association (N.A.), Memphis, TN. For more information on First Tennessee Bank, N.A., visit us at www.firsttennessee.com.”
First Tennessee Bank has created a page for information and frequently asked questions for customers of Mountain National Bank.
For more information please follow the various links provided above.
Also, the FDIC has posted information here: FDIC Bank Closing Information for Mountain National Bank
This should not come as a complete surprise as The Daily Times ran this article on April 12th of last year, “Mountain National Bank seeks capital to maintain operations“.
For more information, the FDIC has issued a press release (PR-050-2013) about the institution’s closure.
Hoping for a smooth transition and happy to read that the former Mountain National Bank staff will still be performing their duties at the former Mountain National Bank locations which will reopen as branches of First Tennessee Bank.
United States Is Fighting 74 Wars
Posted by NextNewsNetwork
Researchers Linda J. Bilmes and Michael D. Intriligator have documented that the Pentagon is presently involved in 74 conflicts world-wide, either in an active combat role, or by supplying military “advisers” to friendly governments.
This report also includes…
Oil company offices in London, the Netherlands and Norway were raided by regulators from the European Commission on May 15 as part of an investigation into suspected price-fixing, pressuring companies such as BP, Shell, and Statoil of Norway to end the banking secrecy.
According to official estimates, more than 50,000 Pakistanis have died as a result of the so-called war on terror — which is why both contenders in the recent presidential election, in which incumbent Nawaz Sharif turned back a challenge by the immensely popular Imran Khan — openly campaign for an end to the country’s involvement in the US war on terror.
The U.S. Navy test-launched an unmanned drone the size of a fighter jet on May 15. The prototype X-47B drone, which has a range of 2,100 nautical miles and a ceiling of more than 40,000 feet, took off from the USS GEORGE HW BUSH in a test flight over the Atlantic Ocean.