Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sir, could you spare a dime for an old, broke banker?

Anti-banker post.  Move on now if you're here looking for butterflies and cute puppies.

Ever hear of the term "corporate welfare"?  Want an example?  After the financial meltdown of '08 the Federales quietly did what they could to get the banks back on their feet.  We know about the bailout loans, but did you know we just flat-out gave them money, too?

The Federal Reserve dropped the interest rate on post-crash loans they made to the banks (a regular occurrence) to 0%.  The banks borrowed by the truckload, which meant the Fed had to sell paper to finance the "deficit" this caused.  Then the banks turned right around, using their free borrowed money to buy government notes which paid them several percent (?) interest.

THAT'S how you re-capitalize a bank at taxpayers expense. money!  It was a 100% risk free transfer of money from your government directly to the banks.  I would have liked a little piece of that, too.  *Dream on Scott*


I saw an interesting piece on TV last night about rogue traders.  These are bankers (think: "London Whale") who work with little direct oversight buying and selling things such as foreign currencies, etc.  I have virtually no idea how it works but suffice it to say it amounts to high-stakes gambling with bank money.  

If they lose, they can bring down the bank.  True!  It's happened.  On the other hand, if they win, it's a mega payday for the bank, and the bankers.  Lose, they get a government handout.  Win, and it's party time!

The program interviewed some well known (within financial circles) rogue traders who got caught.  They told of how easy it was to fool their bank's risk management people, the regulators, and how easy it was to hide losses.

Here is what I took away:  It's still going on today.  Internal red flags are still brushed long as the profits keep coming.

You'd think that after the financial interests nearly blew up the world in 2008, we, the taxpayers who baled them out, would know better than to let them go right back to conducting risky business as usual, but we did. 

Our politicians are stuffing their pockets with bank "campaign contributions" and signing off on whatever the bankers want.  Post-meltdown bank "reform" was a joke. Our regulators are inept.  The bankers are still living extremely well on their ill-gotten gains while the rest of us are struggling to recover from the mess they made.

Remember this:  There will someday, sooner rather than later, be another giant financial catastrophe.  Don't think that things have stabilized and go back to living like all is well.  Scary, but all the ingredients are in place right now.  Don't say you weren't warned.

Now, go have a nice day.  :)



  1. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it and by giving them a bailout all we did was tell banks they can lie, cheat, and steal as much as they want and Uncle Sam will have their back. At the same time a second Great Depression would have seriously hurt a lot more non-bankers who Uncle Sam wouldn't give a dime to.

  2. It's not that simple, if the banks failed we would all have been up shit creek, so the bailouts were probably needed. The follow up in regulations and "Jail" for those who deserved it is a bit disappointing. Regulations are difficult in a global market, clamp down too hard and you put domestic banks at a world wide disadvantage. Well that is one argument that the banks use.

    Risk management is a bit of a joke. A $200,000/year accounting geek questions trades of a $10,000,000 big shot? How is that for pressure. "Look you little shit, if you're too stupid to understand my trading STFU or your job is toast, I brought in $40,000,000 last year you toady." The geek will look the other way or be complicit in the risky trading.

    Also these traders who lose fortunes...another bank hires them within a year. Banks are impressed with anyone who could lose billions...they must be smart. Go figure.

    1. Joe, I agree the loan bailouts were necessary. And I understand they have all been paid back with interest, so all worked out fine. I do have a HUGE problem with the give away, though.

      It seems the Europeans at least would love to reign in their banks like we would love to reign in ours, but their banks keep saying it would put them at a competitive disadvantage with the Americans. The bankers on both sides are playing us off each other to get what they want....a green light to go wild.

    2. I think they should go bake to banks doing banks, and brokers doing risk and keep them separate like they used to do. Also brokerages used to handle risk a little better when they were partnerships and partners stood to lose everything, now with stockholders they stand to make a fortune if they guess correct and stupid shareholders lose their shirt if they f up.

  3. I have nothing in the market so I think I 'll be fine, if inflation and the rising cost of living don't bring me down.

  4. I'm tempted now to take all my millions of dollars and just stuff it between my mattress and box spring.

    Tomorrow, can you go back to butterflies and cute puppies? You're giving me nightmares!