Z B: Banking system

Just a quick reminder of who’s really in charge

[Editor’s Note: As we’re coming up on the end of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to republish some of our most popular articles. Today’s was originally published on May 3, 2017]

Today the world of banking and finance waited with baited breath for the Federal Reserve in the United States to hike... or not to hike... interest rates.

This happens several times each year as the central bank’s Federal Open[...] Click here to continue reading

The world’s most powerful bank issues a major warning

In 1869, a 48-year old Jewish immigrant from the tiny village of Trappstadt in Germany’s Bavaria region hung a shingle outside of his small office in lower Manhattan to officially launch his new business.

His name was Marcus Goldman, and the business he started, what’s now known as Goldman Sachs, has become the preeminent investment bank in the world with nearly $1 trillion in assets.

They didn’t get there by winning any[...] Click here to continue reading

The average American had a bigger savings account… in 1997!

Quite literally as a I write these words to you, the heads of the world’s largest central banks are packing their bags and heading home after a three-day symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Central bankers aren’t exactly mega-celebrities, so their conferences don’t make international news outside of financial circles.

But if people understood what was at stake, they’d probably pay more attention.

Central bankers wield totalitarian authority over their nations’ interest rates.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Negative interest rates have come to America

One of the truly mind-boggling absurdities in modern finance has been the creation of ‘negative interest rates’ around the world.

Negative interest rates are particularly prominent in Europe.

Starting back in 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) slashed its main interest rate to below zero.

One bizarre effect of this policy is that some banks have passed on these negative interest rates to their retail depositors.

This trend has persisted across[...] Click here to continue reading

Italy’s newest bank bailout cost as much as its annual defense budget

Two more Italian banks failed over the weekend-- Banco Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca.

(In other news, the sky is blue.)

The Italian Prime Minister himself stated that depositors’ funds were at risk, so the government stepped in with a bailout and guarantee package that could cost taxpayers as much as 17 billion euros.

That’s a lot of money in Italy-- around 1% of GDP. In fact it’s basically as much[...] Click here to continue reading

Banks are becoming less safe. Again

What I’m about to tell you isn’t some wild conspiracy. Or fake news.

It’s raw fact, based on publicly available data from the US Federal Reserve.

This data shows a very simple but concerning trend: banks in the United States are becoming less safe. Again.

And they’re doing it on purpose. Again.

Few people ever give much thought to the safety and security of their bank.

After all, banks go[...] Click here to continue reading

This is how a “bail-out” becomes a “bail-in”

Here’s the perfect example of how insane our financial system has become.

It was announced yesterday that, after a 24-hour white-knuckled ride, Spanish banking giant Banco Popular had been sold to Banco Santander for the price of just 1 euro.

Note- that’s 1 euro in TOTAL. Not 1 euro per share.

Banco Popular had once been one of Spain’s largest banks.

But just as certain banks tend to do from time[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s time to become your own banker. Here’s how–

Sometimes I wonder why most of the giant mega-banks are based in New York.

They should be here in Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. Because that’s precisely what they’re doing with your money.

Actually it’s not even your money.

From a legal perspective, every single penny you deposit at the bank becomes THEIR money. You’re nothing more than an unsecured creditor of the bank.

And now that they[...] Click here to continue reading

I never knew how screwed up global banking was until I started my own bank

By late 2014 I’d finally had enough.

After so many run-ins with the bitter incompetence and bureaucratic indignity of the banking system, I decided once and for all that I would start my own bank.

I probably should have had my head examined, but instead I called one of my attorneys to talk through the options.

Had I known then what I know now, I think I still would have made the[...] Click here to continue reading

The banking industry abuses its customers worse than United Airlines

Last week the Internet was ablaze with disgust after a man was physically dragged off a United Airlines flight.

What’s amazing, though, is that there are countless cases of another industry abusing its customers in far, far worse ways than the airlines.

I’m talking, of course, about the banking industry.

1. Banks treat you like criminal suspects too.

Sure, United had a man dragged away like he was a rape suspect[...] Click here to continue reading

Just a quick reminder: the Federal Reserve is almost insolvent.

September 10, 2008 was one of the last “normal” days in the world of banking and finance.

That afternoon, the US Federal Reserve published its routine, weekly balance sheet report, indicating that the central bank had total assets worth around $925 billion.

Just a few days later, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, kicking off the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression.

And almost immediately the Fed launched a series of[...] Click here to continue reading
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