I remember several years ago in the Land of the Free when the big wave in the banking industry was to offer “free checking”.
There used to be a time (that a lot of people probably don’t remember) when banks charged monthly or annual fees to maintain your bank account.
This changed several years ago. Banks even started running commercials encouraging customers to open their “free checking” accounts right away.
Of course this is total nonsense. Banks aren’t exactly charitable organizations, and they have an uninterrupted track record of screwing their customers to make money.
In this case, “free checking” is just a ruse to get you to open an account so that they can make stupid investments with your money.
Banks in Europe, for example, are taking your money and buying government bonds that have negative yields and are hence guaranteed to lose money.
That’s what they’re doing with your savings. It’s insane.
In the Land of the Free, banks are once again stocking up on mortgage-backed securities as the most popular investment fad today, as if they have no memory of the 2008 financial crisis.
There’s even one bank in San Francisco that’s offering $2 million loans with no money down, and no private mortgage insurance, to buy real estate in one of the most overpriced areas of the country.
This isn’t “free checking”. It’d be more appropriate if they called it “high-risk checking”.
And the trend shows that it’s getting worse.
On top of everything else now, slowing economy growth almost assures that negative interest rates will be the norm across the entire developed world.
They already have negative interest rates in Europe and Japan.
And as Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated recently, this is an option that’s on the table even in the United States.
This kind of insanity has serious consequences to the entire financial system, putting your money at even greater risk.
You’ll never hear it from the financial elite. Your banker is never going to say, “open a high-risk checking account today!”
But by holding your money in such a precarious system, that is precisely what you are doing.
This is our topic for today’s podcast: the trend towards “high-risk checking”, and why negative interest rates and capital controls are an almost forgone conclusion.
You can listen in here.