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Banks and Credit

This article from February 1975, is well worth a study and is still pertinent to the circumstances leading up to the crisis of recent years. Although some of the references are dated they have been retained for historical purposes.


Economics:

THE USE-VALUE of loan capital, which is made available through the banking system, consists of producing profit, and this type of profit is described as interest. The rate of interest is arrived at by competition between lenders and borrowers, or by supply and demand; the lender of loan capital striving to obtain the highest rate of interest for the use of his capital, and the borrower seeking the lowest rate. There is no "natural" rate of interest, nor is there any limit to the rate that can be charged.

 In the German Weimar Republic during the period of great inflation after World War 1, the rate of interest was raised weekly in some cases to 200%. The "natural" rate theory has its basis in the repetitive form of dealings bet…

Banking on ethics?

If you think the preceding post calls for a better type of bank and believe the Co-operative Bank, alas, you are mistaken. The difference is simply in the degree not the essence. The Co-operative Bank is a relatively small and “conservatively” run bank that has promoted its ethical business practices.

Former Co-op Bank chief executive Neville Richardson’s left the bank in 2011 with a package worth £4.6 million, including a £1.4 million payment for ‘loss of office’, and the same amount as ‘compensation’ for leaving. The banks financial downgrade to “junk” status by Moody was mainly based on the deterioration in the performance of the loan portfolios the Co-op Bank acquired with its takeover of the Britannia Building Society in 2009 when Richardson was chief executive of the Britannia at the time of the deal.  Like any other business,it has to beat the competition, make profits and accumulate capital. Large institutions like local councils have a fiduciary responsibility to not leave t…

Capital's apologists

Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the Yes Scotland campaign, claimed that Scotland “might very well not have had a financial crisis” if it had been an independent country. This is a ridiculous claim. Some commentators have argued that, if Scotland had been independent, the banks would have been better regulated. The Scottish equivalent of the FSA would have stopped them from pursuing self-destructive courses, barred them from ballooning their balance sheets with dodgy loans and toxic assets, and insisted on higher capital ratios. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that it would have been any different.

The idea that Scotland’s banks – RBS and HBOS, whose combined assets were 21 times Scotland’s gross domestic product at the time of their near collapse (for the sake of comparison, Irish banks’ assets were 4.4 times Irish GDP at point of their October 2008 collapse, and Icelandic banks‘ assets were 9.8 times times Icelandic GDP) – would have been better-regulated if Scotland had b…

Banking on charity? Don't !

Charities lost a protracted battle against the banks.

The trustees savings banks which operated prior to 1986 had a tradition of charitable giving. When TSB Group plc was floated in that year there were established several charitable foundations. The Deed of Covenant dated 10 September 1986 by which TSB Group plc ("the Company") bound and obliged itself at quarterly terms to pay to the reclaimer the greater of "(a) the amount equal to one quarter of one third of 0.1946 per cent of the pre-tax profits (after deducting pre-tax losses) ... or (b) the sum of £9,730".

Following the banking crisis of 2009 and the takeover of Halifax Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group tried to change the terms of its relationship with the foundation. It wanted to half its donation and put its own staff on the foundation’s board. The following high-profile dispute resulted in the bank and foundation formally breaking their links, which will come into effect after nine years notice.

The …

Bank Nationalisation

It is no co-incidence that the cries for banking reform invariably comes during economic depressions. The lubrication that keeps the capitalist machine running – the money markets – are dysfunctional.

As Marx identified “So long as things go well, competition effects an operating fraternity of the capitalist class…so that each shares in the common loot in proportion to the size of his respective investment. But as soon as it is no longer a question of sharing profits, but of sharing losses, everyone tries to reduce his own share to a minimum and to shove it off upon another. The class, as such, must inevitably lose. How much the individual capitalist must bear of the loss, ie, to what extent he must share in it at all, is decided by strength and cunning, and competition then becomes a fight among hostile brothers. The antagonism between each individual capitalist’s interests and those of the capitalist class as a whole, then comes to the surface…”

 Marx also pointed out that “the mone…

The World Bank

Glasgow branch is at present conducting a series of meetings on British banking so it maybe useful to add an international dimension.

The World Bank was established in 1944 to promote economic development and virtually every country is now a member. This spring the bank's 187 member countries choose a new president to succeed Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in July.

Until now, the unwritten rule has been that the US government simply designates each new president: all 11 have been Americans, and not one has been an expert in economic development, the bank's core responsibility, or had a career in fighting poverty or promoting environmental sustainability. Instead, the US has selected Wall Street bankers and politicians, presumably to ensure that the bank's policies are suitably friendly to US interests. US officials have traditionally viewed the World Bank as an extension of US foreign policy and commercial interests. With the bank just two blocks away from the White House …

pay-cut for bank staff

Scottish employees of Clydesdale Bank face a large cut in take-home pay after the Glasgow-based institution said it will ask them to put 9% of their salary into its previously non-contributory pension scheme. Clydesdale will phase in contributions, starting at 3% of salary in 2012 and going up to 9% by 2014

“In common with many other organisations, it has been affected by reduced investment returns as a result of the downturn, the expectation of lower returns in future as well as improvements in life expectancy rates generally.” a spokesman for the bank said

Those who do not want to contribute will be offered a lower benefit based on 1/80 of salary rather than 1/60 for those who put in money. The bank has also cut the annual increases for benefits accrued after April 2012, switching to the lower Consumer Prices Index rather than the Retail Prices Index. This measure will be capped at 5%.
And for the bank executives? Unite union said the people being hit by the latest "…

Banking crisis - who pays the price ?

“I get up in the morning crying and go to bed crying.You go in to work and you hope you won’t tear up. But somebody does, nearly every day.” The problem? Fear, says Jane. “We are all scared. We are all afraid of getting paid off. Maybe because of the way the building is, the fear just seems to move across the room. But they are disciplining us for everything, including clerical errors and timekeeping.” The building is open-plan. “When someone cracks up, we all see it,” she explains. “You’ll hear the sobbing and see her pals huddle around her." Middle managers, she keeps stressing, are just as scared as their employees.

Jim McCourt, who runs the Inverclyde Advice and Employment Rights Centre, says he has seen a lot of stressed-out RBS workers since 2008. "I have been doing this job for 15 years and I have never seen any company that is so unnecessarily brutal.”

From the Herald

Its always the poor who pay

The poorest people in Scotland are being penalised by unfair overdraft charges, according to a report by Citizens Advice Scotland.

It said the banks' poorest customers were subsidising the richest by paying a higher part of their income in fees. Despite talk about being more responsible, banks were still imposing heavy charges on vulnerable people.

Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Susan McPhee said "...the people who are worst hit by these charges are those who can least afford to pay them.Indeed these charges mean that the poor are actually subsidising the rich, like a reverse Robin Hood effect."

One pensioner was charged £66 for going overdrawn by 60p.

Smoke and Mirrors

One of the striking fetures of this crisis is the seeking out of scapegoats . And for the government the culprits are those bonus-greedy bankers . Simplistic explanations of the inherent instability of capitalism . A simple search of this blog will reveal that Socialist Courier has been exposing those overpaid bankers long before this crisis appeared , something Brown and Darling were at the time turning a convenient blind eye to. ( note though , Socialist Courier doesn't take credit for predicting the crash ) . So bonuses are to end but what else - very little .

As always the people who will be paying the real price of this slump , is not the rich but it will be the working class - once more .

The Scotsman reports
HOMES were repossessed at the rate of 110 a day last year – but experts warn the figure could double this year as the recession puts hundreds of thousands of homeowners at risk of defaulting on their mortgages.Figures released yesterday by the Council of Mortgage Lenders …

Hypocrisy by the banks

I read that David Lloyd, 62, was told he had terminal lung cancer in January 2006, his wife, Annette Edwards, contacted their bank, the Halifax, to let them know of his predicament and that he would no longer be able to work. They applied for a payout on an insurance policy, and for state benefits, but while they waited for the money to arrive they went overdrawn.
The bank and its agents telephoned the couple 762 times over seven months in what they say is aggressive pursuit of the debt . Their daughter, Stefanie Moore, 29, received 60 to 100 phone calls and two text messages .

The couple feel dehumanised .

Yes that what capitalism does to people . Socialist Courier wonders if the banks now in debt , begging for government bail-outs will ever be treated in such a shameles and heartless manner to demand repayment

One law for them , another law for us

So much for government assurances of sympathetic treatment for mortagage arrears by the banks during this credit crunch and slump.
The Financial Times reports a landmark High Court ruling under a 1925 law has paved the way for mortgage lenders to sell the homes of borrowers in arrears without seeking a court order after just TWO mortgage payments have failed .The judgment dismissed the human rights defence of the homeowners in arrears and backed the right of GMAC-RFC, a specialist subprime and buy-to-let lender that is part-owned by General Motors, to appoint receivers and auction the property. The former homeowners were then evicted for trespassing by the new owner, Horsham Properties. The sale circumvented the court process through which judges can give struggling borrowers more time to arrange repayments .John Gallagher, principal solicitor with Shelter, the housing charity, said the case “gives the green light” for lenders to sidestep courts with legal remedies “rooted in the 19th …

Alright for some , eh ?

Amanda Staveley , former girlfriend of Prince Andrew , is set to bag almost £40million in commission paid to her advisory firm, PCP Capital Partners, for brokering last week's £3.5billion capital injection into Barclays Bank by Middle East investors , according to The Independent.

PCP Capital Partners, which Ms Staveley founded in 2005, acted for Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nah-yan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, to deliver his £3.5bn personal investment into Barclays in return for a 16 per cent shareholding of the bank.
As part of the overall £7.3bn investment Barclays unveiled on Friday, the bank is also raising up to £2bn from Qatar's sovereign wealth fund and £300m from a member of Qatar's royal family.
PCP's total commission will be £110m, but after other advisers are paid Ms Staveley's firm will earn a £40m profit. While PCP also has a handful of other partners including David Mellor, the former Tory MP, Ms Staveley is expected to pocket the majority of…

The Crunch of the Matter

From one of our comrade fellow bloggers

Quoth Alistair Darling:
"The Financial Services Authority has announced a further increase from tomorrow to the compensation limit for retail bank deposits to £50,000 per depositor, which means £100,000 for joint accounts. That measure will ensure that 98 per cent. of accounts are fully covered."

Now, quoth Iain Duncan Smith:
"At the Dispatch Box, the Chancellor mentioned, quite rightly, that our protection covers about 98 per cent. of all depositors, but he will also recognise that we have significantly more money on deposit than Germany does. The reality is that that 2 per cent. represents a very significant amount of money. What concerns me right now is that, given the febrile nature of the markets—watching little things and then panicking—if they see any flight of capital, even that 2 per cent., towards Germany, it could cause another stampede and another crisis. I recognise the Chancellor's problem about indicating what he m…

The reward for failure

We read Northern Rock's former boss Adam Applegarth received a £750,000 pay-off when he left last December. Applegarth, who is 46, is also entitled to draw on a pension pot of £2.5m at the age of 55 . Experts say that could bring him retirement benefits of up to £200,000 a year.

As we all have read Northern Rock collapsed and bad management was a factor in this bank's demise . So is this a capitalism's reward for failure ?

Many of us facing attacks on our final salary pension schemes will also be wondering why we have to work longer for less while the rich can dip into a retirement pot of gold .

Credit Crunch - Not for everyone , it seems

Bob Diamond, the US banker who runs Barclays' investment banking arm, has cemented his position as one of the highest paid bosses in a FTSE 100 company after receiving almost £36m last year. The figure comprises £21m in cash, bonuses and shares in addition to £14.8m from a three-year performance plan. The £21m includes his £250,000 base salary, £6.5m cash bonus, a £11.3m share award held in a trust for three years and £3m of shares which will be received in three years provided performance criteria are achieved. His total is boosted by the £14.8m "retained incentive opportunity" - half in cash, half in shares - put in place three years ago when he joined the Barclays board.

Diamond achieved the bonus even though Barclays took a £1.6bn hit from the sub-prime crisis in the US and despite ongoing financial woes which have seen billions wiped off share values worldwide. The bank's profits in 2007 were £7bn, the same as 2006, and its share price has suffered.

The report pub…

Privatise Profits - Socialise Losses

BANK OF England governor Mervyn King used his now-famous meeting with the chief executives of the "big five" UK banks last Thursday to admonish them for increasing shareholder dividends.

On February 27, HBOS hiked its dividend by 18% to 48.9p meaning the bank offers a yield of 6.9%. It also lowered the targets under which directors would receive payouts on its executive incentive schemes. Previously directors only received bonuses under the scheme should the bank's shares outperform a basket of UK banks by 3%. Under the new rules, HBOS only needs to be 1.5% above rivals to trigger pay-outs.

Colin McLean, chief executive of SVM Asset Management said: "It just seems wrong that bankers are looking for support and essentially public money at a time when both dividends and executive pay are not only high but have also just been raised."

As we previously reported annual reports from RBS and HBOS show that Sir Fred Goodwin's remuneration totalled £4.19 million in 200…

No Silver Lining

Does every cloud have a silver lining ? Will falling house prices help those to get the first time buyers on the rung of the property ladder ? Apparently not .

Homeowners and those hoping to step onto the property ladder have both been dealt a blow after a senior Bank of England policymaker warned that house prices will fall but the impact of the credit crunch means affordability won't improve.

The global economic environment has become tougher, forcing lenders to become more cautious about extending mortgages to borrowers . First-time buyers in particular are being forced to accumulate bigger desposits, making it more difficult for them to benefit from a long-anticipated drop in house prices.

"We may see prices fall this year, but because of credit conditions, affordability will probably not improve at all," Miss Barker said. She added: "Finding deposits has become more difficult because of the credit crunch..."

British banks have raised the cost of borrowing for…

Bankers still rake it in

Fred Goodwin regained his place as the highest-paid executive at Royal Bank of Scotland last year after taking home £4.2 million. Goodwin's pay package was up 5% from 2006 with a basic salary of £1.3m and a performance bonus of £2.9m. He also earned extra pension rights worth £772,000 in the course of the year and netted a paper profit of £1.2m after exercising cut-price options on nearly 500,000 shares under a performance scheme. Goodwin's pay package made him the best-paid of Royal Bank's executives. It could have been higher but he missed out on 286,579 shares that could have been awarded under a medium-term performance plan from 2005 as the company failed to meet targets.

Mike Fisher, who has gone to manage Royal Bank's portion of the ABN Amro business took home £2.4m in pay and bonuses, up 24% on 2006. Finance director Guy Whittaker who benefited last year from major pay-outs to compensate him for his move from Citigroup in 2006. In 2007, he received £3.35m in pay…