MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘banks’

Lebanese focus fury on banks-Erie Times E-Edition Article

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2020

People say they are being subjected to humiliation by the banks and their managers who ultimately have the power to decide who gets how much.

Forget keeping your cash in banks. Buy a good safe.

Defeat the war on cash and be prepared for when the next crunch hits.
http://erietimes.pa.newsmemory.com/?publink=2f4c39949

BEIRUT — Before picking up cash from a downtown bank in Lebanon’s capital, Mey Al Sayegh mentally braces herself for what would have been a routine trip before the country’s crippling cash crunch. For starters, it will be at least an hour’s wait in line before her turn comes. And if she’s lucky, she’ll be able to withdraw $300 — the weekly limit on dollar withdrawals imposed by banks to preserve liquidity — without having to bargain with the teller.

“I tell my family ‘I’m going to the bank, but I don’t know when I’ll return,’” said the communications manager. “It’s very unpleasant. You see people’s expression — worried, confused, they’re scared that they’re going to lose their deposits.”

For years, many Lebanese have lived beyond their means, supporting their outsized spending with loans and generous remittances from diaspora relatives scattered across the globe, including family members working in oil-rich Arab Gulf countries.

A severe financial crisis and unprecedented capital controls have put an end to this, uniting both rich and poor in anger against corrupt politicians who have brought the country to the brink of economic collapse, and a banking system they accuse of holding their deposits hostage.

In recent days, some protesters have taken out their ire on the banks, destroying ATMs, smashing bank windows and clashing with tellers behind the counter.

Dozens of protesters have held sit-ins at banks against the fiscal policies, forcing tellers on more than one occasion to give them more than the weekly limit. Demonstrators routinely gather in front of the country’s Central Bank, jeering and hurling expletives at its governor, Riad Salameh, who was once ranked among the world’s top central bank governors.

“You go to a bank, get a ticket, and there are at least 50-60 people in front of you,” said Mahmoud Sayida, a tour guide whose money is trapped with one of the country’s largest lenders. “It’s as though you are lining up for bread in the war days.”

The crisis in Lebanon, one of the most heavily indebted nations in the world, is rooted in decades of state corruption and bad management, and the tiny Mediterranean country’s economy had been in steady decline for years. The local currency, pegged to the dollar for more than two decades, has lost more than 50% of its value in recent weeks on the black market.

Fearing a crisis, depositors in the past year had been quietly withdrawing their money, changing it from the local currency to dollars, or funneling it to bank accounts abroad.

At the onset of nationwide protests that broke out in mid-October, banks closed their doors for 12 working days. When they reopened, they faced an unprecedented rush to withdraw dollars, resulting in the limits on withdrawals and foreign transfers.

But there was no legal basis for such actions, leaving it up to the banks to implement their own controls on a caseby- case basis. Meanwhile, ATM machines have mostly stopped dispensing dollars and daily limits on credit card use have been implemented. Many restaurants and shops, strapped for cash, are refusing card payments.

People say they are being subjected to humiliation by the banks and their managers who ultimately have the power to decide who gets how much.

People with children studying abroad need to offer proof before they are allowed to transfer their tuition money. Patients are required to produce paperwork proving they need money for surgery before they can withdraw cash from their accounts. To get credit card limits temporarily increased, customers are asked by some banks to produce a plane ticket and documentation proving a stay abroad longer than two weeks.

The measures are forcing families to limit expenditures and prioritize daily necessities. Simple activities, such as going to a cafe or a restaurant, are now considered luxuries, even for those with money or jobs. Sullen moods have overcome depositors and lenders alike, whose employees say they are afraid to show up at work because of fights breaking out inside banks and people cursing them every day.

In this Jan. 14 photo, anti-government protesters smash a bank widows, during ongoing protests against the Lebanese central bank’s governor and against the deepening financial crisis, at Hamra trade street, in Beirut, Lebanon. [HUSSEIN MALLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO]

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Facebook’s Fake Money | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 19, 2019

The Libra is just the upshot of an entrepreneurial attempt to profit from the global market for payment services (and later perhaps also from the credit markets), and, of course, to collect as much precious transaction data as possible.

https://mises.org/wire/facebooks-fake-money

Starting in 2020, Facebook wants to offer its customers a global high-tech currency and infrastructure. The US IT giant says that this will provide many people around the world with easy and cost-effective access to the monetary and financial system. The new blockchain-based money is called “Libra.” Technically, it is something akin to a crypto-money-banknote covered by a basket of official fiat currencies (such as US dollars, euros, and the like). The heart of the Libra project is the “Libra Association” (LA). The non-governmental association, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is supported by founding members such as eBay, Facebook, Mastercard, PayPal, Spotify, Uber, Visa, as well as other renowned firms, and will be responsible for the operation and further development of Libra.

Libra will be created by participants depositing fiat currencies such as US dollars or euros with the LA, and the LA will then grant the depositors a corresponding Libra amount in a digital wallet, which can be used for payments via the Internet, smartphone, credit card or WhatsApp and messengers, i.e., Facebook’s chat services. The chances of success seem to be pretty good for the Libra: Electronic payment is a world-wide mega-trend. People seem to have become increasingly open to new technological ways of making payments. And if money can be sent to and fro via social media, many potential customers will presumably like it very much.

Traditional banks have good reasons to worry. The Libra is about to siphon transactions out of bank accounts and put them into the LA’s hands. Not banks, but the LA will collect the fees and will receive precious data on who pays what, when, and where. The banks will be left even more in the cold should customers begin to use the Libra for savings purposes as well. Because then they would also lose the time and savings deposits with which they refinance their balance sheets at low costs. Or think of the credit business: The LA may at some point also provide its customers with short-term consumer loans.

In any case, from a customers’ perspective it is a good thing if and when the competitive pressure in the banking business gains momentum; as is well known, competition stimulates the search for better products and lower prices, which benefits the customers. The now heightened competition from the fin-tech industry is undoubtedly quite a challenge for many banks. Not least because for decades state regulation has kept unwelcome outside competition from their backs, thereby, however, weakening their innovative strength. But our sympathies have to be first and foremost with the people demanding banking and financial services, not with the banks delivering them.

The critical question, however, is this: Is the Libra really good — or sound — money? Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered in the affirmative. Read the rest of this entry »

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Banks, credit card companies explore ways to monitor gun purchases

Posted by M. C. on May 6, 2018

I can’t believe they aren’t already doing this. It would be hard for them not to.The government is already doing this but like anything else the government does, it does a lousy job.

The time has come where banksters have no reservation about making it public.

What else do they track, can they track? Everything purchased with plastic.

http://www.guns.com/2018/05/02/banks-credit-card-companies-explore-ways-to-monitor-gun-purchases/

Banks and credit card companies held informal discussions about identifying transactions involving firearms, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Although the discussions resulted in nothing tangible — and ideas may never come to fruition — ideas tossed would help companies monitor gun purchases, which includes information on buyers, from retailers, the newspaper reported…

 

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Banks Are Evil | Peak Prosperity

Posted by M. C. on March 20, 2017

https://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/107415/banks-evil

How much ‘thin air’ money are we talking about? The Fed and the rest of the world’s central banking cartel has printed over $12 Trillion since the Great Recession. Between the ECB and the DOJ, nearly $200 Billion of additional liquidity has been — and continues to be — injected into world markets each month(!) since the beginning of 2016:

As further proof, let’s look at this data recently obtained by Zero Hedge. In the past 4 years, JP Morgan’s in-house trading group has had exactly 2 days of losses:

Because for every trade there is a buyer and a seller. If JP Morgan is the winner every day, who is losing? Turns out, it’s the big pools of “dumb money” that don’t have the cheat codes for the system the way the banks do. These are the pension funds, the index funds, the retirement accounts — the aggregated money of all the ‘little people’ out there. Little people who don’t have visibility into how they’re being constantly fleeced; nor do they have agency to do anything about it even if they did.
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