As Andrew Haldane, director of stability at the Bank of England, put it in a historical overview a few years ago, ‘there is one key difference between the situation today and that in the Middle Ages. Then, the biggest risk to the banks was from the sovereign. Today, perhaps the biggest risk to the sovereign comes from the banks. Causality has reversed.’ Yes, it has: and the sovereign at risk is us. The reason for that is that in the UK bank assets are 492 per cent of GDP. In plain English, our banks are five times bigger than our entire economy. (When the Icelandic and Cypriot banking systems collapsed the respective figures were 880 and 700 per cent.) We know from the events of 2008 and subsequently that the financial sector, indeed the whole world economy, is in an inherently unstable condition. Put the size together with the instability, and we are facing a danger that is no less real for not being on the front page this exact second. This has to be fixed, and it has to be fixed soon, and nothing about fixing it is easy.
- "Let's Consider Kate
," John Lanchester, London Review of Books
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Jul 10, 2013 -
"Twenty five years ago I quit a job on Wall Street to write a book about Wall Street. Since then, every year or so, UPS has delivered to me a book more or less like my own, written by some Wall Street insider and promising to blow the lid off the place, and reveal its inner workings, and so on. By now, you might think, this game should be over. The reading public would know all it needed to know about Wall Street, and the publishing industry would be forced to look to some other industry for shocking confessions from insiders. Somehow this isn't the case
posted by vidur
on Feb 5, 2013 -
"Of the top 100 Swiss companies, 49 give shareholders a consulting vote on the pay of executives. A few other countries, including the United States and Germany, have introduced advisory "say on pay" votes in response to the anger over inequality and corporate excess that drove the Occupy Wall Street movement. Britain is also planning to implement rules in late 2013 that will give shareholders a binding vote on pay and "exit payments" at least every three years. Minder's initiative goes further
, forcing all listed companies to have binding votes on compensation for company managers and directors, and ban golden handshakes and parachutes. It would also ban bonus payments to managers if their companies are taken over, and impose severe penalties — including possible jail sentences and fines — for breaches of these new rules."
posted by vidur
on Jan 21, 2013 -
"We decided to go on an adventure through the financial statements of one bank
[Wells Fargo], to explore exactly what they do and do not show, and to gauge whether it is possible to make informed judgments about the risks the bank may be carrying. We chose a bank that is thought to be a conservative financial institution, and an exemplar of what a large modern bank should be."
posted by vidur
on Jan 14, 2013 -
A serial intern in the finance sector speaks:
"Applying for internships is so tiresome and bruising. It's like dating, you sit by the phone waiting for a call. Back in my days at university I would get up at 5.30am or 6am. First I'd go jogging, then send out an application for an internship. Every morning. It's so painful to hear 'no' all the time."
posted by feelinglistless
on Jan 27, 2012 -
A Swarthmore College student-reporter's questioning of whether it is moral to go into banking
sparks NYT columnist Nick Kristof to not only assert the affirmative, but to argue (in part) that in fact more well-educated, liberally-mined people should go into "conservative" industries like banking in order to reform it from the inside.
In effect, Kristof suggests, socialist-leaning, educationally-empowered students should hunker down, swallow their disdain, and apply their ideals to change finance. Said student responds (in Slate): elite, ostensibly liberal-leaning students don't seem to be particularly discouraged from capitalism or going into banking in this climate, and probably never have been.
posted by Keter
on Jan 24, 2012 -
is a site that enables the user to enter transactions and track their bank balance via SMS. People sharing a bank account can also get updates when money is spent from the account by the other person. [more inside]
posted by reenum
on Sep 19, 2011 -
Out of thin air?
"Have you ever said something like 'Let me buy you a beer next week'? I'm sure you have. We all issue promises of this sort. And we frequently use such promises as a form of currency... I have just described a simple credit exchange. Societies rely heavily on promising-making and promise-keeping. It is the foundation of all financial markets. I'd like to point out something about the promises you make. They are made 'out of thin air.' " [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Apr 14, 2011 -
Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, says: If the goal was to increase lending, well we haven't increased lending. ... Banks that were too big to fail are bigger than ever. ... When TARP was announced, the whole purpose was a statement that we're not going to let our large financial instiutions fail. And with that I think we may be in a far more dangerous place today than we were a year ago
posted by Joe Beese
on Sep 26, 2009 -
The Bulls vs. Bears? The incessant back and forth between equity market longs
is well known to most retail investors via a variety of distribution channels; financial television, the print media, online news. But the really big market battle, one with the potential to impact the entire US economy, happens, as is usual in finance, just out of sight of retail eyes ... [more inside]
posted by Mutant
on May 13, 2009 -
Every year the Strategy Team at Saxo Bank
, a Danish virtual bank
, publishes a list of ten black swan class market events. Some of the more dramatic possibilities Saxo advance for 2009: crude trading down to $25 a barrel causing severe social unrest in Iran, the S&P 500 falling to 500, Chinese GDP approaching zero and several member states dropping the Euro. The complete 2009 list is here
and for completeness their 2008
[ .pdf ] , 2007
[ .pdf ] and 2006
lists [ .pdf ] are also available. [more inside]
posted by Mutant
on Jan 7, 2009 -
Soros on the banking crisis:
"A deep recession is now inevitable and the possibility of a depression cannot be ruled out.
When I predicted earlier this year that we were facing the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, I did not anticipate that conditions would deteriorate so badly." - Soros lays out some ideas about what can be done to fix the markets ... Planet money had another nicely done piece on the debacle last Friday
posted by specialk420
on Nov 10, 2008 -
Afraid to read the daily news?
Need some broader perspective on The Credit Crunch? There are lots of different ideas by lots of different authors floating about ... [more inside]
posted by Mutant
on Oct 13, 2008 -
A private FDIC
The Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service
, or CDARS
, is a way to conveniently spread bank accounts across multiple banks. CDARS, run by privately held Promontory Interfinancial Network, offers its customers up to $50 million of deposit insurance
, or exactly 500 times single account limit mandated by the FDIC. Promontory does this by arranging to distribute client funds nationwide in $100K increments to over 2,300 banks. Promontory is nothing if not well connected: while founders Mark Jacobsen previously served as Chief of Staff at the FDIC
, co-founders Alan Blinder was Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve
and Eugene Ludwig was Comptroller of the Currency
, several former members of the FDIC currently serve on Promotory's board.
Not surprisingly, some folks are openly critical of Promotory, some going so far as to state "It undermines a lot of the safeguards around the FDIC deposit fund."
posted by Mutant
on Sep 26, 2008 -