Words Of Warning: Get Your Money Out Of European Banks

Words Of Warning: Get Your Money Out Of European Banks - Photo by Julien JorgeIf you still have money in European banks, you need to get it out.  This is particularly true if you have money in southern European banks.  As I write this, the final details of the Cyprus bailout are being worked out, but one thing has become abundantly clear: at least some depositors are going to lose a substantial amount of money.  Personally, I never dreamed that they would go after private bank accounts in Europe, but now that this precedent has been set it should be apparent to everyone that no bank account will ever be considered 100% safe ever again.  Without trust, a banking system simply cannot function, and right now there are prominent voices on both sides of the Atlantic that are loudly warning that trust in the European banking system has been shattered and that people need to get their money out of those banks as rapidly as they can.  Even if you don’t end up losing a significant chunk of your money, you could still end up dealing with very serious capital controls that greatly restrict what you are able to do with your money.  Just look at what is already happening in Cyprus.  Cash withdrawals through ATMs have now been limited to 100 euros per day, and when the banks finally do reopen there will be strict limits on financial transactions in order to prevent a full-blown bank run.  And of course anyone with half a brain will be trying to get as much of their money as they can out of those banks once they do reopen.  So the truth is that the problems for Cyprus banks are just beginning.  The size of the “bailout” that will be needed to keep those banks afloat will just keep getting larger and larger the more money that is withdrawn.  Cyprus is heading for a complete and total banking meltdown, and because the economy of the island is so dependent on banking that means that the economy of the entire nation is going to collapse.  Sadly, similar scenarios will soon start playing out all over Europe.

So if you hear that a “deal” has been reached to “bail out” Cyprus, please keep in mind that the economy of Cyprus is going to collapse no matter what happens.  It is just a matter of apportioning the pain at this point.

According to the New York Times, it looks like much of the pain is going to be placed on the backs of those with deposits of over 100,000 euros…

The revised terms under discussion would assess a one-time tax  of 20 percent on deposits above 100,000 euros at the Bank of Cyprus, which has the largest number of savings accounts on the island. Because the Bank of Cyprus suffered huge losses on bets that it took on Greek bonds, the government appears to be taking  depositors’ money to help plug the hole.

A separate tax of 4 percent would be assessed on uninsured deposits at all other banks, including the 26 foreign banks that operate in Cyprus.

Does that sound bad to you?

Well, if a deal is not reached, there is a possibility that those with uninsured deposits could lose everything.  According to Ekathimerini, EU officials are telling Cyprus to choose between a “bad scenario” and a “very bad scenario”…

The main question surrounds the future of the island’s largest lender, Bank of Cyprus. If unsecured deposits (above 100,000 euros) at all Cypriot banks are taxed then large savings at Bank of Cyprus are likely to be taxed between 20 and 25 percent. If the levy is not imposed on deposits at other lenders, the haircut for Bank of Cyprus customers will be much larger.

The option of a full bail in of Bank of Cyprus depositors is still on the table. As with the Popular Bank of Cyprus (Laiki), which is to go through a resolution process, the full bail in option could lead to deposits above 100,000 euros being lost. The only compensation for unsecured depositors will be shares in the “good” bank that will be created by a possible merger between the “healthy” Laiki and Bank of Cyprus entities.

When asked by Kathimerini how the Cypriot economy will survive if all company and personal deposits above 100,000 euros disappear from the country’s two biggest lenders, the EU official said: “Unfortunately, Cyprus’s choices are between a bad scenario and a very bad scenario.”

So what percentage of the deposits in Cyprus are uninsured deposits?

Well, nobody knows for sure, but according to JPMorgan close to half of the total amount of money on deposit in EU banks as a whole is uninsured.

Do you think that some of those people will start moving their money to safer locations after watching how things are going down in Cyprus?

They would be crazy if they didn’t.

And if you think that “deposit insurance” will keep you safe, you are just being delusional.

According to CNBC, very strict capital controls are coming to Cyprus.  These rules will apply even to accounts that contain less than 100,000 euros…

Financial controls are coming. Depositors with less than 100,000 euros may not lose their money outright, but they won’t like the restrictions–no matter how much they have in the bank. Limits on withdrawals, limits on check cashing, and perhaps even outright conversion of checking accounts into fixed term deposits are coming (translation: you don’t have a checking account, you have a bond from the bank).

A lot of people are going to lose a lot of money in Cyprus banks, and a significant percentage of them are going to be Russian.

And as I wrote about the other day, you don’t want to have the Russians mad at you.

According to the Guardian, Moscow is already considering various ways that it might “punish” the EU…

However, with Russian investors having an estimated €30bn (£26bn) deposited in banks on the island, the growing optimism about a deal was accompanied by fears of retaliation from Moscow. Alexander Nekrassov, a former Kremlin adviser, said: “If it is the case that there will be a 25% levy on deposits greater than €100,000 then some Russians will suffer very badly.

“Then, of course, Moscow will be looking for ways to punish the EU. There are a number of large German companies operating in Russia. You could possibly look at freezing assets or taxing assets. The Kremlin is adopting a wait and see policy.”

Could this be the start of a bit of “economic warfare” between east and west?

One thing is for sure – the Russians simply do not allow people to walk all over them.

Meanwhile, things in Cyprus are getting more desperate with each passing day.  Because they cannot get money out of the banks, many retail stores find themselves running low on cash.  In a few more days many of them may not be able to function at all…

Retailers, facing cash-on-delivery demands from suppliers, warned stocks were running low. “At the moment, supplies will last another two or three days,” said Adamos Hadijadamou, head of Cyprus’s Association of Supermarkets. “We’ll have a problem if this is not resolved by next week.”

But do you know who was able to get their money out in time?

The insiders.

According to the Daily Mail, the President of Cyprus actually warned “close friends” about what was going to happen and told them to get their money out Cyprus…

Cypriot president Nikos Anastasiades ‘warned’ close friends of the financial crisis about to engulf his country so they could move their money abroad, it was claimed on Friday.

Overall, approximately 4.5 billion euros was moved out of Cyprus during the week just before the crisis struck.

Wouldn’t you like to get advance warning like that?

Well, at this point it does not take a genius to figure out what to do about any money that you may have in European banks.  The following is from a recent Forbes article by economist Laurence Kotlikoff…

Whatever happens, no one is going to trust or use Cypriot banks.  This will shut down the country’s financial highway and flip Cyprus’ economy to a truly awful equilibrium in a replay of our own country’s Great Depression, which was kicked off by the failure of one-in-three U.S. banks.

Cyprus is a small country.  Still, the failure of its banks could trigger massive bank runs in Greece.  After all, if the European Central Bank is abandoning Cypriot depositors, they may abandon Greek depositors next.  A run on Greek banks could then spread to Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Italy and from there to Belgium and France and, you get the picture, to other countries around the globe, including, drum roll, the U.S.   Every bank in each of these countries has made promises they can’t keep were push come to shove, i.e., if all depositors demand their money back immediately.

We’ve seen this movie before.  And not just in real life.  Every Christmas our tellys show It’s a Wonderful Life in which banker Jimmy Stewart barely saves his small town from economic ruin arising from a banking panic.

Others are being even more blunt with their warnings.  For example, Nigel Farage, a member of the European Parliament, is warning everyone to get their money out of southern European banks while they still can…

The appalling events in Cyprus over the course of the past week have surpassed even my direst of predictions.

Even I didn’t think that they would stoop to stealing money from people’s bank accounts. I find that astonishing.

There are 750,000 British people who own properties, or who live, many of them in retirement down in Spain.

Our message to expats now that the EU has crossed this line, must be: Get your money out of there while you’ve still got a chance.

And Martin Sibileau is proclaiming that if you still have an unsecured deposit in a eurozone bank that you should have your head examined…

What are depositors of Euros faced with today? Anything but a clean bet! They don’t know what the expected loss on their capital will be, because it will be decided over a weekend by politicians who don’t even represent them.  They don’t really know where their deposits went to and they also ignore what jurisdiction they really belong to. Finally, depositors are paid mere basis points for their trust in the system vs. the 20% p.a. Argentina offered in 2001 (thanks to the zero-interest rate policies of the 21st century). In light of all this, I can only conclude that anyone still having an unsecured deposit in a Euro zone bank should get his/her head examined!

So where should you put your money?

I don’t know that there is anywhere that is 100% safe at this point.  But many are pointing to hard assets such as gold and silver.  The following is what trends forecaster Gerald Celente had to say during one recent interview

“People always say to me, ‘Mr. Celente you are always talking about gold.  What are you going to do with gold when everything collapses and there is no money?’  Well, let’s say you are a Cypriot and all of the ATM machines are out of money and the banks are closed?  Do you think those pieces of silver are going to buy you what you need?  Do you think that ounce of gold is going to get you what you want?

That’s the real money.  There is no other money.  When it all comes down, gold and silver are the only things you have to buy what you need, get what you want, or even get out if you need to.”

I used to tell people that putting their money in U.S. banks was safer than putting it other places because U.S. bank deposits are covered by deposit insurance up to a certain amount.

But now we see that deposit insurance means absolutely nothing.  If they decide to “tax” (i.e. steal) your money from your bank accounts they will just go ahead and do it.

So what should we all do?

Personally, I think that not having all of your eggs in one basket is a wise approach.  If you have your wealth a bunch of different places and in several different forms, I think that will help.

But as the global financial system falls apart, there will be no such thing as 100% safety.  So if you are looking for that you can stop trying.

Our world is becoming a very unstable place, and things are going to get a lot worse.  We are all going to have to adjust to this new paradigm and do the best that we can.

The Euro Is Falling

Unelected, Unaccountable, Unrepentant: The Federal Reserve Is Using Your Money To Bail Out European Commercial Banks Once Again

For a moment, imagine that there is a privately-owned organization in the United States that can create U.S. dollars out of thin air whenever it wants and can loan that money to whoever it wants to.  Imagine that this organization is able to act with the full power of the U.S. government behind it, but that nobody in the organization is ever elected by the American people, and that for all practical purposes the organization is not accountable to the president or to Congress.  Imagine that the organization is able to make trillions of dollars of secret loans to banks, to foreign governments and even to their close friends without ever having to face a comprehensive audit.  Does that sound preposterous?  Well, such an organization actually exists.  It is called the Federal Reserve, and today we found out that once again the Fed is going to be taking huge piles of your money and loaning it to commercial banks in Europe.  The Congress cannot overrule this decision.  Neither can Barack Obama.  Because it has so much power, many refer to the Federal Reserve as “the fourth branch of government”, but unlike the other three branches of government, there are basically no significant “checks and balances” on the Federal Reserve.  If you don’t like the fact that the Federal Reserve is racing in to help big foreign banks survive the European debt crisis that is just too bad.  The Federal Reserve pretty much gets to do whatever it wants to do, and the folks over at the Fed simply do not care whether you like that or not.

So what in the world just happened today?  The following is how an article on CNBC explained it….

Just ahead of the Wall Street open Thursday, the European Central Bank, along with the U.S. Federal Reserve, Bank of England, Bank of Japan and Swiss National Bank announced they would offer three-month dollar loans to Europe’s commercial banks, easing dollar funding constraints.

It must be nice to do whatever you want without having to get the approval of anyone else.

What do you think Barack Obama would give for such power right about now?

The Federal Reserve and other major central banks around the world decided that lending big European banks gigantic piles of dollars would be a good idea, so they are just doing it.

No debate, no votes and no democracy – they just tell us how things are going to be and that is that.

It is a bit ironic that all of this happened on the third anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  It is almost as if the central bankers of the world are trying to send some sort of a message.

So how much money is going to be loaned out?

Well, according to an article in The Daily Mail, big European banks are going to be able to borrow an “unlimited” amount of money….

The deal announced yesterday means banks will be able to borrow ‘any amount’ of money in three separate auctions in October, November and December. Banks will have to put up collateral, or security, to tap the emergency funds.

Wow – I wish someone would offer to lend me an “unlimited” amount of money.

But of course this really is not going to solve anything in the long run.  You can’t solve a raging debt problem with more debt.

Yes, it will help the big European banks with their short-term liquidity problems, but it will do nothing to fix the long-term structural problems that are tearing Europe to pieces.

Win Thin, a senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, said essentially the same thing to CNBC today….

“They’re taking care of the symptoms, but the underlying illness is still out there. On the margin, it’s positive. Until Greece defaults and we clear this whole thing up, they’re still treading water”

So, no, the financial problems of Europe have not been solved.

Just think of this latest move as a temporary band-aid.

So why get upset about it?

Well, what all of this shows is just how arrogant the Federal Reserve is.

The Federal Reserve gets to throw around trillions of dollars without any accountability to the American people.

As I have written about previously, the Federal Reserve made $16.1 trillion in secret loans to their friends during the last financial crisis.

This was revealed in a GAO report, and members of Congress such as Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders tried to get people to pay attention to this.  The following is a statement about this report that was taken from the official website of Senator Sanders….

“As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world”

So how much of that money went overseas?  Well, it turns out that approximately $3.08 trillion of that money was loaned to big banks and major financial institutions in Europe and Asia.

Barack Obama can’t lend trillions of dollars to foreign banks.

So why does the Federal Reserve get to do it?

Sadly, most Americans know very little about the Federal Reserve.  In the United States today, most Americans graduate from high school without ever learning much of anything about the Fed.

But if you really want to understand what is going on with our economy, it is absolutely critical that you understand the Federal Reserve.

The following are some more reasons why you should be upset about what the Federal Reserve has been doing….

*The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine.  Today, the U.S. national debt is 4700 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.

*The Federal Reserve has recently been actually paying banks not to make loans.  Right now banks can park money at the Federal Reserve and make risk-free income without having to make loans to the American people.

*Current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a track record of failure that is legendary, and yet George W. Bush and Barack Obama both backed him 100%.

*The Federal Reserve system is designed to create inflation.  The truth is that the United States has only had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.

*Since 2008, what the Federal Reserve has been doing to our money supply has been absolutely insane.  Eventually this is going to have very serious consequences for us.

*The U.S. government has handed over the task of “centrally planning” our economy to the Federal Reserve.  The Fed decides what the target rate of inflation should be, what the target rate of unemployment should be, what interest rates are going to be and what the size of the money supply is going to be.  This is quite similar to the “central planning” that goes on in communist nations, but very few people in our government seem upset by this.

*The Federal Reserve picks “winners” and “losers” in the financial system.  For example, when the last financial crisis hit, the Fed bent over backwards to help out the big Wall Street banks, but hordes of small banks were left out in the cold.

*As mentioned above, the Federal Reserve has become way, way too powerful.  The Fed is able to do a lot of things that the three branches of government are simply not able to do.  Fortunately, there are a few of our leaders that are alarmed by this.  For example, Ron Paul once told MSNBC that he believes that the Federal Reserve is now more powerful than Congress…..

“The regulations should be on the Federal Reserve. We should have transparency of the Federal Reserve. They can create trillions of dollars to bail out their friends, and we don’t even have any transparency of this. They’re more powerful than the Congress.”

As long as we continue to use a debt-based currency that is controlled by a privately-owned central bank, we are going to continue to have permanent inflation and government debt that expands at an exponential pace.

The “central planning” done by the Federal Reserve has created bubble after bubble after bubble.  Our dollars is on the verge of dying and our financial system is about to collapse.

The Federal Reserve system simply does not work.

Hopefully we can start sending more politicians to Washington D.C. that will be willing to stand up to the Federal Reserve.

But for now, the Federal Reserve is going to keep running around doing whatever it wants to do whether we like it or not.

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