How to Defraud People

Barclays has set aside £800 million to pay fines for being involved in rigging foreign exchange markets. In November, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America have all be fined for rigging foreign exchange markets. No one has gone to prison and the ill-gotten gains for these frauds cumulatively must exceed many billions of dollars. The lesson of this is obvious. Continue reading

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Tax Evader

According to the BBC the massive bank, HSBC, has helped hundreds of its customers evade tax by colluding in maintaining secret bank accounts in many countries in the world. This should not come as a surprise because HSBC has wealth larger than the vast majorities of the countries in the world and in terms of power, money is usually more powerfully than armies and police forces, as numerous monarchs and world leaders have found to their cost throughout history. Continue reading

Crooked Banks Again

I suppose I have to write about the £2 billion fines that some of the banks have paid because their staff have manipulated the foreign exchange market in order to improve their bonuses. There will be more fines soon because Barclays has yet to be dealt with and has admitted wrong doing.  Continue reading

The Banks Are At It Again

The banks are at it again. Barclays has been fined £38 million for failing to separate investment clients’ funds from its own money. This is the second fine in three years. Apparently the previous fine of £1 million was not enough to encourage Barclays to comply with its legal obligation to separate clients funds from its own money. Continue reading

The Banker’s Exemption From the Criminal Law

It is better to use short words instead of long phrases. We should not call spades agricultural implements and we should not call fraud  serious misconduct. However, if you a fraudster operating in the banking system, organising large scale deceptions your chances of being prosecuted are so low that I do not think I can compute them.

There are so many examples of this, that I stand in pause to know where I should first begin, but I shall simply mention the sale by all the major UK banks of interest rate hedging products to small and medium sized businesses. Continue reading

An Economy Founded Upon Usury, Not Work

It is not quite good riddance to bad rubbish and it has taken an overly long period to take action but from next January the UK Payday loan lenders will have their usurious rates of interest they charge capped at a mouth-watering 0.8% per day and limited to twice the amount originally borrowed. Continue reading

Secret Swaps

Another, yes another banking scandal is emerging. After the PPI mis selling (or fraud to use a more accurate description) to individuals and after the sale of interest rate hedging products scandal to medium sized businesses scandal, it has now emerged that the banks were selling secret swaps to customers. What they did was this: they agreed fixed rate loans with customers which customers wanted to protect themselves from future interest rate rises. That is fair enough; a customer makes a decision on wanting a fixed and floating rate, and if the customer opts for a fixed rate that is what the customer expects to get, but expectation and reality are two different things in the world of banking. Continue reading

The Ethics of Banking

We are rather a tolerant people. We tolerate the Chief Executives of large banks receiving huge sums of money , ostensibly as wages, when any analysis shows that they are actually doing their jobs very badly and frequently do not deserve even a fraction of what they are paid. Paying people much more than they are worth is a feature of tolerance and sometimes the distinction between tolerance and stupidity becomes very hard to discern. Continue reading

Put Your Fingers in Your Ears and Sing Loudly

Unfortunately banking is important in every economic system. I write “unfortunately” because bankers and banks have singularly failed to understand that their decisions not only affect the wealth of their shareholders but also the prosperity of all the people who live in the regions in which they operate. So far banks and bankers have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to discharge their duties (for which they are handsomely paid) without adversely affecting the lives and well-being of millions of folk, many of whom have no direct connection with the banks and bankers. Continue reading

An Expected Day

All the leaves are gone and the sky is grey. This is what we expect in London at this time of the year. Little changes. We have also come to expect that our great British banks will be fined as more and more wrongdoing comes to light. Continue reading