Friday, October 11, 2013
Urgent Warning: Our Bank Deposits Are No Longer Safe
As a result of recent changes to the rules governing the financial system operating throughout the G20 nations, a serious threat has arisen to the finances of individuals, families, and institutions that have entrusted their assets to major banks. Here's the situation: in case "systemically important" banks should fail, they are now authorized to take over the assets of their clients, including our deposits! This procedure is known as a "bail-in”—as distinguished from a "bail-out”—and it has already been implemented in Cyprus. This threat has been thoroughly documented by Ellen Hodgson Brown (author of two extraordinary books on our money system, The Web of Debt, and, just published, The Public Bank Solution), and by the Public Banking Institute, which she founded. For a vivid, compelling explanation of the crisis provided by the Institute, see this brief video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-sHAwNfoL4 . Given the vast, destabilizing involvement of major banks in derivatives gambling, about ten times the volume of the real economy as this video shows, major banks are constantly at risk of failing, and suddenly triggering a bail-in assault on our assets. The peril is especially clear in Canada which legalized the bail-in procedure in its 2013 Federal Budget. See: www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/depositors-beware . But this bail-in agenda was mandated for all the G20 nations at their 2011 meeting, and it is likely to be reenforced by provisions of the CETA and TPP, the vast so-called “trade agreements” presently being negotiated.
Having been assured that the bail-in rescue plan is readily available in case they fail, banks are all the more likely to participate in speculative activity. When driven to insolvency by their losses in derivatives gambling, the losing banks' first priority must be to pay off the winning banks ("counter parties") with whatever resources they can muster, now including their clients' assets—our financial resources. The outrage of bail-ins includes the "super-priority status" of bank "counter parties" over our claims as bank clients.
The danger from bail-ins is especially high at the moment. If the US government on October 17 defaults on its debt, the global financial system, with some $700 trillion of speculative derivatives churning around, may be thrown into the sort of chaos that would bring a major financial meltdown, perhaps surpassing that of 2008, with many bank failures resulting in bail-ins, bringing a massive shift of financial resources from the middle class to the already obscenely wealthy. Even if we escape this immediate peril—perhaps only temporarily—the threat to our financial welfare from the banks' speculative excesses remains imminent. Add to this the proclivity of private banks intentionally to engineer depressions for their own benefit (there is rich documentation available for this), and the dangers hanging over us become all the more imminent.
Ultimately it will require persistent political action to eliminate the grossly unjust bail-in threat—e.g., outlawing bail-ins altogether, developing public banking, restoring the Glass-Steagall Act (which separated investment banking—mostly derivatives gambling now—from depository banking and insurance). But for the present, what personal actions might we take to protect ourselves? We all need to be seeking alternatives to the mainline banks that we can no longer trust. It may be possible for individuals and institutions to find safe haven for their financial resources by using credit unions. The risk probably differs from one credit union to another. We need to explore with each specific credit union the extent to which members' assets are entrusted to major banks—preferably not at all. We need to consider becoming active credit union members, constantly vigilant regarding the safety of our collective resources. We can no longer take it for granted that our bank deposits are safe.
George Crowell October 7, 2013