Thursday, 30 October 2008

Kuwait if you want...

Another gulf state in trouble:

Worried Gulf Bank depositors withdraw savings

Worried depositors withdrew savings from Kuwait’s Gulf Bank on Monday, one day after the institution’s shares were suspended because of significant losses it made through derivatives.

“Some people are withdrawing their money but it’s understandable, especially small customers who are afraid. To be honest we expected that to happen,” Fawzy al-Thunayan, a senior official at Gulf Bank, told the Financial Times. “We are prepared in full for whatever happens and the central bank is supporting us in full.”

He declined to say how much money had been withdrawn, but said it was half of the previous day, when people queued outside the bank’s branches.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Gulf of credibility

New reports of bank runs in the Gulf state of Oman:

Gulf Bank Customers Withdraw Deposits After Losses

In the first signs of a bank run in the Persian Gulf, some Gulf Bank depositors panicked and demanded their money, Fawzy al- Thunayan, general manager for board affairs, said in an interview today from Kuwait. ``We can't blame them,'' he said.

Khalid Al-Matrook, a 33-year-old civil engineer, was among customers standing outside Gulf Bank's head office in Kuwait City today. He said he was frightened by yesterday's news of the currency defaults.

``I am withdrawing my 12,000 dinars now and I am not going to spend one penny of it,'' said Al Matrook, sipping coffee outside the bank building.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Capitulation - its the name of the game

Watch the video and make your own mind up:

Roubini says 'Panic' may force market shutdown

Indeed, we have now reached a point where fundamentals and long term valuation considerations do not matter any more for financial markets. There is a free fall as most investors are rapidly deleveraging and we are on the verge of a a capitulation collapse.

What matters now is only flows - rather than stocks and fundamentals - and flows are unidirectional as everyone is selling and no one is buying as trying to buy equities is like catching a falling knife.

Hundreds of hedge funds will fail and policy makers may need to shut financial markets for a week or more as the crisis forces investors to dump assets, New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini said.

Markets close... and the US presidential elections are 'delayed'?

Smart KSF customers withdrawing millions in run up to collapse

More details on the the knock-on effects of the liquidity problems at the Icelandic banks:

Desperate KSF customers withdrawing millions in run up to collapse

DESPERATE depositors were withdrawing between £30 million and £40 million a day from their accounts in the days before the collapse of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.

This doesnt sound desperate... it sounds sensible considering the situation that the rest of the depositors are now in.

If today's hearing is not adjourned, KSF (IoM) will be formally wound up and the government's depositors' compensation scheme will take effect, with up to £150 million of taxpayers' money potentially being called on to pay individual depositors up to £50,000 in compensation.

The hearing was ajourned until November 27... more on this story next month.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Pakistan bank run

Heres the latest from Pakistan - watch for more developments on this story this week:

World economic crisis pushes Pakistan close to collapse

Pakistan's creditworthiness rating is the second-worst among nations ranked by Standard and Poor's, superior only to that of the Seychelles. Last week, the country's president, political novice Asif Ali Zardari, felt compelled to offer public assurances that "Pakistan is not going bankrupt."

Consumer confidence has eroded steadily. In Karachi, Islamabad and other major cities, there has been a run in recent days on foreign-currency accounts held in Pakistani banks.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Ukraine bank run

UKRAINIAN BANK RUN: Account holders at Prominvestbank try to get their money at an ATM in Kiev. Source: Sergey Dolzhenko / EPA

Seems like the citizens of the states of the old USSR know when its time to get their cash out of the bank:

Ukraine tries to stifle mounting run on banks

Worried Ukrainians pulled money from banks today as the government headed into talks with an International Monetary Fund delegation about getting help with the country's financial troubles.

"There were these rumors and I decided not to wait," said Lyudmila Kudinova, 49, who withdrew 10,000 hryvna from her account at a downtown office of the Khreshchatyk bank today and immediately converted it into $2,000 in U.S. currency.

Prominvest, which has been taken over by the government, and Nadra, which has survived thanks to a government loan, have limited ATM withdrawals to $200, according to customers and bank officials.

Several Nadra ATMs had no cash in them today.

"Of course I am worried," said Svetlana, who declined to give her last name. She tried to withdraw 5,000 hryvna ($1,000) from an ATM at Raiffeisen Bank Aval in the center of the capital, but was limited to just 1,000 hryvna ($200).

Worried savers have withdrawn some $1.3 billion dollars since the beginning of the month.

Rushing to the bank

Now we see the start of a bank run - Russian style:

Run on Russian bank heightens fears

Globex on Wednesday banned depositors from withdrawing their money as confidence in the Russian banking system began to show signs of ­evaporating.

Globex, a mid-sized retail bank with assets of $4bn (€2.95bn, £2.32bn), is the first Russian bank to experience a run on deposits during the crisis. It lost 13 per cent of its deposits last month, according to Maxim Raskosnov, an analyst at Renaissance capital, and a further 15 per cent this month according to Emilya Alieva, Globex’s vice-president.

Globex confirmed that the ban on withdrawals had been in effect since Tuesday and blamed “demand from depositors, many of whom explained their wish to transfer their money to VTB or Sberbank”.

Whatever next... people wanting to withdraw their money from one bank and transfer to another. Whos money is it anyway?

Tatyana Sadovskaya, the director of a branch of Khnati Mansisk Bank in the city of Nizhnevartovsk, on Wednesday told Interfax news agency that in response to rumours of her bank’s insolvency: “People have formed long lines at cashiers and at bankomats, people are taking their deposits and closing their accounts.”

Another day, another queue.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The ice has melted

First the Icesave account holders were unable to access their accounts... now their accounts have disappeared:

Icesave accounts disappear from website

Thousands of Icesave customers have been shocked to find that there is no evidence online that their accounts still exist.

Customers who need to claim back money will need to provide proof of the balance of their Icesave savings. However, those holding Isas cannot even find that proof online.

One Icesave customer said: "I have substantial savings with Icesave, having chosen the bank because of the good rate and its 'easy access' terms. Now, I can view the balance on one of my accounts, but my Isa appears to have vanished.

Maybe the bank has found a new way of not paying up - make the customers vanish.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Direct Action Video

Just found this video on youtube - direct action hollywood style!

REP Freedom Force Bank Run!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Time to oil up the wheelbarrow

For some more background info on the underlying problems of the fiat money system have a read of this:

Confidence Is Leaving the Fiat Money System

Were it not for ever greater increases in central bank money and the market expectation that governments are about to make taxpayers shoulder commercial banks’ huge losses, the fiat money systems would presumably collapse right away.

Under fractional-reserve banking, banks keep just a fraction of their immediate payment obligations (basically sight deposits) in the form of cash. As a consequence, they cannot meet all their payment obligations should customers whish to withdraw their sight deposits all at once.

However, banks enjoy a privilege granted by the government. Central banks, the holders of the money supply monopoly, can provide banks with whatever amount of cash is needed. With central banks acting as lender of last resort, the chances for a bank run, initiated by private savers, have been greatly reduced.

When central banks form an international cartel — with the purpose of preserving the fiat-money system — domestic banks wouldn’t default, even if their payment obligations are denominated in foreign currency (which the national central bank cannot produce): central banks would simply lend money to each other.

So who are the major players in this internetional cartel... democratically elected representatives responsive to the needs of the worlds population... no i thought not. Seems like we have two possible outcomes: Total Domination or Hyperinflation.

The clueless will be left cashless

After The Market Crashes, The Bank Run Stampedes Will Begin

When people realize that the money they thought they had in the stock market is gone, when they realize that their credit lines have been cut and when they have no cash on hand left to pay for fuel, groceries or medicine there will be a stampede at your local bank. The first ones to get there and pull out some or all of their cash will get their money; the lazy, the ignorant, the socialized, the optimists, and the clueless will be left cashless.

Couldnt put it better myself.... dont be cashless.

Death Spiral

Ministers can throw our cash at crisis, but can't stop crisis

Last week we nearly saw a run on the entire UK banking system - an event only forestalled by Alistair Darling's rescue package on Wednesday. The chancellor is having a good war, so far. His unflappable calm - which I saw at close hand at a reception at Downing Street last week at the height of the crisis - is a real asset to the government. He must have known about the bank run as he nibbled canap├ęs with hyper-ventilating hacks. But he looked as if he'd just dropped in on his way to the opera. Not that he appeared complacent. No-one can accuse Darling of failing to appreciate the gravity of the situation because of that Guardian interview two months ago when he warned us this could be the worst financial crisis in 60 years. He was not wrong.

It's a sobering thought, but Alistair Darling will now forever be associated with one of the greatest economic catastrophes of modern times. His face will adorn every website devoted to the Great Crash of 2008. That curry he bought to feed his team on the night of the rescue has already become part of history as the "balti bail-out". Economists and historians will now assess his every move and word. Remember hapless Tory chancellor, Norman Lamont, outside the Treasury on Black Wednesday 1992 standing next to a dumpster and trying to sound calm while his hair was blowing in what seemed like a financial hurricane. Further back, Philip Snowden had the misfortune to be Labour's chancellor during the 1929 crash and Great Depression, and is hardly a congenial role model for Darling. Snowden imposed a fiscal crackdown and split the government, and the Labour Party, with his call to cut unemployment benefit. He never recovered. Let's just not go there.

... so benefit cuts on the horizon. Interesting to see that one play out in the uk.

UK saver survey

UK savers to put cash under the mattress

One in six UK savers are considering withdrawing their savings from their bank or building society, with some having already removed their cash for personal storage.

I was only going to post my survey once a week but see how the bankrun-o-meter has changed in 3 days:

Safe n sound

Savers vault from the banks to a safe place at home

Anthony Neary, a partner at Safe Shop, an internet-based sales company, said: “We’ve had three recent calls from people saying that they want to take their cash savings out of the bank and put it into a safe. One was withdrawing £50,000, another £10,000 and the other £4,000. I was staggered. But the last week has seen a sea change in public opinion.

For the rest of us - stuff your money under the mattress.

We want cash!

Selling frenzy persists

"We are not used to seeing stocks implode and Treasuries sell off," said Josh Stiles, senior bond strategist at IDEAglobal. "People are saying they don't even want to be in Treasuries now, they need the cash."

So now the investors are prepared to take a huge hit on their savings and are selling everything - even though the markets have fallen by 29% in the last 12 months.This week alone the FTSE100 fell by 21%. The same is happening in markets across the globe.

Better cash today than nothing tomorrow.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Bank confidence survey - LATEST

Iceland: £4 billion theft from uk depositors

Icesave: It is the smaller saver who stands to lose the most

But today for the first time, ordinary deposit holders, who have simply put their money in the bank, woke up to find they could no longer get their hands on their money – and more worryingly still, there are question marks over whether they will see this cash again.

So will the FSCS step in to help if Iceland is unable to meet its statutory obligations? At present it doesn't look like it. A spokeswoman for the FSCS said: "Icesave is not a British bank. We are obliged to top up the compensation to £50,000 but only above £16,000."

In other words if you have £50,000 in the Icesave – and Iceland's compensation scheme does not pay out – at least you will get £34,000 refunded. But if you have £10,000 or £15,000 in the bank you lose the lot.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Silent Running

UK Bank Clients Making ‘Silent Runs’ On Deposits

Banks have always lent more than their clients hold on deposit, leaving the risk that none would have enough cash to pay out if they all turned up at once. Back in the 1930s, depositors faced losing all their money if a bank collapsed.

Attilio Vianello, now 98, remembers how in the 1930s he had just started a job at Credito Veneto, a small bank based in Padoa, Italy, as the crisis spread beyond Wall Street to Europe.

"Banks were going bust from one day to another and the vast majority of people did not manage to rescue their savings because once they knew, it was too late. They would find the doors already shut," he recalled.

The electronic equivalent of this would be a server failure, or a Web site shutdown. But executives point out that in any silent run -- made possible by electronic money transfer whether through the internet or wholesale networks -- the most damaging aspect is the speed at which business customers can move.

Icesave web site is still down ... i think we can safely say that they are the first bank to go bust - 2008 style. See article below.

Ice Block 2

Imagine if your internet banking home page looked like this.... well for 300,000 uk depositors.... IT DOES!

Icesave savers warned on accounts

Customers of the Icesave internet bank have been warned they will probably have to claim compensation for money held in their savings accounts.

Icesave has 350,000 savers in the UK and Netherlands, with about £4.5bn of deposits.

So... no chance of getting your money out via normal means and depositors will have to wait until the icelandic government can find someone to lend them enough to put in the compensation scheme so it has some funds before there is any chance you will see your money.

Ice Block

So here we have it at last... depositors unable to withdraw their savings. Sounds like the runners are on the blocks:

Q&A: What now for Icesave depositors?

The 300,000 UK savers with £5 billion deposited in Icesave, the Icelandic internet bank, today found they were blocked from withdrawing any money from their accounts.

Q: When will I be able to withdraw my money?
A: Nobody knows.

Q: How likely is that scheme to be able to pay out, given the upheaval in the Icelandic banking system?
A: Good question. The Icelandic scheme has only £88 million in the kitty to cover deposits totalling £13 billion.

Q: What happens if the Government can’t pay the compensation bill?
A: An Icesave spokeswoman says that, as a last resort, three other Scandinavian governments - Sweden, Norway and Denmark - would back Iceland in an emergency.

If i was a financial advisor i would be telling ALL my clients to WITHDRAW ALL SAVINGS IN CASH immediately.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Iceland is melting

Never mind run on the banks... it sounds like people are starting a run on the supermarkets:

The party's over for Iceland, the island that tried to buy the world

On Friday the queues at the banks were huge, as people moved savings into the most secure accounts. Yesterday people were buying up supplies of olive oil and pasta after a supermarket spokesman announced on Friday night that they had no means of paying the foreign currency advances needed to import more foodstuffs.

Bankrupt banks.... and now bankrupt nations - where will it end?

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Learn to walk before you run

Walking - transferring savings from a deposit account in a high street bank to another bank perceived to provide greater security. Nationalised banks, post office accounts and foreign banks (esp. Irish) have all seen increases in new accounts.
Run - withdrawing savings in cash from a deposit account in a high street bank.

Brits rush to 'guaranteed' banks

No rush... only the wealthy out 'walking'!

Losing interest v losing savings

Savers losing out in flight to safety

Banks and the Treasury claim the move will cover up to 98% of savers, but that leaves 1.1m people above the threshold and they own at least 40% of deposits by value, according to investment bank Credit Suisse. This means some £500 billion of savers’ deposits remains unprotected.

In the midst of the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression this token increase in protection by the Government looks feeble and inadequate. Confidence inspiring ?......quite the reverse. Comment by Anthony Fisher on the article above.

A case of too little, too late? in the area!

Sunday evening... feet up after a busy week(end) and heres one to mull over as we get ready to start the week:

Bill Hicks - It's Just A Ride

Happy crashing folks, enjoy the ride, you deserve it, you all forgot that you could delegate authority to the various “political leaders”, but you could never delegate responsibility, you are responsible for your own lives, regardless of how well meaning the political actor you backed could have turned out to be. Comment by w.smith on the article below.

Top story of the week

Smoke, mirrors ... and how a handful of missed mortgage payments started the global financial crisis

But underneath all the jargon is a fundamental truth about banking: that it is based on a kind of confidence trick. It's called "fractional reserve banking". Alone among commercial institutions, banks are allowed to create value out of nothing - in other words, they are allowed to lend out money they don't have.

A good article that explains how we have got to where we are.