Senator Kay Hagan, pay attention. Last I checked you weren’t doing such a good job for your constituents.
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
No bank should ever exist that operates outside the borders of any one state. No bank executive should ever be allowed to sit on the board of any other corporate entity during his or her tenure with the bank, or for ten years afterward. The Federal Reserve MUST be dismantled and the federal government must resume its role as the sole source of new currency/coin/money in this nation. The creation of new money via bank loans at interest is an evil practice that ought rightfully treated as criminal usury.
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“This is a nation of inconsistencies. The Puritans fleeing from oppression became oppressors. We fought England for our liberty and put chains on four million of blacks. We wiped out slavery and our tariff laws and national banks began a system of white wage slavery worse than the first.
Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street… Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us.
We were told two years ago to go to work and raise a big crop, that was all we needed. We went to work and plowed and planted; the rains fell, the sun shone, nature smiled, and we raised the big crop that they told us to; and what came of it? Eight-cent corn, ten-cent oats, two-cent beef and no price at all for butter and eggs-that’s what came of it. The politicians said we suffered from overproduction. Overproduction, when 10,000 little children, so statistics tell us, starve to death every year in the United States, and over 100,000 shopgirls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for the bread their niggardly wages deny them…
We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out… We will stand by our homes and stay by our fireside by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the government pays its debts to us. The people are at bay; let the bloodhounds of money who dogged us thus far beware.”
~ From a Speech by Mary Elizabeth Lease (circa 1890)
“I told my friends of the cloth that I did not believe Christ was meek and lowly but a real living, vital agitator who went into the temple with a lash and a krout and whipped the oppressors of the poor, routed them out of the doors and spilled their blood and got silver on the floor. He told the robbed and misruled and exploited and driven people to disobey their plunderers, he denounced the profiteers, and it was for this that they nailed his quivering body to the cross and spiked it to the gates of Jerusalem, not because he told them to love one another. That was harmless doctrine. But when he touched their profits and denounced them before their people he was marked for crucifixion.”
~ Eugene V. Debs, speaking to a reporter from his prison cell in 1919 while serving time for making anti-war speeches.
As if we didn’t already know most banking executives and upper-level managers are a bunch of worthless, lazy cray babies… now we have proof!
(SOURCE: Business Insider) It’s already happening in the U.K. and now here in the U.S. a growing group of bankers are planning to sue their employers or walk away if they don’t receive bigger bonuses, according to the New York Post.
For example, brokerage execs at Jeffries Group have threatened to walk away from the firm if bonuses aren’t on par with the Street.
However, that could be a bit tricky.
Last month, an internal memo from Jeffries CEO Richard Handler about their year-end bonus essentially stated that if employees leave the firm within the next year, they have to pay Jeffries back the portion of their year-end bonus received in cash.
Meanwhile, other major financial firms are hoarding their bonus pools ahead of anticipated complaints from employees, the Post’s report said.
From the Post:
“The really successful battles come before the pie is cut up, when you convince the boss to move the knife and give you a wider slice,” says Alan Sklover, a compensation lawyer who represents CEOs and bankers. “Banks don’t care about the reward, they care about retention. If you’re good and you make them money, they’ll do almost anything to keep you.”
While the overall bonus pool on Wall Street is expected to be 30% lower this year, receiving a paltry bonus is probably better than a pink slip.
As the owner of a small, one-man, sole proprietor service business this story strikes close to my heart. This is how most, if not all, businesses should operate. Big corporations, big profits, and big incomes be damned. Small is beautiful. Small is sustainable. Small respects the community in which it lives. Small is the only way we or our children will ever have a future worth living.
Move your money out of the big banks, the stock market, etc., and put it to use supporting the place where you live. Starve the beast!
(SOURCE: Steve Lendman) Responsible New York Banking
Founded in 1882, the Bank of Cattaraugus (B of C) exception proves the rule. Located in Western New York, it’s miles from Wall Street’s cesspool of fraud, market manipulation, grand theft, bailouts, and influence peddling in league with corrupt politicians getting generous campaign contribution bribes in return.
B of C calls itself “one of the oldest and strongest banks in New York state. (It’s) a full-service, independent bank that provides financial services with a hometown touch. Personal, friendly service is our signature trademark, and we’re dedicated to give back to the communities we service.”
B of C “operate(s) with the same belief that the needs of the local community and its residents are its business. Local deposits must remain available for local loans to sustain” Cattaraugus village. It’s located about an hour south of Buffalo.
Imagine a bank anywhere operating honestly and responsibly, meaning what it says, and proving it. Grateful customers say so. More on that below.
With about $16 million in assets and $1.1 million in equity capital, B of C is microbank in size, well below the $10 billion small bank ceiling. It’s business model stresses serving local community needs. About 80% involve mortgages to local residents.
It’s the state’s smallest bank with one location and eight employees. It’s Cattaraugus’ only bank. It doesn’t base loans on credit scores. Knowing community needs well, it operates supportively to help.
In its history, annual profits rarely exceeded $50,000. In 2010, it earned $47,000 for a 0.3% return on assets. Despite its size and low profitability, President and CEO Patrick Cullen says twice weekly on average larger banks make buyout offers. No thanks, he responds. “There’s nothing they can offer us that we can’t do ourselves.”
He prefers independence, sticking with his simple business model, operating like a public utility, avoiding high risks, reinvesting in Cattaraugus’ economy, and helping local residents.
B of C doesn’t operate parasitically. It doesn’t speculate in financial derivatives and an alphabet soup of securitized garbage. It won’t cheat customers, make liar’s loans, bilk investors through fraudulent schemes, or engage in other manipulative, dishonest practices.
It’s worked for 130 years as the only bank in a community of about 1,000 residents. Operating privately, it replicates responsible public banking. More on it below.
On December 23, New York Times writer Alan Feuer headlined,“The Bank Around the Corner,” saying:
Pensioner Carol Bonner is one of many grateful B of C customers. Needing a loan for car repairs, Cullen helped her like earlier.
“A few years ago, when (she) fell behind on her property taxes and was forced to sell her home, (Cullen as mortgage holder) had his son Thomas (a Chicago resident) buy it.” As a result, Bonner and her sister stayed as renters.
“The whole thing was incredible,” she said. “I just didn’t realize there were people like that in the world who would help you. Especially a banker.”
B of C is different. It holds village deposits and “lend(s) to its neediest inhabitants.” Recently it granted forbearance to an unemployed bus mechanic mortgagee. Another Amish customer needed $85,000 for debt consolidation. Despite earning only $2,300 a year selling greenhouse starter kits, he got it.
According to Cullen, “If you know Amish culture, you know his sons work and that everything they earn goes to him until they’re 21 or married. So he was fine, but none of that shows up on a credit score.”
Diner owner Paul Macakanja says, “They do things that big banks won’t do. They support you personally because your success is their success.”
Through responsible lending to local community residents and businesses, stressing customer service, offering access to management, and understanding borrower needs well, bottom line concerns are served sustainably long-term.
“If it sounds old-fashioned, it is,” said Feuer. “It’s not the kind of bank you’ll find anymore in New York City” or other large communities.
Retired worker Duane Kelley said, “They saved our lives” after he lost his home over a $15,000 tax lien. Cullen bought the house with bank money, returned it to Kelly, and he’s repaying B of C through a 15-year loan.
Bank examiners ask Cullen, “When are you going to grow?” He responds saying, “But where is it written I have to grow? We take care of our customers. The truth is we probably couldn’t grow too much in a town like this.”
Cattaraugus has limited prospects. Except for a lollipop handle producer, its former manufacturing base died. Its largest employer is the school district, “and many village residents survive….on pensions or government subsidies, in homes” with average $30,000 mortgages.
B of C’s a family business. Cullen’s daughter is chief financial officer and wife Joan corporate secretary. With giant banks bigger than ever during hard times and historically low interest rates, small banks are hard-pressed to compete.
Yet growing anger over banking fraud, predatory lending, high fees, and lack of public service encourages depositors to move funds to smaller, local institutions.
The Move Your Money project encourages it, telling people to vote with their dollars, “Invest in Main Street, Not Wall Street.” So does Bank Transfer Day.org. Inspired by OWS, it encourages credit union banking. According to organizer Kristen Christian:
“I started this because I felt like many of you do. I was tired – tired of the fee increases, tired of not being able to access my money when I need to, tired of them using what little money I have to oppress my brothers and sisters.”
“So I stood up. I’ve been shocked at how many people have stood up alongside me. With each person who RSVPs to this event, my heart swells. (By) each of YOU standing with me….they can’t drown out the noise we’ll make.”
Christian claims she persuaded 400,000 people to shift from large banks to not-for-profit credit unions.
In today’s environment, Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) president Camden Fine believes small banks are especially important. They hold 20% of banking assets and write over half of small business loans.
According to Fine, “Customers can say, ‘I know where my money is – it’s down there eight blocks away. They can walk in and talk to the president and know he isn’t sucking in their money and betting against them on proprietary securities.”
Nonetheless, since 2008, hundreds of community banks have gone under. B of C survived. Cullen believes rural banking is vital. Moreover, “(w)hen customers entrust their life savings to us, we treat them as if it were our own.”
He also runs the Historic Cattaraugus Corporation, a non-profit local business. From 1990 – 2003, he invested nearly $1 million of bank money in village properties. Usually it paid off, but not always. “Banks tend not to do that sort of thing,” he said.
Among other projects, he bought an old town hotel. He’s waiting for a chance to use it. He also plans restoring original town buildings. He hopes to open them as a colonial Williamsburg-style theme park.
“If you look at Williamsburg’s web site,” he says, “they claim the park employs 3,800 people. Give us 5% of that, I’ll claim success.” It will be entirely home grown. “Everyone will be involved. The bank, the church, local government, the people – everyone will have a stake.” It’s what it’s all about in his mind.
Public Banking: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Working cooperatively with responsible community banks like B of C and non-profit credit unions, establishing public banks across America is vital at a time of financialized power, casino capitalism, depression-sized unemployment, socialized losses, privatized profits, and Wall Street crooks operating an unprecedented money making racket.
Like B of C, public banks provide low-interest loans to businesses, farmers, communities, households, students, and other worthy borrowers as a way to revive and sustain inflation-free prosperity.
It’s no pipe dream. It’s real. It happened before. It’s happening in North Dakota, the only state with a publicly owned bank, and can anywhere they’re established.
They don’t have to earn profits. They’re not beholden to Wall Street or shareholders. Only the state, community, or federal government’s creditworthiness matters.
So far, in over 230 years, no state ever went out of business, and, except for Arkansas during the Great Depression, none ever defaulted, even when poorly governed.
Moreover, they can lend to themselves and municipalities interest-free, as well as to businesses, farmers, and individuals at low affordable rates to create sustainable, inflation-free growth.
Notably, the more often loans roll over, the more debt-free money is created – inflation-free if used productively for growth, not speculation, big bonuses and other excesses.
In fact, as long as new money produces goods and services, inflation can’t occur. Only imbalances cause problems when demand exceeds supply. In contrast, price stability is assured when both increase proportionally.
It’s not pie-in-the-sky. It works and can again by returning money power to public hands where it belongs. Doing so will end Wall Street’s responsibility for massive fraud, asset bubbles, record budget and national debt levels, and depression-sized unemployment, human need and anger.
Today’s contagion is global. Billions suffer. Economies are wrecked to save banks. Washington is Wall Street occupied territory. So are European financial capitals because governments provide trillions of dollars to socialize losses, privatize profits, and hang their own citizens out to dry.
Replacing a predatory system with public banks working responsibly with small community one like B of C and non-profit credit unions can change things.
Now’s the time under a just and equitable system. Besides peace, good will, democratic values, and government, of, by, and for everyone, what better idea is there than that when it’s needed more than ever!
On Monday, Bank of America (BofA) stocks briefly traded for under $5. Yes, you could buy a share of BofA for less than the noxious debit card fee they tried to force down your throat.
BofA is massive, with assets equivalent to 15 percent of U.S. GDP. So why is it trading for the price of a latte?
Because Wall Street’s dirty little secret is that BofA is a zombie bank. Now the reek is getting too strong to ignore.
In 2008-2009, BofA publicly took $45 billion in TARP bailout funds and secretly took another $91 billion in emergency Federal Reserve loans. According to Bloomberg News, it made $1.5 billion in profits off of those loans. Yet, several analysts predict that BofA is woefully short of capital reserves.
A recent study by NYU’s Stern School of Business ranks BofA as the most systemically risky firm in the United States. These analysts use public information and focus on the capital shortfall that would be experienced by the bank in the event of another crisis. BofA’s weak condition means it is a position to “create or extend” such a crisis.
As if this were not enough, recent news reports indicate that BofA is trying to move $22 trillion in derivatives out of its Merrill Lynch subsidiary into its FDIC-insured bank. The Fed favors the move (naturally). The FDIC, which provides insurance to depositors if a bank fails, does not.
In this pile of derivatives, could be all sorts of problems including bad European debt, the same kind of debt that brought down Jon Corzine’s derivatives firm, MF Global. Taxpayers don’t backstop MF Global. We do backstop BofA through the FDIC and the Fed. Read more.
Here’s the introduction to a article from ProPublica. The excuse is that prosecuting the bastards responsible for hijacking the world economy while lining their pockets with stolen tax money is just “too hard,” but I just don’t buy it.
Why’s that? Well, according to a now-departed Justice Department official who used to be in charge of investigating such matters, the Justice Department has decided that holding top Wall Street executives criminally accountable is too difficult a task.David Cardona, who recently left the FBI for a job at the Securities and Exchange Commission, told the Wall Street Journal that bringing financial wrongdoing to account is “better left to regulators,” who can bring civil cases. Civil cases, of course, can produce penalties from the banks — as well as promises to be on better behavior – but don’t put any executives behind bars. Here’s the Journal:
While at the FBI, Mr. Cardona oversaw dozens of criminal probes of large financial firms. The FBI’s probes haven’t led to any successful prosecutions of high-profile executives in relation to the financial crisis, despite demands from some lawmakers and angry Americans. In contrast, the SEC has filed crisis-related civil-fraud cases against 81 firms and individuals, and it has negotiated almost $2 billion in penalties in cases that have been settled.
Cardona told the Journal that the failed first attempt to charge financial players with crisis-related fraud — the 2009 trial and eventual acquittal of two Bear Stearns Cos. hedge-fund managers — triggered “a lot of rethinking on how we do things.” After that, he said, the federal government began to question its “ability to convince a jury that criminality has occurred” on complex and technical financial cases.
The lack of prosecutions was also raised in a ‘60 Minutes’ piece Sunday about large-scale mortgage fraud during the bubble. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer told CBS that the Justice Department had not lost confidence and was “bringing every case that we believe can be made.”
“I get it. I find the excessive risk taking to be offensive,” said Breuer. “I may personally share the same frustration that American people all over the country are feeling, that in and of itself doesn’t mean we bring a criminal case.” (full story here)
I don’t know for certain, but I suspect working for the SEC pays quite a bit better than working for the FBI. I already knew about the revolving door between Congress and corporate America; a door that needs to be slammed shut with as many Congressional fingers as possible caught in it when it closes, but it looks to me like there are many more of those spinning doors keeping the criminal class protected from the justice they deserve.