Exploring Newbill’s Renminbi Thoughts, Bail-ins & This is Bad- ‘China’s Renminbi Is Approved’


John R. Houk

© December 22, 2015

What is the global effect on Capitalist market economies when an avowed Communist dictatorial nation is welcomed as an elite currency in the global finance? It truly is something serious to ponder.

I can hear the hollering and cries now that the Cold War (U.S. led West vs. Communist USSR [and to a lesser extent China]) has been over since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. In the case of the former Soviet Ruble and the Chinese Renminbi (aka yuan), no Communist nation ever achieved a financial rating as elite. Or at least that is until now.

The People’s Republic of China (i.e. Communist despotism) had its national currency the Renminbi declared an elite currency by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in November 2015 (official elite start date October 2016). The Renminbi thus joins the American Dollar, the EU Euro, British Pound and Japanese Yen as a stable currency. This banks and nations can trade with the Red Chinese currency to add to reserves to back an economy. To place this in perspective check out this WaPo excerpt:

Here are a few things the four countries in the IMF’s current “basket” all have in common, beyond their exports and tradable currencies. They are all market democracies, with well-established property rights and rule of law; their achievement of those institutional advances preceded their becoming issuers of currencies dependable and liquid enough for other countries to use them as reserves. The notion of a Chinese-issued global reserve currency assumes that Beijing can essentially reverse-engineer such development, and the market confidence it inspired, in a communist nation founded and still operated on the basis of party-state control over everything from banks to courts. (Bold text is Blog Editor’s – China moves into the global currency elite; By Editorial Board; Washington Post; 12/2/15)

For all of Communist China’s strides in becoming the world’s second largest economy the fact remains it is a ONE-Party nation with property rights and the rule of Law are under the foundation of State controlled Marxist ideology which has morphed into Chinese Communism.

The pseudonymous writer Tony Newbill projects the feeling that the Renminbi will cause a bit of global financial instability as the Chinese currency becomes a reserve option threatening the stability of the Dollar, Euro, Pound and Yen. I think he is on to something as evidenced by the Islamic Supremacist dictatorship of Sudan and the Communist dictatorship of North Korea will now have greater capability of trading in Renminbi in making deals with transnational terrorists thus avoiding restrictions and sanctions from nations that use the Dollar, Euro, Pound and Yen. AND that is just one example.

In introducing an article from the NYT Newbill provokes your thinking toward the West’s banking reformation involving how the Western governments address financial crises when banks begin to fail due to bad investments, especially in the case of transnational giant too big to fail banks. Instead of using the bailout path, the G20 nations have imposed a banking rule (See Also HERE) involving Bail-inabled Bonds. Hence the term Bail-in instead of a taxpayer supported government Bailout.

Since I am not exactly a big depositor in any bank I was somewhat clueless on the difference between a Bailout and a Bail-in. To comprehend the NYT article Newbill sent me to post, I had to read up on what the heck a bail-in entailed.

Here is a just over a minute explanation of the difference between a Bailout and Bail-in:

VIDEO: Bail ln Or Bail Out? What’s The Difference? Mike Maloney

 

Posted by Mike Maloney

Published on Nov 13, 2014

More: “Just the term ‘Bail-In’ is a lie. This is something that is a marketing tool to basically…cover up a theft.” – Mike Maloney. Learn more about the film here: If you’d like to watch the whole film, you can rent or buy the film online using this link and discount code for 30%: “maloney-rent” and “maloney-buy”

From the film’s press release:

From award-winning filmmaker Tim Delmastro comes a new film about … READ THE REST

The closest article on the subject that I understood the best was from Ellen Brown on The Web of Debt Blog.

JRH 12/22/15

Please Support NCCR

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New G20 Rules: Cyprus-style Bail-ins to Hit Depositors AND Pensioners

By Ellen Brown

December 1, 2014

The Web of Deceit Blog

On the weekend of November 16th, the G20 leaders whisked into Brisbane, posed for their photo ops, approved some proposals, made a show of roundly disapproving of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and whisked out again. It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board’s “Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution,” which completely changes the rules of banking.

Russell Napier, writing in ZeroHedge, called it “the day money died.” In any case, it may have been the day deposits died as money. Unlike coins and paper bills, which cannot be written down or given a “haircut,” says Napier, deposits are now “just part of commercial banks’ capital structure.” That means they can be “bailed in” or confiscated to save the megabanks from derivative bets gone wrong.

Rather than reining in the massive and risky derivatives casino, the new rules prioritize the payment of banks’ derivatives obligations to each other, ahead of everyone else. That includes not only depositors, public and private, but the pension funds that are the target market for the latest bail-in play, called “bail-inable” bonds.

“Bail in” has been sold as avoiding future government bailouts and eliminating too big to fail (TBTF). But it actually institutionalizes TBTF, since the big banks are kept in business by expropriating the funds of their creditors.

It is a neat solution for bankers and politicians, who don’t want to have to deal with another messy banking crisis and are happy to see it disposed of by statute. But a bail-in could have worse consequences than a bailout for the public. If your taxes go up, you will probably still be able to pay the bills. If your bank account or pension gets wiped out, you could wind up in the street or sharing food with your pets.

In theory, US deposits under $250,000 are protected by federal deposit insurance; but deposit insurance funds in both the US and Europe are woefully underfunded, particularly when derivative claims are factored in. The problem is graphically illustrated in this chart from a March 2013 ZeroHedge post:

Chart Comparison

 

More on that after a look at the new bail-in provisions and the powershift they represent.

Bail-in in Plain English

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) that now regulates banking globally began as a group of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors organized in a merely advisory capacity after the Asian crisis of the late 1990s. Although not official, its mandates effectively acquired the force of law after the 2008 crisis, when the G20 leaders were brought together to endorse its rules. This ritual now happens annually, with the G20 leaders rubberstamping rules aimed at maintaining the stability of the private banking system, usually at public expense.

According to an International Monetary Fund paper titled “From Bail-out to Bail-in: Mandatory Debt Restructuring of Systemic Financial Institutions”:

[B]ail-in . . . is a statutory power of a resolution authority (as opposed to contractual arrangements, such as contingent capital requirements) to restructure the liabilities of a distressed financial institution by writing down its unsecured debt and/or converting it to equity. The statutory bail-in power is intended to achieve a prompt recapitalization and restructuring of the distressed institution.

The language is a bit obscure, but here are some points to note:

o What was formerly called a “bankruptcy” is now a “resolution proceeding.” The bank’s insolvency is “resolved” by the neat trick of turning its liabilities into capital. Insolvent TBTF banks are to be “promptly recapitalized” with their “unsecured debt” so that they can go on with business as usual.

o “Unsecured debt” includes deposits, the largest class of unsecured debt of any bank. The insolvent bank is to be made solvent by turning our money into their equity – bank stock that could become worthless on the market or be tied up for years in resolution proceedings.

o The power is statutory. Cyprus-style confiscations are to become the law.

o Rather than having their assets sold off and closing their doors, as happens to lesser bankrupt businesses in a capitalist economy, “zombie” banks are to be kept alive and open for business at all costs – and the costs are again to be to borne by us.

The Latest Twist: Putting Pensions at Risk with “Bail-Inable” Bonds

First they came for our tax dollars. When governments declared “no more bailouts,” they came for our deposits. When there was a public outcry against that, the FSB came up with a “buffer” of securities to be sacrificed before deposits in a bankruptcy. In the latest rendition of its bail-in scheme, TBTF banks are required to keep a buffer equal to 16-20% of their risk-weighted assets in the form of equity or bonds convertible to equity in the event of insolvency.

Called “contingent capital bonds”, “bail-inable bonds” or “bail-in bonds,” these securities say in the fine print that the bondholders agree contractually (rather than being forced statutorily) that if certain conditions occur (notably the bank’s insolvency), the lender’s money will be turned into bank capital.

However, even 20% of risk-weighted assets may not be enough to prop up a megabank in a major derivatives collapse. And we the people are still the target market for these bonds, this time through our pension funds.

In a policy brief from the Peterson Institute for International Economics titled “Why Bail-In Securities Are Fool’s Gold”, Avinash Persaud warns, “A key danger is that taxpayers would be saved by pushing pensioners under the bus.”

It wouldn’t be the first time. As Matt Taibbi noted in a September 2013 article titled “Looting the Pension Funds,” “public pension funds were some of the most frequently targeted suckers upon whom Wall Street dumped its fraud-riddled mortgage-backed securities in the pre-crash years.”

Wall Street-based pension fund managers, although losing enormous sums in the last crisis, will not necessarily act more prudently going into the next one. All the pension funds are struggling with commitments made when returns were good, and getting those high returns now generally means taking on risk.

Other than the pension funds and insurance companies that are long-term bondholders, it is not clear what market there will be for bail-in bonds. Currently, most holders of contingent capital bonds are investors focused on short-term gains, who are liable to bolt at the first sign of a crisis. Investors who held similar bonds in 2008 took heavy losses. In a Reuters sampling of potential investors, many said they would not take that risk again. And banks and “shadow” banks are specifically excluded as buyers of bail-in bonds, due to the “fear of contagion”: if they hold each other’s bonds, they could all go down together.

Whether the pension funds go down is apparently not of concern.

Propping Up the Derivatives Casino: Don’t Count on the FDIC

Kept inviolate and untouched in all this are the banks’ liabilities on their derivative bets, which represent by far the largest exposure of TBTF banks. According to the New York Times:

American banks have nearly $280 trillion of derivatives on their books, and they earn some of their biggest profits from trading in them.

These biggest of profits could turn into their biggest losses when the derivatives bubble collapses.

Both the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 and the Dodd Frank Act provide special protections for derivative counterparties, giving them the legal right to demand collateral to cover losses in the event of insolvency. They get first dibs, even before the secured deposits of state and local governments; and that first bite could consume the whole apple, as illustrated in the above chart.

The chart also illustrates the inadequacy of the FDIC insurance fund to protect depositors. In a May 2013 article in USA Today titled “Can FDIC Handle the Failure of a Megabank?”, Darrell Delamaide wrote:

[T]he biggest failure the FDIC has handled was Washington Mutual in 2008. And while that was plenty big with $307 billion in assets, it was a small fry compared with the $2.5 trillion in assets today at JPMorgan Chase, the $2.2 trillion at Bank of America or the $1.9 trillion at Citigroup.

. . . There was no possibility that the FDIC could take on the rescue of a Citigroup or Bank of America when the full-fledged financial crisis broke in the fall of that year and threatened the solvency of even the biggest banks.

That was, in fact, the reason the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve had to step in to bail out the banks: the FDIC wasn’t up to the task. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act was supposed to ensure that this never happened again. But as Delamaide writes, there are “numerous skeptics that the FDIC or any regulator can actually manage this, especially in the heat of a crisis when many banks are threatened at once.”

All this fancy footwork is to prevent a run on the TBTF banks, in order to keep their derivatives casino going with our money. Warren Buffett called derivatives “weapons of financial mass destruction,” and many commentators warn that they are a time bomb waiting to explode. When that happens, our deposits, our pensions, and our public investment funds will all be subject to confiscation in a “bail in.” Perhaps it is time to pull our money out of Wall Street and set up our own banks – banks that will serve the people because they are owned by the people.

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Here is the Tony Newbill email conspiracy theory email.

JRH 12/22/15

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This is BAD

Sent by Tony Newbill

Sent: 11/30/2015 12:07 PM

Here comes the Run on the Dollar and USA and Euro Bank Bail-ins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

+++

China’s Renminbi Is Approved by I.M.F. as a Main World Currency

By KEITH BRADSHER

NOV. 30, 2015

New York Times (INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS)

NY Times VIDEO: Chinese Currency Named as a World Reserve

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004065542

 

By REUTERS | Nov. 30, 2015 | 0:52

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, announces that China’s renminbi will become a world reserve currency alongside the dollar, euro, pound and yen.

HONG KONG — The Chinese renminbi was anointed as one of the world’s elite currencies on Monday, a milestone decision by the International Monetary Fund that underscores the country’s rising financial and economic heft.

The move will help pave the way for broader use of the renminbi in trade and finance, securing China’s standing as a global economic power. Just four other currencies — the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen — have the I.M.F. designation.

But the path to the I.M.F. decision, a bumpy process that stretches back years, also introduced new uncertainty into China’s economy and financial system.

To meet the I.M.F. requirements, China was forced to give up some of its tight control over the currency, culminating in the abrupt devaluation of the renminbi that shook global markets in August. The changes could inject fresh volatility into the country, at a time when its economy is already slowing.

The I.M.F. designation, an accounting unit known as the special drawing rights, bestows global importance.

Renminbi, also called yuan, gains a benchmark status.

Many central banks follow this benchmark in measuring their reserves, which countries hold to help protect their economies in times of trouble. By adding the renminbi to this group, the I.M.F. effectively says that it considers the currency to be safe, reliable and freely usable.

It is a “recognition of the progress that the Chinese authorities have made in the past years in reforming China’s monetary and financial systems,” Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the I.M.F., said in a statement in Washington. “The continuation and deepening of these efforts will bring about a more robust international monetary and financial system, which in turn will support the growth and stability of China and the global economy.”

The designation is a point of pride for Beijing, which had made it one of its highest economic policy priorities.

In the months before the fund’s decision, China moved aggressively to expand the currency’s standing on a global stage, building trading hubs in Europe and developing a raft of renminbi-denominated bonds and commodity contracts. In devaluing the currency, China changed the way it sets the value of the renminbi each morning, allowing market forces to play a bigger role.

The I.M.F. decision also says a lot about the waning influence of Europe: The renminbi is mainly replacing part of the euro’s role in the special drawing rights. Assessing currencies for the accounting system, the fund put a greater emphasis on their different roles in international finance. The dollar still dominates in finance and trade, while the renminbi is quickly gaining ground on the euro.

The United States Treasury said it “supported” the I.M.F. decision.

Besides its symbolic weight, the I.M.F. label, which will take effect at the end of September next year, carries specific benefits. The renminbi will become one of the currencies used in the disbursement and repayment of international bailouts denominated in the fund’s accounting unit, like Greece’s debt deal.

The renminbi’s new status “will improve the international monetary system and safeguard global financial stability,” President Xi Jinping of China said in mid-November.

While the renminbi may gain favor internationally, the I.M.F. designation does not mean that China’s economic overhaul is complete. China maintains heavy regulatory control over the country’s financial system. The country also falls short in legal protections, with the Communist Party continuing to play a strong role in deciding court cases.

Such issues could limit the overall appeal of the renminbi — and China’s ambitions.

“It is a historic moment in international finance for an emerging market economy, with a per-capita income barely a quarter that of other reserve currency economies, to be anointed as the issuer of one of the world’s major reserve currencies,” said Eswar Prasad, a former head of the I.M.F.’s China division who is now the Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University. But “the most likely scenario is that the renminbi will erode but not seriously rival the dollar’s status as the dominant global reserve currency.”

The changing currency dynamics also create new geopolitical concerns.

As the renminbi becomes more deeply woven into the global economy, it undermines the ability of the West to impose financial sanctions on countries accused of human rights abuses and other violations, like Sudan and North Korea. Such countries can increasingly carry out transactions in renminbi.

China contends that it is crucial to respect nations’ sovereignty and that leaders should be allowed to set policy without fearing international criticism or intervention. China remains a close business and financial partner of Sudan and North Korea. Mr. Xi invited the president of Sudan to a recent military parade in Beijing.

Lamido Sanusi, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said in 2010 it was ready to put up to a tenth of its entire reserves into renminbi, or $4 billion

“As the renminbi rises, countries will have more choices about where they do their banking — and how to potentially circumvent sanctions,” said Christopher Brummer, a Georgetown University law professor specializing in currencies.

Beijing’s effort to position the renminbi as a rival to the dollar traces back to the innocuously named “Document 217.”

The Chinese central bank posted the document on its website with little fanfare in August 2010. But buried in the document’s technical jargon was an important measure with global implications.

Under a new rule, China would start allowing other countries’ central banks to begin buying its bonds in Shanghai. Officials in other countries just had to get permission first from the People’s Bank of China.

Nigeria was paying close attention. Lamido Sanusi, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, had already been mulling whether to park part of the country’s $40 billion in foreign exchange reserves in renminbi.

A prominent Islamic scholar, he was the son of an influential Nigerian prince who served as his country’s ambassador to China during the Cultural Revolution. Back then, his father advocated a shift by Africa away from Western dominance and toward closer relations with China.

When Mr. Sanusi became the central bank chief in 2009, Nigeria had extensive trade ties with China. In shifting a portion of reserves, he bet — correctly, as it turned out — that the renminbi would appreciate. Interest rates on renminbi-denominated bonds were also several percentage points higher than yields on comparable Treasuries.

Inclusion of the renminbi in the I.M.F.’s elite reserve currency group was so important to China’s leaders that they named it in October as one of their highest economic policy priorities in the coming years. CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

Nigeria started purchasing large sums of renminbi in the little-regulated Hong Kong market in 2010, rather than Shanghai as the Chinese rules prescribed, and without seeking Beijing’s permission. Mr. Sanusi then stunned the Chinese government by mentioning at a conference a few weeks later in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, that his country was ready to put up to a tenth of its entire reserves, or $4 billion, into renminbi.

“The Chinese Embassy came over and met me,” said Mr. Sanusi, who last year was crowned Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, the traditional and religious leader of Kano State in northern Nigeria. “They just wanted to have clarity.”

Chinese officials, he said, were pleased that a major trading partner in Africa liked the renminbi. But Nigeria’s move also posed a dilemma. Large-scale purchases of renminbi by overseas central banks would make it more difficult for China to prevent the renminbi from appreciating, which in turn would make exports less competitive.

When Nigeria eventually requested permission to buy bonds in Shanghai, the Chinese central bank agreed, although it tightly capped the purchases. “We got something less than what we applied for,” said Lamido Yuguda, the director of reserve management at the Central Bank of Nigeria, declining to provide precise figures. “It was something we could live with.”

After the experience with Nigeria, China moved slowly and cautiously on further currency liberalization over the next four years. The government did not encourage other central banks to buy large sums of renminbi. Instead, China entered into a series of swap agreements with dozens of countries like Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and Iceland.

Under these agreements, China said it would provide billions of renminbi if the other country needed them in a crisis. But China would keep the renminbi until that point, so that any interim purchases would not be sufficient to push up the value of the currency.

Beijing’s cautious strategy backfired this year, when China ramped up its campaign for I.M.F. reserve status. One of the I.M.F.’s main considerations is that the currency be “freely usable.”

The People’s Bank of China acknowledged last spring that other central banks held a modest $108 billion worth of renminbi, about 1 percent of total foreign exchange holdings by central banks. By contrast, central banks had $500 billion worth of swap agreements to obtain renminbi, more than for any other currency, including the dollar.

Beijing lobbied hard through the spring to persuade the I.M.F. to consider the swaps as evidence that the renminbi was “freely usable.” But the United States and other countries opposed bending I.M.F. rules.

The fund decided during the summer to stick to more traditional criteria, like the amount of currency that central banks had been able to buy and how easily the renminbi could be traded. After that, the I.M.F. pressed the Chinese central bank to make its currency more responsive to market forces.

China had to move fast. After this year, the next chance to push the renminbi into the fund’s accounting system would not come until 2020.

During the summer, Chinese officials made a series of rapid-fire moves, most notably devaluing the currency by 4.4 percent against the dollar as part of a new method for setting the daily trading range of the renminbi. The process would give the market more influence over the daily value of the renminbi, which is set each morning by the central bank.

The aftermath of the devaluation has been a shock to China’s system, providing a window into the uncertainty the country now faces with a more globally oriented currency.

After the devaluation, many Chinese companies moved to pay off foreign debts for fear the renminbi would fall further. Investors also sold huge sums of renminbi and switched into other currencies. China’s central bank spent nearly $100 billion in August alone to prop up the renminbi.

“Making it more market-based makes it more difficult to manage,” said Larry Hu, the chief China economist in the Hong Kong office of Macquarie Capital Securities. “But making it more market-based also makes it more efficient.

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Exploring Newbill’s Renminbi Thoughts, Bail-ins & This is Bad- ‘China’s Renminbi Is Approved’

John R. Houk

© December 22, 2015

____________________

New G20 Rules: Cyprus-style Bail-ins to Hit Depositors AND Pensioners

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

_________________________

China’s Renminbi Is Approved by I.M.F. as a Main World Currency

A version of this article appears in print on December 1, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: I.M.F. Adds China’s Currency to Elite Global Financial Club.

© 2015 The New York Times Company

New York Times home page

There is a Mysterious Subterfuge of Leftist Transformation


Hydrogen Barackside Cure-All

 

John R. Houk

© September 3, 2011

 

Standard & Poor warned of a downgrade of United States credit rating. There was data and hints from S & P of what kind of hoops the U.S. government must do to avoid the rating downgrade. Conservatives felt that there should be a lid on the debt ceiling, a Balanced Budget, cuts in wasteful government spending and fewer taxes or some find of tax reform that encouraged business with the hope that jobs would be created with the forethought that more jobs meant more tax revenue. Leftists (in my estimation) desired higher taxes with a focus on the wealthy, closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, more government spending to fund government programs that would miraculously lead to job creation which in turn mean more tax revenue and having no qualms about raising the debt ceiling because after all we can have the Fed print more money for circulation.

 

The Republicans and Democrats were light years apart on which hoops to jump through to entice S & P not to downgrade the U.S. credit rating. With pressure rising concerning the debt ceiling and the effectiveness of the U.S. government to continue its obligations (e.g. payroll, Medicare, SS Checks, and so on) financially, Democrats and Republicans went behind closed doors to verbally duke it out about the old give and take compromises that would be needed.

 

In a twelfth hour kind of move behind closed doors a temporary deal was made which included rising the debt ceiling. The deal included tackling the U.S. debt at a later time on a bipartisan basis.

 

After the hoops were all jumped through the S & P still downgraded the U.S. credit rating. With the downgrade came the political finger pointing between White House-Dems and Republicans.

 

The propaganda impetus from the Left is that it is all President Bush’s fault followed by the intransience of Tea Party Republicans. Every intelligent person realizes the Tea Party did more to work on the debt problem rather than the Dems who were more active in taxing the rich to keep the status quo Government programs for the poor and illegal aliens with thoughts of 2012 votes more than government solvency. So with a little deceptive smoke and mirrors the propaganda agenda of the Dems is to vilify the Tea Party Movement as the problem that ails the Obamanation-Dem managed government. The plan appears that if the Dems can get enough mud to stick to Tea Partiers voters will not view Tea Party influence as a new hope for better government. The fabricated mud of the Dems is hoped to make voters forget about all the Obama “Change” mantra used by Obamasiah to transform America into a Secular Humanist-Moral Relativist-Socialistic Utopia (SA Rules for Radicals excerpts by Saul Alinsky).

 

When one hears, sees or reads criticism of the Tea Party Movement you are reading criticism of people that belief in Original Intent interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Tea Partiers and smart Americans are simply resisting the Obama concept of change.

 

Writing all that I will turn you toward some edited emails from Tony Newbill that expresses concern over Conspiracy Theory (incidentally Newbill dislikes my association of his info with the words “Conspiracy Theory”) with the S & P credit rating downgrade as part of the NWO Left Wing transformation.

 

JRH 9/3/11[Read Newbill section at SlantRight 2.0]

State-Owned Banks: Economic Save-All or Socialism


John R. Houk

© June 2011

 

I get many emails from Tony Newbill that usually relates to the development of a New World Order (NWO). Newbill basically is my Conspiracy Theory guru. Although I placed great strength into a lot of Conspiracy Theory in my early days of Internet usage and somewhat prior to my embracement of the Internet (i.e. the good ole days of books and magazines), these days I am not so much inclined. And yet, I still hold onto the thought that some Conspiracy Theories have an inkling of truth that should pick-up the ears of caution for all Americans.

 

There are two pet peeves of mine that many would classify as Conspiracy Theories, yet I believe their threat is very real to the American way of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Those two threats are the theopolitical nature of Islam and Marxist/Socialism.

 

Tony Newbill (and a few others) has convinced me there is a third threat. That threat is the ubiquitous undercurrent of the United Nations associated Agenda 21 (SA HERE). Agenda 21 appears to be a blend of Marxist/Socialism and wealthy Leftist global elites (including Americans) that have an agenda to manage the global population via the ecology, food production, and societal transformation to prevent population blow-back from an unhappy populace, population control by any means necessary and you get the idea.

 

In essence Agenda 21 has the concept of many power tentacles that makes the typical power to the people deception of Socialism, Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Gramscism, and Maoism and so on to be backward concepts of political science in comparison.

 

There is one commonality in the midst of Political Islam, Marxist Socialism and Agenda 21. That commonality is the destruction of the American influenced Capitalism/Free Enterprise and the destruction of Judeo-Christian values that has been a huge influence in the development of Western Society as well as American life.

 

That commonality of hate from the triumvirate of global transformationists is probably a series of essays in itself. Tony Newbill sent me an email a couple of months ago wondering about State-Owned banks:

 

Feasibility of a CA State-owned Bank: The California Assembly Bill 750 Introduced to Study the Feasibility of a CA State-owned Bank; the USA needs this for ALL States Fast, because this is what’s heading our way.

 

Bill AB 750 is sponsored Assemblyman Ben Hueso. The Bill is entitled Bergeson-Peace Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank Act.

 

The link was sent April 14, 2011 so if it is still functional (and it was as of today), then California State Assembly Committee work may have amended the Bill since the date I received it. The point I wish to examine though is the operation of a State-owned bank. At first glance a State-owned bank has the appearance of Socialism. It is Socialism in the sense that the State government owns and manages the bank separate from private enterprise.

 

Leftists like to point out a State-owned bank is owned by the people. However, the reality is the people have zero to do with the bank policy or bank management. A State-owned bank would be managed at the least by the State bureaucracy and at most by some direct accountability to a State Governor. That is not “people” ownership that is government ownership.

 

Then there is the centrist politician (both Democrat and Republican) that might provide the illusion of saying a State-owned bank is owned and accountable to the taxpayers. You know, like the Police Force on State and local arenas are taxpayer supported thus accountable to elected representatives. The thing is a majority of law enforcement are not directly accountable to the voting taxpayer. Most States have some sort of County elected Sheriff; most Police Chiefs or heads of State Police are appointed. Police organizations are accountable to budgets developed by City Councils or State Congresses but that is a long way from direct accountability to taxpaying voters. Policies are set in blue print by a bureaucracy and executed by the interpretation of the Chief Police executive.

 

The same undoubtedly apply to a State-owned bank, right?

 

Here is the paradigm that has inspired many States and not just California to explore the potential to create a State-owned bank. That paradigm comes from the only State-owned bank currently in operation in America. That State is North Dakota. North Dakota has had a State-owned bank for about 91 years.

 

Now think of that. North Dakota has had a State-owned bank that has not only weathered the near decade long Great Depression that began in 1929, but has survived various economic assaults on banks from inflation, bad loans and especially the biggest American recession (someday it may be called a depression) that assaulted our economy because of the domino effect of the bad paper loans of Fannie May and Freddie Mac. Indeed the Bank of North Dakota (BND) actually registered a profit of $62 Million in 2010 when privately owned banks were struggling to survive. Now millions might sound like small scale for a State profit; however North Dakota’s population is 672,591 (2010 census).

 

The thing that is exciting other States that are contemplating the feasibility of a State-owned bank is the potential of per capita percentages adjusted to bigger populated States. That $62 Million profit in North Dakota might comparatively be in the hundreds of millions or in the billions with larger States that have larger economies.

 

When a State-owned bank makes a profit in competition with private banks based only fiscal decisions rather State mandated regulation favoring the State-owned bank, is that not Capitalism in action? Or is it still Socialism merely because the State owns and manages their bank?

 

Let us face one reality that applies to me and probably to a majority of other Americans. We the People for the most part are not economists. We rely on our ideological favorites that we want to trust to keep us informed, right? So here I go making some no-name blogger non-economist presumptive thoughts on State-owned banks.

 

My thought on State-owned banks at first glance is indeed they are an act of Socialism. Yet the BND paradigm is a successful competitive one that has brought prosperity rather than the typical Socialist atrophy that follows bureaucratic management. So let’s read a few pro-State-owned bank thoughts.

 

Mother Jones: How was the bank formed?

Eric Hardmeyer: It was created 90 years ago, in 1919, as a populist movement swept the northern plains. Basically it was a very angry movement by a large group of the agrarian sector that was upset by decisions that were being made in the eastern markets, the money markets maybe in Minneapolis, New York, deciding who got credit and how to market their goods. So it swept the northern plains. In North Dakota the movement was called the Nonpartisan League, and they actually took control of the legislature and created what was called an industrial program, which created both the Bank of North Dakota as a financing arm and a state-owned mill and elevator to market and buy the grain from the farmer. And we’re both in existence today doing exactly what we were created for 90 years ago. Only we’ve morphed a little bit and found other niches and ways to promote the state of North Dakota.

MJ: What makes your bank unique today?

EH: Our funding model, our deposit model is really what is unique as the engine that drives that bank. And that is we are the depository for all state tax collections and fees. And so we have a captive deposit base, we pay a competitive rate to the state treasurer. And I would bet that that would be one of the most difficult things to wrestle away from the private sector—those opportunities to bid on public funds. But that’s only one portion of it. We take those funds and then, really what separates us is that we plow those deposits back into the state of North Dakota in the form of loans. We invest back into the state in economic development type of activities. We grow our state through that mechanism.  

 

 

MJ: So you are able to invest in certain areas because they provide a public good.

EH: Yeah, or a direction, whether it’s energy or primary sector type of businesses. We have specific loan programs that are designed at very low interest rates to encourage activity along certain lines. Here’s another thing: We’re gearing up for a significant flood in one of the communities here in North Dakota called Fargo. We’ve experienced one of those in another community about 12 years ago which prior to Katrina was the largest single evacuation of any community in the United States. And so the Bank of North Dakota, once the flood had receded and there were business needs, we developed a disaster loan program to assist businesses. So we can move quite quickly to aid with different types of scenarios. Whether it’s encouraging different economies to grow or dealing with a disaster.

MJ: What do private banks think of you?

EH: The interesting thing about the bank is we understand that we walk a fine line between competing and partnering with the private sector. We were designed and set up to partner with them and not compete with them. So most of the lending that we do is participatory in nature. It’s originated by a local bank and we come in and participate in the loan and use some of our programs to share risk, buy down the interest rate. We even provide guarantees similar to SBA to encourage certain activity for entrepreneurial startups. Aside from that, we also act as a bankers’ bank or a wholesale bank. So we provide services to banks, whether it’s check clearing, liquidity, or bond accounting safekeeping. There’s probably 20 other bankers’ banks across the country. So we act in that capacity as kind of a little mini-fed actually. And so we service 104 banks and provide liquidity to them and clear their checks and also we buy loans from them when they have a need to overline, whether it’s beyond their legal lending limit or they just want to share risk, we’ll do that. We’re a secondary market for residential loans, so we have a portfolio of $500 to $600 million of residential loans that we buy.


MJ: So what’s the advantage of a publicly owned “bankers’ bank” instead of a privately owned one?


EH: Our model is we use our deposit base to help [other banks] with funding their loans, even providing fed funds lines with our excess liquidity—we buy and sell fed funds and act as a clearinghouse for check clearing activity. That would be the benefit or different model. We’re a depository bank and can bring that to bear
. (How the Nation’s Only State-Owned Bank Became the Envy of Wall Street; By Josh Harkinson; Mother Jones; Mar. 27, 2009 6:33 PM PDT)

 

What is the economic environment that makes the Bank of North Dakota successful that perhaps may not apply in another economic venue?

 

Because all state funds in North Dakota pass through BND, including regulatory and licensing fees, the institution is extremely well-capitalized. Because BND sticks to investing conservatively on behalf of the people and businesses of North Dakota, and ignores hinky transactions such as credit-default swaps, it has weathered the depressions and recessions of the 20th and 21st centuries with little turbulence.


In the midst of the current economy, with every other state in the country wrestling with crippling debt, North Dakota has none. It has billions in surplus. In addition to paying state government a competitive interest rate, BND issues dividends to the state. According to a March 7 article by Ellen Brown for GlobalResearch.ca, in 2008, the bank provided the state a 26 percent return in dividends alone
. (Can State-Owned Development Banks Save America?; By Zane Fischer; Santa Fe Reporter; 03.16.2011)

 

The above quote is from a New Mexico newspaper. I quoted the part about BND; however the article was about a prospect of New Mexico entering the State-owned banking business. The author Zane Fischer refers to Ellen Brown of who I found an article that promotes California AB 750. Brown salivates about the potential a State-owned bank might do to save California from its debt woes. But note Brown relates to applying a California paradigm which is actually untested like the BND which has been tested successfully under the paradigm of an agricultural and business incentive economy that has avoided Housing as a principle business.

 

California is the eighth largest economy in the world, and it has a debt burden to match. It has outstanding general obligation bonds and revenue bonds of $158 billion, largely incurred for infrastructure. Of this tab, $70 billion is just for interest. Over $7 billion of California’s annual budget goes to pay interest on the state’s debt.

 

As large as California’s liabilities are, they are exceeded by its assets, which are sufficient to capitalize a bank rivaling any in the world. That’s the idea behind Assembly Bill 750, introduced by Assemblyman Ben Hueso of San Diego, which would establish a blue ribbon task force to consider the viability of creating the California Investment Trust, a state bank receiving deposits of state funds. Instead of relying on Wall Street banks for credit – or allowing a Wall Street bank to enjoy the benefits of lending its capital – California may decide to create its own, publicly-owned bank.

 

California joins eleven other states that have introduced bills to form state-owned banks or to study their feasibility. Eight of these bills were introduced just since January, including in Oregon, Washington State, Massachusetts, Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico, Maine and California. Illinois, Virginia, Hawaii and Louisiana introduced similar bills in 2010. For links, dates and text, see here.

 

 

The Center for State Innovation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, was commissioned to do detailed analyses for the Washington and Oregon bills. Their conclusion was that a state-owned bank on the model of the Bank of North Dakota would have a substantial positive impact in those states, increasing employment, new lending, and government revenue.

 

What California Could Do with Its Own Bank

 

Banks create “bank credit” from capital and deposits, as explained here. Under existing capital requirements, $8 in capital can be leveraged into $100 in loans, drawing on the liquidity provided by the deposits to clear the outgoing checks. Assuming a 10% reserve requirement (the amount in deposits normally held in reserve), $8 in capital and $100 in deposits are sufficient to create $90 in loans ($100 less $10 held back for reserves).

 

In North Dakota (population 647,000), the Bank of North Dakota has $2.7 billion in deposits, or $4000 per capita. The majority of these deposits are drawn from the state’s own revenues. The bank has nearly the same sum ($2.6 billion) in outstanding loans.

 

California has 37 million people. If the California Investment Trust (CIT) performed like the BND, it might amass $148 billion in deposits. With $12 billion in capital, this $148 billion could generate $133 billion in credit for the state (subtracting 10%, or 14.8 billion, to satisfy reserve requirements).

 

There are various ways the state could come up with the capital, but one possibility that would not require new taxes or debt would be to simply draw on the treasurer’s existing pooled money investment account, which currently contains $65 billion in accumulated revenues dispersed to a variety of funds. This money is already invested; a portion could just be shifted to the CIT. Since it would be an investment in equity rather than an expenditure, it would not cost the state money. Rather, it would make money for the state. In recent years, the Bank of North Dakota has had a return on equity of 25-26%. Compare the 25-30% lost in the two years following the 2008 banking crisis by CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which invested its money on Wall Street.

 

There are many inviting possibilities for applying the CIT’s $133 billion in credit power, but here is one easy alternative that illustrates the cost-effectiveness of the approach. Assume the bank invested $133 billion in municipal bonds at 5% interest. This would give the state close to $7 billion annually in interest income – nearly enough to pay the interest tab on the state’s debt.

 

Choosing Prosperity

 

What California can do with its own bank, other states can do as well, on a scale proportionate to their populations and economies. North Dakota has a population that is less than 1/10th the size of Los Angeles; the BND produced $62 million in revenue last year and $2.2 billion in loans. Larger states could generate much more.

 

We have been trapped in an austere neo-liberal economic model in which the only alternatives are to slash services, raise taxes, and sell off public assets, all in a futile attempt to “balance the budget” in a shrinking economy. We need to start thinking outside the box. We can choose prosperity, and public banks are a key tool for achieving that end. (WHAT A PUBLIC BANK COULD MEAN FOR CALIFORNIA; By Ellen Brown; ThePeoplesVoice.org; May 20th, 2011)

 

If you have read down this far, I have a question. Did anyone notice Brown attached California’s needs to North Dakota’s paradigm? There was a lot of talk of a deposit based banking paradigm as in North Dakota. Also Brown connects everything from tax revenue to State government bureaucracy being tied to the bank.

 

Here is the thing I noticed though. Brown’s delight of tying all California revenue through a State-owned bank seems to lead to the possibility of moving budgetary money around to meet State needs covered by the State-owned deposits. Now I know in a perfect world with the revenue flying in on all cylinders that this would not be a big deal to move bank deposits or borrowing against bank deposits to shore up a State need to be a big deal. BUT what would happen if the borrowing on deposits to shore-up say social programs began to exceed the deposits? Keep in mind the North Dakota paradigm did not eliminate private enterprise banks but indeed worked with partner situations with the private banks. Also keep in mind the BND is not a Federally insured bank. The bank deposits are insured by the State of North Dakota.

 

With this in mind private banks play a huge role in California as opposed to North Dakota. California has been in the red so long that there might be a little distrust to place money in a Federally UNINSURED bank. I am thinking deposits in a State-owned bank in California could be just as bad news for the Californian economy if the State-owned banking revolves around California’s huge economy that goes way beyond agriculture and small businesses. I am betting some Governor, State Congress or bureaucrat might be willing to gamble in a less than conservative manner which could backfire.

 

If there is crisis in State-owned banking I am guessing a State like California would have to implement greater tentacles of Socialism that will indeed make the Bank of North Dakota look like a true Capitalist venture. Then Constitutional issues could arise because I am just unsure how Socialized a State can be outside the U.S. Constitution.

 

It seems to me that large State economies cannot work out a semi-Socialist/Capitalist success as has happened in North Dakota.

 

JRH 6/3/11