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Alternatives to banks

Written By: - Date published: 11:27 am, April 6th, 2015 - 96 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, telecommunications - Tags: ,

I was reading this piece on the current state of telecoms companies in NZ. It’s an interesting topic of course, but the bit that really stood out for me wasn’t about telecoms at all:

Spark boss Simon Moutter complained before Christmas that the combined annual profit of the country’s five biggest phone companies, Spark, Vodafone, Chorus, 2degrees and CallPlus, had fallen to half that of New Zealand’s smallest major bank, ASB Bank.

I’m blown away by that statistic. I think telecoms services in NZ are still way too expensive, but to be fair I can see that there is a lot that these companies have to invest in, a lot of infrastructure to be built. Banks? Not so much. What do they do for their huge (and mostly Australian) profits?

We need an alternative to fattening banking coffers. This piece from a couple of years ago on Stuff makes a strong case for credit unions, listing several specific advantages. But this overview message should appeal to lefties:

The services that credit unions provide are essentially the same as a small bank. The real difference is the way they operate. Credit unions are collectively owned. Each member gets one vote, regardless of how much they have invested. Any member can run for elections to become a director. Profits are distributed back to members through lower fees, better interest rates, a dividend, or some combination of all three.

A gentleman called John Pemberton has a (seemingly defunct) blog on “monetary justice”, which includes this page on alternatives to banks. He divides them in to four categories (see his site for links under each category):

Community trading schemes – they are co-operative (nobody owns them) and they are controlled by the users.
Co-operatives or Mutuals which are owned and controlled by their members – The people who save, borrow and do their transactional banking or trading with them.
Community Banks – Ownership vested in a community trust
Government owned banks – Owned by the people through their elected representatives.

Another interesting recent development is peer to peer lending.

What else folks?

The last Labour government brought us KiwiBank. The next should go one further – KiwiCooperative.

96 comments on “Alternatives to banks ”

  1. Sable 1

    An excellent article and some good ideas. I wonder if people are interested though? Seems to me everywhere you look is apathy about important issues like this one.

    As to the telco’s I think they will be pricier here than say Australia in part due to economies of scale. That said its not much of an excuse for poor service and an inferior product.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      As to the telco’s I think they will be pricier here than say Australia in part due to economies of scale.

      Economies of scale have nothing to do with it. The amount of infrastructure per person and the number of people needed to maintain it are roughly equal. It will be higher here because the Australian banks will be getting most of the profit from the telcos.

      • hoom 1.1.1

        ISPs pay most of the monthly revenue to Chorus either in direct Plan charges or in fees for techs/changes.

        I always liked the idea of Credit Unions but recent publicity shows that Managers in them are no better than the average loony rightie elsewhere…

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          ISPs pay most of the monthly revenue to Chorus either in direct Plan charges or in fees for techs/changes.

          And the amount that the ISPs pay Chorus is the amount that we should all be paying. We only pay higher so that the ISPs can make a profit on top of the profit that Chorus is making.

          I always liked the idea of Credit Unions but recent publicity shows that Managers in them are no better than the average loony rightie elsewhere…

          Yep, which is why I push for more collective decision making.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    I’ve gone on about Loomio before and it’s benefit to making collective decisions. I bring it up here because of the Newtown Ethical Lending Trust which uses it to make decisions about who the trust is lending to.

    This is a great example of how decisions don’t have to be left in the hands of the few but can be in the hands of the many. It’s also a great example of why the internet can no longer be left to the vagaries of private service providers and should be brought back as a government service ensuring that everybody has access to it.

  3. Rosie 3

    Please bear with me, I know nothing of banking systems, except that that I find their profits outrageous given what little they do for society.

    What I’ve always wanted to know is why Kiwibank are more or less on par with Aussie banks for their service, fee’s and interest rates when they could be providing more of a service and being of more use to NZer’s seeing as we own them, and that their duty should be towards the public rather than themselves?

    I’ve been with Kiwibank since they opened, the main reason being I support the idea of government owned banks. In addition to that, their fee’s have always been lower. They seemed initially at least to give the other banks a bit of shake down and introduced some sense of competition.

    However over the years they’ve become more and more like any other bank. This has been a very disappointing reality after getting our fist mortgage with them a couple of years ago.

    Surely they can say, halve their interest rates and still make a healthy profit for the government? With truly appealing mortgage rates wouldn’t NZer’s be compelled to bank with them, instead of the foreign banks? They would have to acquire their profit from a larger pool of customers but NZer’s wouldn’t then be carrying such a burden of debt.

    Shouldn’t a government owned bank be benefiting it’s customers in a more equal way than they currently are?

    • weka 3.1

      Good questions.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Surely they can say, halve their interest rates and still make a healthy profit for the government?

      Nope. They still borrow the money that they use for their reserves from the same place that the other banks loan it – offshore. What they should be is a state bank that gets to create the money that they loan out with the loans at 0% interest. This would, inevitably, destroy the other banks as they just wouldn’t be able to compete. This is why Kiwibank is only allowed to operate as other banks.

      • Rosie 3.2.1

        Thanks Drax. That explains it for me.

        I like your idea, such a bank would provide a genuine people orientated service.

        Taking the current National Government and it’s neolib ideology out of the picture, what prevents such a system from operating?

        Does it still come down to ideology?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          Taking the current National Government and it’s neolib ideology out of the picture, what prevents such a system from operating?

          That’s a very complex question to answer but it mostly, IMO, comes down to the ignorance of the population who can then be scared by the banks and politicians about the government creating money and thus making money worthless. This is despite the fact that the private banks are creating money hand over fist. It’s been estimated that 50 to 80 percent of general inflation comes from the banks creating money and ~100% of house price inflation.

          We actually do need controls on the creation of money but the present system doesn’t really have any.

          Does it still come down to ideology?

          Ideology to a main part. If the government created money and loaned it out at 0% interest the capitalists wouldn’t be able to make a profit without actually doing anything. In fact, I’m pretty sure that private banks would rapidly collapse as they’d no longer be able to create money as they do now and thus they’d have to wear the risks that they take.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1

            And this:

            The power to create money affects almost every aspect of our society, so it’s worrying that we’ve allowed it to fall into the hands of banks with no debate in parliament or the press.

            And this:

            After all – once you comprehend that presently it is the value of our very own natural resource collateral that the privately owned banks get to type into their accounts and then give back to us as interest bearing loans to circulate as our currency > public credit – issued free of interest – by a state bank – held in public trust – makes perfect common sense – does it not?

            • Rosie 3.2.1.1.1.1

              All good food for thought thanks Drax.

              Agree with the sentiment in your last link, the fb one above.

              Re your point about the ignorance of the population. There was an independent candidate who ran for Ohariu last year, Sue Hamill.

              She had some very interesting things to say about banking systems at the candidates meeting but it was kind the wrong place and time for her information to get across given the prominence of the conflicting political tensions in the room.
              It would be good if that kind of information did become more public, the power of banks could be demystified.

              Sue Hamill is one of the founders of Positive Money NZ. I’m guessing that’s a NZ branch of Positive Money from your link.

              http://suehamill.co.nz/site/sue_hamill/

            • wyndham 3.2.1.1.1.2

              Russel Norman was vilified when he came up with the perfectly simple solution to the GFC – – – that was, “print money”.
              For some reason Russel backed off that one.

        • Bazar 3.2.1.2

          You seriously can’t understand why lending money out at 0% is a bad idea?

          Because then people will borrow excessively, and why wouldn’t they. Why earn tomorrow what you can take now.

          Then comes the inflation, with all this money now pumped into the economy. More money competing for the same amount of goods, means prices will rise.

          Paying more for the same items is called inflation. Its when the value of the dollar decreases over time.

          So you propose allowing people to take money out now, and then pay it back using a weaker currency.

          If you have a problem with banks, use a credit union, there are enuogh of them.
          Having friends who work for them, i can only laugh at how milk and cookies believe the banking system is and should be.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.2.1

            Because then people will borrow excessively, and why wouldn’t they.

            Because there would be limits set to prevent them? Also, interest doesn’t actually prevent people borrowing excessively as the present massive house price inflation shows..

            Then comes the inflation, with all this money now pumped into the economy.

            IMO, the amount of money created would be less than what the private banks create now.

            Paying more for the same items is called inflation. Its when the value of the dollar decreases over time.

            That’s one driver of inflation. Another is an increase in demand caused by more people wanting the same resource.

            So you propose allowing people to take money out now, and then pay it back using a weaker currency.

            Nope.

            Everything you just spouted is nothing more than the propaganda that’s been used for ever to prevent governments from acting to better society. Propaganda that’s used to keep the rich in power over the populace, to keep us all as serfs.

            • weka 3.2.1.2.1.1

              “Because there would be limits set to prevent them? Also, interest doesn’t actually prevent people borrowing excessively as the present massive house price inflation shows..”

              For instance, you used to have to have a 20% deposit to get a mortgage.

          • millsy 3.2.1.2.2

            “Because then people will borrow excessively, and why wouldn’t they. Why earn tomorrow what you can take now.”

            People burrow excessively now.

            Unfortunately the neo-liberal finance system depends on avalibility of cheap credit. Plain and simple.

          • mikesh 3.2.1.2.3

            If zero percent loans were restricted to the servicing of production needs, then then increase in goods and services would probably offset any increase in the money supply, and (price) inflation would be avoided.

      • mikesh 3.2.2

        Monies loaned for productive purposes should, I think, be created from nothing and interest free. However, I’m not so sure the same should apply to non productive loans like those for housing.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2.1

          A house isn’t directly productive but living in a warm, safe place does increase productivity.

          Of course, I tend to the idea that the government would be better to create the money and build the houses themselves. After that they rent them out for enough to cover maintenance.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    When it comes to money-shufflers, it’s time for the whip

    “What market isn’t rigged?” Cramer asked in the wake of Yellen’s comments. “Look at the scandals. LIBOR. FX. Mortgages. Mortgage securities. Gold. Laundering. We all kept waiting [in vain] for someone to go to jail … It is pervasive. Yellen is right.”

    The growth engine of this sector has been in providing financial advice and planning, and here the culture of self-interested fee churning has proved to be pervasive.

    We see this everywhere in the world. The financial system has come to rule and we’re getting steadily worse off because of it.

    • Once was Tim 4.1

      At DtB ….. I’d be interested in your opinion on a related matter:
      Why do we NEED as “stock Exchange” exactly?
      maybe this should shift to OM.
      I’ve just been pondering the question because the SX has become the mechanism by which crony capitalism has been allowed (indeed encouraged) to flourish,
      It’s evolved from a mere ticket clipping exercise (under the guise of being the ‘efficient and effective’ means of trading shares) to electronic split second, algorithmic virtual trading, to being the world’s biggest casino.

      The alternatives?
      Well for starters … if I wanted a share(s) in (say Fisher and fucking Paykel), I’d simply approach the company directly (thru a solicitor.

      If I wanted to buy Government bonds …. I could walk into my nearest Post Office and that nice teller behind the counter who just took my registered parcel would tap a few keys on the same computer – and I’d have a receipt (maybe on the same printer that just issued my car registration card.

      Atm …… I’d just do away with the fucking thing and all the hysteria that goes with it

      EDIT Oh fuck ….. I forgot. Corin Dann and a few other media whores would be out of a job (and I’m an advocate for full employment). I guess it can’t be done eh? There’d be a whole series of business channels and their expert commentators and gamblers that’d go under.

      • Molly 4.1.1

        Hi OWT,
        A while ago I tried googling: stock market corrupt, stock exchange gambling, etc to try and find some critique of the stock market.

        I did come across some alternatives, including crowdfunding, that were not yet viable or legal. Like you, I consider direct investment to be part of a solution.

        When I consider the investment of Kiwisaver, it goes through so many fund managers that I don’t know what this money is actually supporting or promoting. They could be spending it all on industries that don’t align with my values.

        And to be honest, the amount of financial products seems to ensure that people who like gambling with vast amounts of other people’s money are attracted to the game.

        I did read an interesting book a few years back called Locavesting. Apologies for the large blockquote, but they can explain it better than I can. From the inside flap:

        “Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, generating eighty percent of jobs and half of GDP. They also create the foundation for healthy, diverse neighborhoods and strong local economies.

        So why are we starving these vital enterprises?

        The truth is, our financial and political system is stacked against small business. The stock market has become a vast, electronic casino that has abandoned any pretense of allocating capital to productive use. And community banks—a mainstay of small business funding—are an endangered species in a Too Big to Fail world. Don’t look to the government for help, though: politicians at the federal, state, and local levels are often under the sway of deep-pocketed corporations. Meanwhile, Main Streets and downtowns everywhere are slowly dying.

        But don’t write them off just yet. In dozens of towns and cities across the country, an extraordinary experiment in citizen finance is underway. From Brooklyn, New York to Vernon County, Wisconsin to Port Townsend, Washington, residents are banding together to save their small businesses and Main Streets from extinction. And they are reaping rich rewards in the process. These citizens are at the vanguard of a grassroots revolution that journalist Amy Cortese calls “locavesting.”

        In Locavesting, you’ll meet these pioneers and explore the often ingenious ways—some new, some as old as capitalism itself—they’ve come up with to take back their financial destinies from Wall Street and the corporate fat cats while revitalizing the communities they call home. Among other examples, you’ll learn how:

        Nine cops in Clare, Michigan saved a 111-year-old bakery and helped revive their downtown

        As union protests engulfed the state capital, a new breed of cooperatives in rural Wisconsin pointed the way toward a more harmonious and prosperous way of doing business

        “Crowdfunding” startups such as ProFounder, Funding Circle, and Grow VC are harnessing the Internet and social media to connect entrepreneurs with hundreds of small investors

        A grassroots organization called Slow Money is mobilizing thousands of citizens to create new funding models for financing local food and agriculture

        Companies from Ben & Jerry’s to Annie’s Homegrown have sold shares directly to loyal customers, bypassing Wall Street middlemen

        And how communities as varied as Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the Hawaiian islands are working to bring back local stock exchanges

        Forget credit default swaps and derivatives. This is the kind of financial innovation we desperately need. A source of inspiration and ideas with practical how-to advice, Locavesting is must-reading for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and investors looking for solid, socially productive alternatives to the Wall Street casino—and anyone who cares about the future of democracy in America.”

        • ropata 4.1.1.1

          Thanks for this Molly, very interesting. Have you seen the work of Ellen Brown or Catherine Austin Fitts ? We don’t have to docilely follow the existing corrupt financial model.

          Reality, as it is presented to us, is NOT our only option. Imagination is that quality that does not simply accept reality as it as presented – it fills us with the power to create our world.

          How is imagination torn down? Through disappointment. Through the “practical” advice of those around us who are tied to conformity. It is also diminished through a loss of appetite for adventure. How can we possibly give power to our imaginations if we’ve lost our appetite for adventure?

          Why is it that people believe the odds they’re facing are insurmountable? Because they’ve devalued themselves. Consequently, we devalue our imaginations. Let’s get back to the best of who we are. [We need to take] a kind of quantum leap, a devil-may-care attitude. How important is imagination? Ask the experts:

          “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
          – Albert Einstein

          “The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
          – Muhammad Ali

          “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”
          – Carl Sagan

        • Once was Tim 4.1.1.2

          Thnx Molly. Let’s hope more people start to wake up.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        The SX is pretty much the speculators dream and a nightmare for the rest of us. As you say, there’s not even a pretense of it being about raising money for productive enterprise now as it’s nothing more than a means for people with high leverage to make high income from doing nothing.

        That fictionalisation does seem to be the inevitable effect of capitalism. It may start off as producing stuff but eventually doing so becomes too expensive and so it drops down to pure speculation and gambling by the rich and everyone else are the ones that pay for it.

      • Nic the NZer 4.1.3

        Can you elaborate on what about the stock market makes it the mechanism by which crony capitalism is allowed to flourish (because I don’t think this holds water).

        Its fully possible to enforce strong regulations regarding the treatment of the stock market and in fact its a comparatively open and transparent system, so if we are in a state of crony capitalism, its a reflection of the whole society and not a product of just one institution. An essentially fully private and system of funding companies is unlikely to be less corrupt. Eliminating the stock market does not eliminate the opportunities for speculative business, the only way to do that is to make this activity illegal.

        • Once was Tim 4.1.3.1

          How is (say, just as one example) algorithmic trading ‘open and transparent’?
          How are the various ‘inventions’ that the SX has provided the vehicle for ‘open and transparent (such as “futures”)?
          That’s just one issue – another is its affect on national soveriegnty with ‘trans’ trading across jurisdictions with different ambitions, priorities, systems of governance, cultures, etc.
          I think YOU should show ME the transparency

          Have some deep thought, the Pantene has obviously kicked in deeper than your hair roots.

          • Nic the NZer 4.1.3.1.1

            Algorithmic trading is more ‘open and transparent’ than any other trading on the share market. The trades are posted in public, just like non-algorithmic trades, and we have more of an idea of what algorithmic traders are doing than what a share trader is doing. If there is a problem with it, its not a problem with transparency.

            If there is a problem with it, its due to some market participants being able to gain an advantage due to being able to,
            a) afford the start-up cost of participating (which not every participant can).
            b) negotiate a setup which gives them an advantage (by negotiating faster transaction speeds).

            There is I think a reasonable case to put some limits on electronic trading say by limiting the trading rate allowed by the market (so every participant has a reasonable ability to participate) but in this case we are making a case that the share market should be more participatory, which is hardly a case for banning it. Banning it would only drive the same activities under the radar where most people don’t get to find out about them.

            On the other hand if your standards demand that you can find out about participants ambitions, priorities, systems of governance, cultures then no system can possibly ever be considered ‘open or transparent’ as most of this is entirely based on the participants private thoughts. At least with the share market we get to find out about what trades are actually made, at what price and may be able to guess what is motivating them (maybe not, its certainly complex). There is also a lot of public documentation around the share market. The legal standards for public company documentation are higher than the legal standards for non-public companies effectively everywhere in the world (which is not to say they could not be higher or better enforced).

  5. adam 5

    I’d be amazed if anyone here is still with the Aussie banks.

    If you are, you really need to ask yourself – why?

    It takes 15-30 minutes to change to a co-operative bank. it takes about the same time to join Kiwibank.

    It really does make you feel better, not sending your money overseas.

    You will feel good, when you are no longer a slave to an Aussie banks.

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 5.1

      Ok, so the options are to change away to:
      – Kiwibank
      – TSB Bank
      – SBS Bank

      Anything else?

    • Tracey 5.2

      actually, emailed and did the join think with the co-operative and never got a reply, nothing. nada. so not so simple.

      • adam 5.2.1

        I did say 15-30 minutes, an email really don’t cut it.

        You really need to go in. And it’s good to get a feel for the people who work in the co-operative system.

        Because some great, some – not so good.

    • b waghorn 5.3

      Have to agree I finally got off my Arse! And changed to kiwi bank it feels good. Just hope some bunch of pillaging polititians don’t sell it off.

    • infused 5.4

      Because the non-international banks are shit. Compare them on anything and you will see how useless they are.

        • infused 5.4.1.1

          I’m just going off what i’ve tried to do recently (last two years).

          Just going off my personal experience:

          Tried to get 1st mortgage:

          Kiwibank – No way
          TSB – Sure (bent over backwards). Deal was so good, didn’t bother with anywhere else.

          Moving Business Bank (currently anz)

          Kiwibank – couldn’t offer me anything
          ABS – couldn’t offer me anything
          BNZ – pretty good… still looking in to it
          TSB – could offer me a credit line at mortgage rates. Only issue is their website is from the 1990’s and xero can’t get bank feeds from them (seriously, what the fuck???)

          It’s limited experience, granted, but Kiwibank, who is lead to believe they can cure cancer (in regards to banking) were useless as hell.

          TSB has changed a bit this year though. Very hard on everything… not sure what’s changed, but they are nothing like they were when I first signed 4 or so years ago.

        • infused 5.4.1.2

          In regards to credit cards, I have an ANZ gold card, basically to play the bank at their own game. It actually just paid out on the 7th. $410 for spending $41,000 on it. Don’t mind showing you either http://i.imgur.com/I8Ndb3Y.png

          I pretty much put most of my cash on it and use it exclusively. I’ve never paid interest.

          http://www.anz.co.nz/personal/credit-cards/cashback-visa-mastercard/

          I understand few people can do this. But you might as well play them if you can.

  6. Ron 6

    One wonders why the PSIS which was a bank owned by the Public Service Unions gradually changed to the so called co-operative banks that it is now. I feel most uncomfortable with the bank and wonder if it is being deliberately moved into a direction where it could be taken over by one of the Australian banks.
    Similar to what happened with the ASB. There are still many today that think the ASB is the same bank that existed years ago

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 6.1

      Ditto.
      I have been thinking of moving my money away from them.
      Can someone shed some light on what’s happening regarding the Co-operative Bank?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1.1

        Simple answer PSIS wasnt a bank, it was a credit union

        Cooperative Bank is a bank.

        Being a bank ( its a protected word which only registered banks can use) means they can borrow money more cheaply.
        Banks make their money by borrowing short term, ( 30 days, 90 days, up to 2-3 years) and lending long term. This allows them to arbitrage the difference in interest costs

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          Banks make their money by borrowing short term, ( 30 days, 90 days, up to 2-3 years) and lending long term. This allows them to arbitrage the difference in interest costs

          Actually, what allows them to arbitrage the difference in interest costs is their ability to create money. If they didn’t have that ability their average return would be less than 1 due to risk.

  7. CentreOfLeft 7

    Mattresses!

  8. Richard McGrath 8

    Food for thought there. New Zealanders badly need some alternatives to the big banks, who I wager would all collapse if there was ever a run on them by depositors. Smaller, more local banks and peer to peer lending are ideas whose time has come. Several commentators have already forecast the death of banking as we know it within 5-10 years.

    I don’t believe the government should be involved in setting up banks, as these then become vulnerable to political manipulation.

    Personally I would want to know the bank I chose to do business with had sufficient reserves of assets (preferably gold or silver) to be able to pay out all depositors should they ever wish to withdraw their money.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Personally I would want to know the bank I chose to do business with had sufficient reserves of assets (preferably gold or silver) to be able to pay out all depositors should they ever wish to withdraw their money.

      😆

      If banks didn’t use the delusional fractional reserve banking system then the wouldn’t even have enough on hand to withdraw even enough to buy a pie. The fractional reserve banking system is the cause of our monetary issues as it means that the private banks create money with almost no restraints.

      I don’t believe the government should be involved in setting up banks, as these then become vulnerable to political manipulation.

      Actually, the only people who should be involved in creating banks are governments as they can be held to public account. The private sector can set up financial institutions where people lend and borrow money but don’t get to create it.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1.1

        None of that is true. Banks for the most part borrow almost all of their money from others in order to lend it to you.

        You are thinking of ‘credit’ which can be created by anybody. The sandwich shop which lets a few customers not pay until weekly payday, or the stock and station agent who allows the diary farmer to buy supplies till the milk solids payment comes in.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          None of that is true.

          The research contradicts you.

          You are thinking of ‘credit’ which can be created by anybody.

          Incorrect, I’m thinking of that which is used as money – loans.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1.1.1.1

            Which page does it talk about fractional lending ?
            Nowhere , as Ive allready looked

            THey use the word ‘money ‘ in a very broad sense and mostly as money supply

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh noes, they missed out a word, oh woe is me.

              Amazingly enough they also missed out the word delusional. Of course, they did include this bit right at the top:

              This article explains how the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial banks making loans.

              The excuse is fractional reserve.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1.1.2

          Figure for Kiwibank latest year. 2013

          Total assets : ie loans $13.2 billion

          Total liabilities ie money borrowed $ 12.1 billion
          Debt securities $1.5 billion

          Where is the fractional banking in that.

          http://www.kiwibank.co.nz/downloads/misc/general-disclosure-statement-june-13.pdf?1412737588.56

          page 11

          • Incognito 8.1.1.2.1

            Isn’t it just a myriad of IOUs and YOMs?

          • Mike S 8.1.1.2.2

            The balance sheet means nothing really.

            In regards to ‘loans’ from banks, when you lend someone your own money, your assets go down by the amount that the borrower’s assets go up. But when a bank ‘lends’ you money, its assets go up. Its liabilities also go up, since its deposits are counted as liabilities; but the money isn’t really there. It is simply a liability – something that is owed back to the depositor. The bank turns your promise to pay (signed loan document) into an asset and a liability at the same time, balancing its books without actually transferring any pre-existing money to you.

          • mikesh 8.1.1.2.3

            {Figure for Kiwibank latest year. 2013

            Total assets : ie loans $13.2 billion

            Total liabilities ie money borrowed $ 12.1 billion
            Debt securities $1.5 billion

            Where is the fractional banking in that.}

            “Money Borrowed” includes demand deposits (held in ordinary cheque accounts). To say that these are “monies borrowed” is a fiction. This is money which they are looking after on behalf of their customers, mainly to enable those customers to make payments by cheque, plastic card, etc. The banks have no moral right to lend this money to others as it continues to belong to the customers who deposited it. It probably shouldn’t appear on the credit side of the banks’ balance sheet; or, if it does it probably should be offset, on the debit side, by “moneys held in trust” or some such item.

            The Banks of course disagree with all this; but then they would, wouldn’t they.

            • Nic the NZer 8.1.1.2.3.1

              “The banks have no moral right to lend this money to others as it continues to belong to the customers who deposited it.”

              Since Roman times money deposited in a bank is actually property of the bank. Its called a Mutuum deposit, its essentially a debt of the bank, according to legal tradition going back an awful long time.

              http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/mutuum-versus-bailment-and-banking.html

              “It probably shouldn’t appear on the credit side of the banks’ balance sheet”

              and it doesn’t, deposits go on the liability side of the balance sheet where you would expect them to go. There is however an offsetting amount of assets on the banks balance sheets, to offset the deposit liabilities of the bank. Most of this would take the form of loan contracts (e.g mortgage contracts) which are of course counted as assets of the bank. Its an asset when somebody owes you money, and a liability when you owe somebody money.

              • mikesh

                We are not in rome so we don’t have to as the Romans do (or did).

                As a matter of standard bookkeeping practice liabilities are credits and assets are debits.

                • Nic the NZer

                  “We are not in rome so we don’t have to as the Romans do (or did).”

                  No, but this undermines your argument that banking is a fraud. Legally its not and never has been in any way as you describe.

                  “As a matter of standard bookkeeping practice liabilities are credits and assets are debits.”

                  No, in fact both asset and liability accounts can be both credited and debited. The fact that a banks liabilities increase (are credited) when they accept deposits, doesn’t make them any less of a liability, it just means that their liability increased.

                  • mikesh

                    [No, but this undermines your argument that banking is a fraud. Legally its not and never has been in any way as you describe. ]

                    I didn’t say that banking is “legally” a fraud. I said that it involved morally dubious practices.

                    [No, in fact both asset and liability accounts can be both credited and debited. The fact that a banks liabilities increase (are credited) when they accept deposits, doesn’t make them any less of a liability, it just means that their liability increased.]

                    Again you are misquoting me. I said that liabilities were credits and assets debits. The fact that asset and liability accounts are subject to both debiting and crediting is irrelevant.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      “Again you are misquoting me”

                      I quoted what you said word, for word.

                      Its more than clear that you are just attempting to confuse the discussion to get away from the complete and utter nonsense you wrote in the first place.

                    • mikesh

                      [Its more than clear that you are just attempting to confuse the discussion to get away from the complete and utter nonsense you wrote in the first place.]

                      Actually, my original contention was that monies held by a bank on demand deposit really belong to the depositors, though the the banks claim otherwise. Irrespective of whether this contention is true or false, it is certainly not nonsense.

                      It was you who confused the issue by talking about debits and credits in a manner which showed you had no knowledge of standard bookkeeping practice.

        • Nic the NZer 8.1.1.3

          You are correct banks can only create credit (bank credit) as can anybody, of course Draco is correct in that banks lend credit and this is counted as part (the majority) of the M3 money supply and is for all effective purposes money.

          Also when a bank creates this credit it does so by expanding both the assets (say with a mortgage document), and a liability (a bank deposit) at the same time. So the fact that the assets and liabilities match does not mean that the bank has borrowed all the money it loans out. Assets and liabilities match both before and after the bank has extended additional bank credit to a debtor.

          The fractional reserve part is in terms of liabilities (mostly deposits) compared to the high powered money which the bank uses to settle liabilities to other banks. Kiwibank does not have 12.1 billion in high powered money but only a fraction of it.

    • Tracey 8.2

      won’t collapse cos of the new mechanism in there that allows the RB to shut a bank down, and use up to 25% of holders funds to pay the creditors to keep the bank liquid.

  9. dave 9

    there is always bit coin and the block chain and bypass the banks altogether

    • infused 9.1

      Better off playing the share market.

    • infused 9.2

      Bit coins are the biggest scam known to man.

      So little is known of the developer. People own tens of thousands of them. It’s going to crash one day, and people are going to lose millions. Most unstable currency ever.

      I made a few k of them before they boomed in 2012. Wish I’d kept them, would be 100k richer instead of 2k lol.

      But yeah, fuck that. Everyone’s being taken for a ride, and they don’t even realize it.

      Businesses are only jumping on board because customers are asking for it. They will be burnt also.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1

        +1111

      • felix 9.2.2

        Yep totally agree. Plus there’s a weird religious zeal about the people I’ve met who use them. They seem to think they’re somehow superior to regular currency speculators.

        • weka 9.2.2.1

          That’s the one I find odd. People I know who are otherwise quite ethical people can’t see that they’re currency speculators.

        • infused 9.2.2.2

          +1 for the religious bit. Strange.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      Actually, the real problems in the economy have always come when the private sector creates the money. They’re pretty much all solved when the government is the only entity that can create money.

      So BitCoin and the rest aren’t a solution.

  10. ropata 10

    The real economy has been abused long enough by bank profligacy and greed, leading to booms and busts, and screwing over ordinary people.

    Iceland is seriously looking at removing the ability of commercial banks to create money, and making the issuance of debt a function of the central bank. Existing banks will serve as intermediaries and account managers but they won’t be able to get money for nothing any more.

    Positive Money is a New Zealand take on this concept.

  11. ropata 11

    A deeper problem than rampaging commercial banks is the political elites that enable this behaviour. And following Cyprus, they are blatantly joining in the kleptomania.

    Tony Abbott is going to start taxing Australian depositors pretty soon. Good times!

  12. Mike S 12

    I Posted this on some board somewhere (could’ve even been here somewhere) ages ago, it is relevant to the topic.

    The entire economic and monetary system needs to be consigned to the scrapheap. That obviously isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But there are things that can be done to start relieving the grip that the bankers and monetary system have us in. All of our money supply (97% of it) is created out of thin air as interest bearing debt by privately owned banks. This is a complete rort. Government should be in the business of creating money, not private, for profit corporations.

    We could start a trial in Auckland, with the council starting up an Auckland bank owned by Aucklanders.

    But not a bank in the usual context. This bank would exist to benefit the city and its residents and businesses rather than for short term monetary profit which is so attractive for politicians, hence the Kiwibank model which although it provides a monetary dividend for taxpayers, it could have been so much more. The Auckland bank would not be there to compete with the other banks, it would be there to blow them out of the water.

    The profit generated by the new Auckand Bank would be the long term economic benefits to the region of increased regional prosperity, increased business activity, less unemployment and so on. These long term benefits are of much higher monetary value in the end anyway than simple short term yearly dividends.

    Firstly, capital. No problems there, All council financial activity would be done through the Auckland bank. This means that there would be an immediate and stable captive deposit base of billions of dollars thanks to rates collected. With such an initial large and captive deposit base, the bank could then make use of the fractional reserve system to make any loans it wanted to.

    For example, the Auckland Council is looking at borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from offshore to pay for infrastructure projects. If concil wants to fund new required infrastructure they couldsimply borrow from the Auckland bank at zero interest. There would be a set fee, decided up front which would cover the banks costs, possibly allowance for inflation and nothing more. In other words a very low interest loan. Profit is not the banks priority so all that matters is that they cover their costs so that they are not costing ratepayers money. The infrastructure project goes ahead providing jobs and an asset for Auckland, that is the profit in this banking model.

    The long term ‘profit’ for Auckland comes in forms other than immediate cash from interest. It could come from things such as providing 0% interest home loan mortgages to first home buyers. Imagine a young couple who have low monthly mortgage repayments that are the same every month for the duration of the mortgage with no crippling interest attached. So if they buy a $500,000 house, then instead of some foreign bank getting over $500,000 in interest which goes offshore as profit, that’s $500,000 additional money over the loan period that will be spent mostly into the Auckland economy and the young couple have their first home as well. They might decide they can afford to start up a new business they always wanted to or invest in other aspects of Auckland and so on. It may be that a few of these loans are defaulted upon. No problem, Aucklanders still own the house and money paid back so far, so the house can simply be sold to the next young couple.

    Imagine you run a business and you want to expand and hire new staff but you can’t because you don’t want to take a loan out and end up paying so much interest back that it negates the value added by the expansion or you don’t quite have the confidence to take out such a large interest attracting loan. Well, no problem, the Auckland bank can provide 1% interest loans to Auckland businesses. If the company knows what the monthly repayments will be and that they won’t change for the duration of the loan and that the repayments will be low due to no interest they will be much more confident in their decision to expand and create new jobs for the Auckland region. The same if you have a good business idea or want to start up a new business in auckland. If you need a loan to get up and going and your business plan is sound and the business viable then no probs, have a low or no interest loan from the Auckland Bank.

    The benefits are enormous. Any loans (translate as any new money created) made by the bank actually benefit Auckland and Aucklanders in some way. Should the bank make a surplus accidentally then the money belongs to Auckland anyway. Because profit is not a concern, the bank doesn’t need to constantly be cost cutting and trying to get away with providing less service. The business loans enable the Auckland economy to grow and new jobs to be created and auckland businesses to prosper.

    It is time someone was bold enough to stand up and explain the complete rort that our banking system is. As a community and as Aucklanders we should be demmanding an explanation as to why banks exist for profit by making money from money (which they create out of thin air) for their wealthy foreign private shareholders rather than existing to serve us by facilitating the creation and management of our money supply. Banks should be publicly owned and non profit so that they benefit the people and businesses of Auckland.

    There will be so called ‘economics experts’ and of course bankers and banks who will tell you in very complex language why this can’t work and so on. Don’t listen to them, they are lying to you. Because it most certainly is that simple, it’s not complex or difficult. By having a bank that exists to benefit the Auckland region and it’s ratepayers rather than simply trying to generate monetary yearly profit, we will reap the huge long term rewards. Banks should exist solely to assist society by managing the money used to faciliate trade in goods and services. Banks should exist only to benefit society, not make money off it.

    There’s no need to borrow interest bearing money from offshore. The fractional reserve system is one of the ways we have been duped by banks. Well, let’s use it to our advantage. With billions in captive deposits by way of rates, the bank could make loans totalling ten times the amount collected in annual rates, at no interest and at benefit to Auckland and Aucklanders. Why do we let private corporations create our money supply and charge us interest for the privilege of using our own money. We have been conned!!

  13. Mike S 13

    And I think this is an excerpt from one of Ellen Brown’s books.

    The Australian Labor Party, while holding
    public ownership of infrastructure out as an ideal, has not had enough
    political power to put that ideal into practice, at least not lately. At
    the turn of the twentieth century, Australia did have a very successful
    publicly-owned bank, one of which Ben Franklin would have
    approved. Australia’s Commonwealth Bank was a “people’s bank”
    that not only issued paper money but made loans and collected interest
    on them. When private banks were demanding 6 percent interest,
    Commonwealth Bank financed the Australian government’s First
    World War effort at an interest rate of a fraction of 1 percent. The
    result was to save Australians some $12 million in bank charges. After
    the First World War, the bank’s governor used the bank’s credit power
    to save Australians from the depression conditions in other countries.
    It financed production and home-building, and lent funds to local
    governments for the construction of roads, tramways, harbors,
    gasworks, and electric power plants. The bank’s profits were paid to
    the national government and were available for the redemption of
    debt. This prosperity lasted until the bank fell to the twentieth century
    global drive for privatization. At the beginning of the twentieth
    century, Australia had a standard of living that was among the highest
    in the world; but after its bank was privatized, the country fell heavily
    into debt. By the end of the century, its standard of living had dropped
    to twenty-third.

    New Zealand in the 1930s and 1940s also had a government-owned
    central bank that successfully funded public projects, keeping the
    economy robust at a time when the rest of the world was languishing
    in depression. In the United States during the same period, Franklin
    Roosevelt reshaped the U.S. Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC)
    into a source of cheap and abundant credit for developing the national
    infrastructure and putting the country back to work. Besides the
    RFC and colonial land banks, other ventures in U.S. government
    banking have included Lincoln’s Greenback system, the U.S. Postal
    Savings System, Frannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Small Business
    Administration (SBA), which oversees loans to small businesses in an
    economic climate in which credit may be denied by private banks
    because there is not enough profit in the loans to warrant the risks.

  14. Mike S 14

    An interesting excerpt from a speech made by the Bank of England governor…

    ‘Capital must protect itself in every possible way, both by combination and legislation. Debts must be collected, mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When, through process of law, the common people lose their homes, they will become more docile and more easily governed through the strong arm of the government applied by a central power of wealth under leading financiers.

    These truths are well known among our principal men, who are now engaged in forming an imperialism to govern the world. By dividing the voter through the political party system, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting for questions of no importance. (change the flag anyone??!) It is thus, by discrete action, we can secure for ourselves that which has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.’

    – Montagu Norman, Governor of The Bank Of England, addressing the United States Bankers’ Association, New York, 1924.

  15. AsleepWhlieWalking 15

    Alternatives:
    – bitcoin
    – real money ie gold and silver
    Anything that will get you out of the banking system is preferable to staying in it.

  16. Phil 16

    I can see that there is a lot that these [telecommunications] companies have to invest in, a lot of infrastructure to be built. Banks? Not so much. What do they do for their huge (and mostly Australian) profits?

    The infrastructure required to ensure you and I can buy a cup of coffee with a piece of plastic in our wallet or pay the power bill online is MASSIVE. The vast majority of it is owned, managed, and run by the banks. It’s also one of the most reliable networks in the country.

    I’m willing to wager that you’ve lost internet access or power a lot more often in the last, say, decade than you have had a retailer tell you their eftpos system is on the fritz.

    Additionally, I think it’s still the case that ANZ has something like 40,000 employees across the country and is largest private sector employer (on an FTE basis) in New Zealand? That kind of operation doesn’t run without it’s own hefty infrastructure and framework.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      The infrastructure required to ensure you and I can buy a cup of coffee with a piece of plastic in our wallet or pay the power bill online is MASSIVE. The vast majority of it is owned, managed, and run by the banks. It’s also one of the most reliable networks in the country.

      LOL

      The ‘network’ is the one put in by the NZPO, Telecom and now Chorus and a couple of other small players. In other words, it’s the general telecommunications network.

      Now, they also have their own computers and they’ll be worth a lot but nowhere near the value of the network.

      I’m willing to wager that you’ve lost internet access or power a lot more often in the last, say, decade than you have had a retailer tell you their eftpos system is on the fritz.

      Nope. It’ll be almost exactly the same as it’s the same network.

      Additionally, I think it’s still the case that ANZ has something like 40,000 employees across the country and is largest private sector employer (on an FTE basis) in New Zealand?

      http://www.progressive.co.nz/

      Really, I think you should stop interviewing your navel.

      • Phil 16.1.1

        Really, I think you should stop interviewing your navel.

        Mr. Pot, meet Ms. Kettle…

        The number is 9,000 employees for ANZ, FYI. I was way off in absolutes, but still – it’s one of the largest employers in NZ and has a large infrastructure for managing those staff.

        The ‘network’ is the one put in by the NZPO, Telecom and now Chorus and a couple of other small players. In other words, it’s the general telecommunications network.

        As is usual with the internet – the truth lies somewhere between two disputing comments dashed off before a lunch break.

        If your focus is narrowly on the wire/fibre that connects an eftpos terminal to a wall, then yes, it is the telco ‘network’. But infrastructure used by the facilitators, agents, players and participants of the payments system is a truly astonishing piece of work – it definitely fits within the definition of infrastructure (which is what I was quoting up top). I

        t’s a multi-billion dollar operation that uses, broadly speaking, the same electricity and fibre-optic cable you and I do, but it’s still definitely infrastructure owned and operated by the banks, not the telco.

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