They got bailed out and we got sold out

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, September 15th, 2018 - 56 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, Economy, uk politics - Tags:

This column from Ros Wynne Jones in the Daily Mirror deserves linking to and repeating.  It is that damn good.  It is about the response in the UK to the global financial crisis and details how they missed a chance to put through proper reform of the banking system.

Her level of contempt clearly maxed out when she wrote this.  I can imagine her fingers pounding angrily and quickly on the keyboards of her laptop as she sought to capture the intense feelings the subject of her article generated.

She said this:

Ten years after the banking crisis and these people show no remorse – the Lehman’s cocktail party-goers, the Bob Diamonds and the Fred the Shreds.

Today, Diamond – the former Barclays boss and banking’s chief buccaneer until the banks blew up like a game of Buckaroo – marked the anniversary by feeling sorry for himself.

“The culture of banking now,” sighed the man forced to resign at the height of the Libor-rigging scandal in 2012, “is that if anyone makes a mistake they get fined.”

The collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, unleashed the worst global downturn since the Great Depression. But apparently banks have done enough penance.

Diamond says it’s time to let “banks be banks” again.

Can you imagine the level of venom dripping from her as she typed and processed that thought?

She then said:

His words should still stick in the throat of almost every single person in the country – 99.9% of us – who have lost out because of bankers being bankers.

Then came the kicker.  The reality of what has changed since the GFC for the banks and for the rest of us.

This week, the campaign 10 Years On introduced website whatamiowed.org, which tells you exactly how much you personally lost in the financial crisis.

The campaign points out that since 2010, the Government has slashed almost £50billion from public services – and over £30bn more from social welfare.

It adds: “By comparison, the Big Four UK banks have paid out over £50bn in bonuses.”

The website whatamiowed.org has a very basic back engine that attempts to estimate what UK citizens have lost because of the need to bail out the banking system.  The backers of the site, 10 years on, are “working with a network of organisations to Change Finance: demanding a sustainable financial system where the banking sector first and foremost serves the best interests of people and the planet.”

It makes you wonder what the result would be in Aotearoa New Zealand if a similar calculation was made.  Our results were different, a number of third tier lenders went broke and took out millions of dollars from mainly retirees’ asset bases.  There was however the South Canterbury Finance payout where for reasons I still do not understand SCF was kept in the Bank Guarantee scheme, played fast and loose with loans and then was bailed out by the Government having to reward some pretty dodgy behaviour.

And there was the sell off of the power companies shares.  Last time I checked we had lost nearly as much as we had gained and the income was not coming our way any time soon.  Presumably by now we are in the red.

Fundamental reform of the world’s banking system is overdue.  But it seems clear that we have missed out on the chance to do so.

56 comments on “They got bailed out and we got sold out”

  1. alwyn 1

    “where for reasons I still do not understand”
    I suggest you should start your enquiry by asking Michael Cullen why he really thought he had to include SCF in the scheme.
    He must have had a bit better reason than he admits in this story.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12124686
    The problem with SCF was putting them into the scheme in the first place. Once they were in there was no way to exclude them at a later date without causing their collapse.
    Why did Cullen allow them in at the start?

    • dV 1.1

      May be so Alwyn, BUT who allowed the extension of the scheme to SCF in 2010/11?

      Lets see Cullen, NO
      Ha Key and English!!

    • RedLogix 1.2

      I recall an interview with Kim Hill at the time; Cullen was very aware of the potential problems and was quite reluctant to extend the scheme too widely.

      I think he believed that including the these tertiary lenders was the lessor of the evils. Especially given all the media drama at the time.

      • Ad 1.2.1

        Exactly.
        Saving any financial institution generated moral hazard.
        SCF was that hazard.

        NZ Governments of both stripes have bailed out far bigger institutions in the past.

        • Muttonbird 1.2.1.1

          Bigger than $1Billion to a bunch of farmers? To an institution which in no way was crucial to the overall economy? Nor an international flagship with a reputation to defend.

          The leeches who got the taxpayer funds from low income families on the breadline then used the the proceeds for dairy intensification and a poisoning of the environment.

          Apart from Erebus, Cave Creek, and Pike River, that payout by Bingles was the darkest day in NZ’s history.

          Yet you two shrug.

          • Ad 1.2.1.1.1

            The taxpayer has bailed out the BNZ, Air New Zealand, Kiwibank through recapitalisation, developers of leaky homes, bunches of polytechs, and bunches of other entities in its history.

            In this case, it also saved Timaru and much of Canterbury from going down. You can compare that to the Wahine or the Tangiwai if you like.

            There’s always line calls in public subsidy that people have 20-20 hindsight over. SCF was one of them.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      I suggest you should start your enquiry by asking Michael Cullen why he really thought he had to include SCF in the scheme.

      No, we have to ask Bill English and National. They’re the ones that kept SCF in the scheme despite knowing that they’d broken all the rules.

      Once they were in there was no way to exclude them at a later date without causing their collapse.

      Yes there was. They broke the rules of the scheme at which point they should have been removed. Treasury even advised it. Them collapsing isn’t anybody else’s problem.

    • KJT 1.4

      It wasn’t Cullen. It was National.

      Funny some insiders were telling me “Invest in SCF, you can’t lose”.

      Some people should have gone to jail over SCF, not Hubbard either.
      “Pump and dump” and insider trading with a government guaranteed profit.

      But. “New Zealand is not corrupt”.

    • mickysavage 1.5

      There were plenty of occasions where SCF should have been excluded from the scheme. Read any of a multitude of posts on this website for the how and why.

      Like this one:

      Key SCF excuses fall flat

      • alwyn 1.5.1

        The moment that the Government announced that SCF would NOT have remained in the scheme was the day it would have collapsed as everyone tried to withdraw their money.
        Keeping them in the scheme was, perhaps wishfully, trying to keep them solvent until they could get back on a level keel. Didn’t work and the prospect was rendered impossible by the founder’s business practices.

        Of course a lot of people took advantage of it. People do that sort of thing. Have you never been asked by a client about the ways of minimising their income tax?
        Look at all the MPs who belong to KiwiSaver schemes. When it started Cullen was at pains to try and argue that it wasn’t meant for people at their income levels. None of them took any notice except Joyce who never took advantage of the MP subsidy on Super. The only one I am aware of. It helped that he was pretty rich. The only problem the others are going to have is if they remain locked into the schemes when Robertson, as he is hinting of doing, starts specifying where they should be forced to invest.

        • KJT 1.5.1.1

          “Of course a lot of people took advantage of it. People do that sort of thing. Have you”..
          No. I refused as it was blatantly unethical. In many countries it is called “insider trading” and it is illegal.

          • alwyn 1.5.1.1.1

            There was no element of insider trading about it.
            The details of the scheme were widely published and there was nothing “secret” about it.
            Insider trading is only ever illegal if it is available to and known about by, a small group of people who are able to get this information only from someone who actually has access to what must be only available to “insiders”.
            The relevance of that scheme to SCF was widely known from the moment that they announced the companies on the list.

            I invested in KiwisSaver when it started even though I was retired, over 60 and was merely switching money from other investments. I had a friend who said she wasn’t going to go into the scheme because she thought it would be “unethical” and that it wasn’t meant for people like her.
            I told her that I thought the scheme itself was stupid and was merely an election bribe. It would have, as I would say has been proved, that it would have no genuine effect on the savings rates in New Zealand. Nevertheless it would be abject stupidity on her part not to join. Luckily for her, her Accountant agreed with my opinion and she did join. If someone is offering you money for jam then, in the absence of a David Clark desired “sugar tax” you are stupid not to indulge.

            • KJT 1.5.1.1.1.1

              Struck a nerve, did I.

              Nothing unethical about SCF being pumped up with insider investors, knowing that it was going to be bailed out including interest, long before any of the public knew?

              Yeah right!

              • In Vino

                I think alwyn is losing this one, and will therefore retreat to another thread.
                But I may be wrong..

                • alwyn

                  I think you are too stupid to actually be able to contribute to, or even understand this thread at all, but hey, half the population, like you, have below average IQ levels.

                  For KJT.
                  The public knew, at the time the guarantee list was published, and which included SCF that it would have its borrowing guaranteed, and that people who had loaned it money would be reimbursed.
                  The public, if they understood and read what the guarantee was, would have known just as much as the people who lent them money knew.
                  What part of the word guarantee don’t you understand?

                  Would I have included them in the original list? NO.
                  Once they were in would I have paid out on the guarantee? YES.
                  Anything else and the word of any New Zealand Government would be worthless.

                  • KJT

                    Is failure to read and comprehend a normal right wing trait?

                    Explains a lot.

                    • In Vino

                      alwyn is always punctilious about details that suit him, but does not appear to know when he is on a losing wicket. Well done KJT

                  • the other pat

                    I think you are too stupid to actually be able to contribute to, or even understand this thread at all, but hey, half the population, like you, have below average IQ levels…..wtf?……careful taking that step off your high horse…..seems a common trait with some of you here…..some DO NOT understand things straight away…..an old saying is that if your communication is is not understood then its you that have not communicated effectively.

            • Nic the NZer 1.5.1.1.1.2

              Kiwisaver can’t have any effect on NZ’s savings rate. That falls into the realms of the impossible thing (which didn’t happen).

              • alwyn

                KiwiSaver didn’t increase New Zealand Savings rate.
                True but that wasn’t how Sir Michael Cullen sold the proposal.

                • KJT

                  As usual a right winger takes a statistic which on the face of it seems correct, but if you drill down, you find they are basically, lying.

                  NZ savings rates were dropping, as people with no money tend not to save.

                  True, savings rates havn’t changed much since Kiwi saver stsrted. Saying Kiwi saver made no difference, which is what Alwyn is trying to say, is not accurate. Savings rate of decrease did change.

                  Much as I am against the privatisation of State super which is the real aim of Kiwisaver. Finance don’t get to cream off the top, of PAYGO, State provision.

                • Nic the NZer

                  Its not a matter of didn’t, its a matter of can’t.

                  If you net save your income then your expenditure falls by you additional saving. This then means someone else’s income falls by the amount you save. This chain of saving continues until somebody responds by reducing their saving, so in aggregate no net saving occurs.

                  The implications of this are as follows,
                  Including the public and private sectors together an increase in NZ’s savings rate is the same as an increase in the current account balance, and in reverse.
                  Looking at just the NZ private sector (because this is the sector which can go broke) the net savings rate is determined mostly by the inverse of the public net savings rate (plus current account as above). So while the government is running a surplus it is draining the potential for the private sector to net save, and in reverse for a deficit.

  2. roy cartland 2

    Here’s the link again (I got a 404):

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/banking-crisis-ten-years-on-13239615

    [Thanks now fixed – MS]

    • Dennis Frank 2.1

      “10 Years On, a social justice collaboration involving Positive Money, Unite the Union, the Robin Hood Tax campaign, Stamp Out Poverty, Christian Aid, War on Want, Jubilee Debt campaign and others, are calling for an increased stamp duty on shares – and an end to “too big to fail” banking. It calls for a transition plan for the end of fossil fuels, break-up of the mega-banks starting with RBS, and measures to tackle household debt and branch closures.”

      Good so see that. Reminds us that the left, once upon a time, organised themselves into politically-effective networks, and changed the world for the better. I appreciate that this example in the UK signals that the time for being impotent complainers is over, and armchair critics ought to get involved in support.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    MS: “Fundamental reform of the world’s banking system is overdue. But it seems clear that we have missed out on the chance to do so.”

    We actually never had the option you thought we had. Reform of the system is an option only available to those who own and operate it. Everyone else has this much leverage: zero. Since a decade has passed since QE saved the system, and since the consensus that it remains an effective stratefy is only slowly dissipating, it will take another gfc to trigger reform. We’re waiting for that.

  4. joe90 4

    Your Mirror link is jiggered.

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/banking-crisis-ten-years-on-13239615

    [Thanks had a stray apostrophe at the end. Now fixed – MS]

  5. Bill 5

    Yeah Micky, liberal politicians played ball and threw us all under the bus to keep the banking system going – and then made it bigger than it ever was.

    Who gutted banking regulations again? Oh, that’s right, was a bi-partisan project…whether we’re talking the US, here or the UK.

    You want the banking system brought back into line? You want the interests of society put before bank interests? Better vote for a party with social democratic leanings then.

    Just one small problem on that front as far as New Zealand is concerned – NZ Labour, National and the Greens are wedded to liberal economic orthodoxy. The frightening bit is, they didn’t need to be “bought” as per the charge so often made in relation to the US. They go along on as willing dumb fucks. It’s called “ideological capture”, and unlike the UK or the US, the political party that might lead a government that espoused social democratic policies is in total fucking lock down and not going to be shifting its ground anytime soon, if at all

    Here’s Dylan Ratigan from 2011. The basic thrust of his message translates to NZ politics, NZ politicians, their shared economic ideology and the shite state of affairs we’re in.

  6. Tuppence Shrewsbury 6

    The real villains are the governments who believed any bank was “too big to fail” and therefore needed welfare.

    If banking isn’t the most stunning indictment of the notion of welfare in its modern form, I don’t know what will convince people it doesn’t help, nurture or change behaviour.

    They should have all collapsed, we would have had a once in 90 years type depression then all would have been ok for 40-50 years, until the cycle started properly again. Not this 10 yearly pump and dump short term economy led by public service spending.

    • BM 6.1

      The real villains are the politicians that were “convinced” any bank was “too big to fail” and therefore needed welfare.

      • corodale 6.1.1

        Should politicians take that as a death threat?

        • BM 6.1.1.1

          I wouldn’t say death threat, but politicians have a far too much leeway and really need to be reign in.

          Example, 3 billion dollars for Peters to buy a seat for NZ First, it’s fucking criminal.

          • corodale 6.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, you single out the only MP I know of who has publicly talked of Social Credit (Peoples Public Credit he calls it). With his political experience, he is like a Death Knight. Worms like you will gain no substance on his flesh. In the financial crash, he will rise and become legendary.

      • Nic the NZer 6.1.2

        Even if some financial institution was too big to allow it to fail politicians could still have taken the trouble to sack, replace and prosecute those responsible. That was always the real political malfeasance here.

      • KJT 6.1.3

        The real villains were the capitalists who bought the media and politicians. fixed it for you.

    • KJT 6.2

      Capitalism needed to be bailed out by “socialism” again!

      Ironic.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 6.2.1

        Bullshit. Capitalism would have been stronger without the socialist interference. Capitalism survives.

        Politicians saw a chance to exert more political control over the economy for “societies” benefit. So socialism. And look where we are now.

        Don’t get too misty eyed about socialism. You’re too old to see how it will ruin the next generation

        • KJT 6.2.1.1

          I can see why you have a problem with socialism. Your education by the “socialist State obviously failed you. Or were you one of those hopeless cases who know better than your Teachers?

          If you are so keen on capitalism go live in a pure capitalist State. Someone with your level of comprehension, would be living in a cardboard box on the street. Haiti, Honduras, Somalia, Russia, Appalachia, spring to mind.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 6.2.1.1.1

            The old “give thanks to your socialist education system”

            The one that’s failing the poor kids miserably no matter how much money is chucked at it.

            The one the capitalist kids do better at striving for their own success.

            I give thanks I only came out a little bit behind the private school kids because of my own ambition.

            • KJT 6.2.1.1.1.1

              I thought you were on the benefit. self hating wannabees seem to be the most rabid right wingers.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                How quickly the defenders of socialism cave and start attacking the messenger!

                • KJT

                  Because you don’t have any sensible arguments to counter. just mindless slogans.

                  • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                    what mindless slogans? Those statements were assertions of fact. The education system is failing poor kids. Ambitious, self motivated achievers are doing very well despite the socialists nature of our public education system and it’s main practitioners, teachers and principles.

            • KJT 6.2.1.1.1.2

              Half starved, cold and stressed children don’t do well, no matter how good the education system.

              doing noticeably worse, since right wingers fucked with our education system, of course.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                Doing worse ever since the teachers cared more about there union protecting their patch than the education of the children.

        • the other pat 6.2.1.2

          capitalism survives because we SOCIALISED all its fucking debts!!

  7. corodale 7

    If the banks need money, why doesn’t the Govt fund the banks by buying a share of the banks?

    Would truly be that easy, except the rating agencies and international banks would slash the value of our dollar and buy all our assets at a bargain prices.

    The banking cartel is truly insolvent. QE is pure corruption at the highest level. By law, yes law, a share of the banking cabal must be nationalised. Those responsible for QE belong in jail.

    • Ad 7.1

      Our government does not need to buy a share in Australian-dominated banks.

      We have Kiwibank. Founded and formed by the revious Labour government.

      When it needed recapitalising, ACC and NZSuper bought a major shareholding.

      If you want to break the cartel of Australian banks, shift your banking to Kiwibank.

      • mike 7.1.1

        there would be a bank run if deposit holders pull there money from these banks
        while i totally agree with you having pulled all my money from the anz i think its impossible on a mass scale because the authorities will close the bank doors. its a case of do it as an individual and well ahead of the train wreak.

        • Ad 7.1.1.1

          I’ll take it as a sign of actual confidence in the strength of Kiwibank when the government shifts its own banking overt its own bank.

          Meanwhile, their market share is small but growing, which is good enough for me.

    • KJT 7.2

      Just need to run state bank, like north Dakota.

      Small local competing private banks and co ops, under state bank are fine

      • mike 7.2.1

        credit unions are local and provide low cost basic banking there not flash and not having branches everywhere doesn’t matter with apps and online banking

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