The Banks Are Shooting Their Own Feet

By Farid A. Khavari, (PhD) Economist

When we visit a bank to open a checking or savings account, the bank employee will ask for information needed to open an account. Besides our names, driver license, social security numbers, and if it is a business account, they need corporate papers of the company along with the above information for opening a corporate account. This is understandable because banks must follow rules and regulations that are imposed on them by government or as part of their corporate policy. Let’s stop and look at this process and think, what in reality is happening?

When we go to a given bank that we have secured an account with, we deposit our paychecks or the money made from our companies into that bank. The bank takes our money, gives us a receipt for the deposit made. Banks as part of its policy imposes its terms on our bank accounts, such as a “minimum requirement,” say a minimum of $100, to be held in that account. If that minimum requirement falls below that $100, a penalty will be given in the form of fees. How many times do you think you would go to any other established business, such as a restaurant, or buy a car at a car dealership, or buy anything else, if these merchants would have treated you the way the banks do?! As much as a purchase of a hamburger from a restaurant, or a car from a dealer would enhance their revenue, the same does happen when we open an account at a bank, and deposit our money in their banking institution. Why don’t restaurants, car dealers, and other businesses do not have the same leverage as banks do? Why don’t corporations impose on us similar terms as banks do? Why do they not penalize us with fees? If corporations worked as banks did, wouldn’t we allow corporations to exploit us in the same manner?

Unfortunately, since most of the American people do not have enough savings to make big purchases, we as Americans have come to believe that banks lending us money can make these purchases possible, which is true to some extent. How do you think a car dealership would behave if you were to buy a car and were desperate to get the car? The price of that car, or any other car would go up, and the dealer would justify “squeezing” more money out of an individual by seeing that desperation. The banks do justify the same scenario in the above example, whether you want to believe it or not!

If the car dealer though, finds out that you are in no rush to get the car, not only the price would drop, but also the car salesman would be running after you.

The best example is when you go to borrow money. Those who have gone through the routine know very well what all it involves—financial statement, prove of income, and other cumbersome information. Now ask yourself this question, when we deposit our money with a banking institution, we are practically doing just the same—loaning them our money, even if it’s in form of deposit. Do we ask the banks about their financial statement, and prove of reserve stability, when we deposit our money with them?

Even worse, is when we get into some kind of default payments that are due to financial pressures, caused through loss of income, or unexpected expenditures? The banks often rush to foreclose on assets that we might have, and as bank policy report us to credit agencies. Although many other companies follow the same policy when a customer defaults on payment, why should a customer deal with a bank or any company which does not care to understand their customers’ financial hardship?

A good example would be the home foreclosure. Many banks threaten to foreclose homes if the buyer falls behind with the mortgage payment as we see currently with our economic problems. Whether it is morally right to do that is a secondary question, considering the way the bankers’ minds are set. What’s really perplexing is banks do not realize that by continuing to foreclose on homes they shoot themselves in their feet; and they start to put themselves out of business, gradually, but surely!

Assume banks keep foreclosing all the homes without any resistance by home-owners due to falling behind on payments. The burning question is what are the banks going to do with these foreclosed homes? Sell them on the market for an increasingly lower price, if they are that lucky to find a buyer who could meet the terms of a purchase, which would require a certain amount of cash these days! If the banks have tough luck, then they must pay for the maintenance costs and property taxes of those homes they foreclosed on! What have the banks gained? Nothing! The fact of the matter is that these banks have lost a lot of money! This leads us to another big question: when the banks know that they’ll never recover the original amount of the foreclosed homes, why wouldn’t they work out a deal with the current home-owners that may in the long run help both bank and home-owner, and in the bigger picture the United States economy in whole. This is a question that only people with bank-mentality would or could understand; it is beyond a comprehensive of a logically thinking person!

It maybe argued that once such a step is taken, it would set precedence and all other home-owners would want the same deal, or would default in order to get a similar deal! It is completely understandable, and there is some truth to it. However, if the foreclosure rates continues, more foreclosures will become prevalent across the country, people would lose their jobs in the construction industry as it kept faltering, and more jobs must be terminated that are effected, leading to a trickle down effect and ending up in more foreclosures. Consequently, it would lead to an unending virtuous cycle of destruction! Who would want to build a new home, when there are hundreds of foreclosed homes for half the price available everywhere?

Now, what happens if the people decide to treat the banks the same way as the banks do to them? They would go belly-up in heartbeat! Imagine tomorrow, not even every account holder at a given bank, but only a few thousands of them everyday would stand in line to close their accounts at that banking institution, let’s say Bank of America, Chase, or Wachovia? A rush to any bank would mean the end of that bank! As Americans, would we do that? Certainly, not because we are human and good people; we are not like banks!

On the other hand, no person needs to undertake such a drastic step, because the banks are – as mentioned earlier – their worst enemy and inflict the biggest harm to their own existence without any help from the outsider. How can a bank continue to exist if all they do is to destroy the creditworthiness of their own clients, and put them out of work and income, and then to expect to exist?! Do the banks not see the writing on the wall?

What the bankers have to understand is that hoarding money is worthless in the long-run if it’s not backed by a strong currency and a vibrant economy, unless they want to create a “banana republic” economy. One thing is certain—their actions would not create either one of these two conditions. Needless to say, if the banks survive under these conditions, they would be no more than a banana republic bank—worthless than any other banks of a Third-World nation, because they have at least to show still some valuable reserve currency. What would American Banks have as reserve currency if U.S. Dollar falters?!

This may lead us to all the conspiracy theories associated with the Bilderberg Group, CFR, Trilateral Commission, Bohemian Groove, illuminati, and all other groups. The big question remains, why these groups would want a prosperous nation like the United States and a world reserve currency such the U.S. Dollar falter, in order to create a world market for the big corporations? Do they want the Chinese Yuan or the Euro to become the reserve currencies of the world, replacing the U.S. Dollar? Don’t we have enough poverty and economic woe in the United States and as it is in the rest of the world that we are in process of creating more of it?

Farid A. Khavari is the author of nine books, dealing with issues of economics, environment, energy, oil, healthcare, currencies and cost.

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