Bankers, Wankers, Much the Same

2012-06-29 12:55

Just who are these “bankers”, spelt with a “W”?

Just a couple of days ago Absa (South Africa) issued a profit warning and here in the UK Barclays, owners of about 55% of Absa issued a press release in the form of a mumbled “don’t worry, be happy” type of thing.

Today, Barclays has been caught not only with its trousers down but in what looks to develop into a gigantic fraud which has taken millions of clients to the cleaners by manipulating not only the financial markets but the London Interbank Interest Rate (Libor) the rate that banks pay on money borrowed from one another. Worse, early indications are that other major banks might be involved in this scam because about 15 of them subscribe to Libor. If, as has been announced by financial regulators Barclays has been at this since 2005 and their senior people have repeatedly made false reports in order to push Libor rate higher or lower to suit their own profit margins then some, no, all, of the people involved should not just be reprimanded or fined, they should be jailed.

The red faces at the Barclays City of London headquarters are lighting up the Olympic stadium and Bob Diamond, their CEO has announced that he will no longer be taking his multi-million-pound bonus.

Well, bully for him.

Bankers give us the hump

For too long the banks here have been getting away with murder and have been displaying an incredible arrogance when it comes to their clients and their financial matters. They’ve been paying out hundreds of millions in “performance” bonuses to their top staff irrespective of the fact that the likes of Lloyds TSB and Barclays. Royal Bank of Scotlandand and others are now technically owned by taxpayers who, through government bailouts, paid a fortune into the banks’ coffers to keep them afloat.

Excuse the language, but to keep them out of the shit.

For years they got away with insisting on Payment Protection Insurance schemes which arbitrarily, like it or not, increased the amount of money their customers had to pay back on their loans, mortgages and other financial transactions. When they were caught out, as they always are, they, at government’s insistence, bleated some kind of an apology and started paying back money owed to their account holders. This in turn created a new industry where shyster companies advertised their services (for a hefty fee) where they would get your money back for you. This of course was not needed as claiming back PPI from the banks couldn’t have been easier. It was something you could do by yourself in less than a 15-minute visit to the bank.

In any other industry stealing money from customers, for that’s what it was, was a prosecutable offence. But the banks? No way – they are sacred and not to be upset by mere ignorant clients who know no better.

Back to Barclays now. What they’ve done is manipulate interest rates to the advantage of their preferred top-rate clients thus placing extra financial stress on their ground level customers, the suckers who took out mortgages and loans and who, trusting, believed Barclays would be honest in their dealings.

Barclays has been fined a paltry £290-million for their “indiscretions” which they admit. Of course they are only admitting it now because they’ve been caught. I guarantee this whole scam would still be running if they hadn’t been.

We’re talking here of millions, if not trillions of pounds-worth of fraudulent transactions worldwide which have been exposed and be sure that a lot more is to come.

Now then, I’m far from being a financial expert and many of these shenanigans are beyond my comprehension. But, like most of us I recognize a scam and a rip-off when I see one. Which leads me to wonder how the so-called experts of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, that upright body which keeps an eye out for this sort of thing, managed to miss something this big. And miss it they did.

It is now time for governments everywhere to take a good look at the world’s banking system and understand that for far too long we have been led by the nose into financial chaos by greedy, unscrupulous bankers who care not a damn for anyone but themselves and their bonuses.

Nationalise the banks (there, I’ve said it), get rid of the deadwood, the corrupt, the greedy and the downright criminal and start again. If it means bringing the useless Eurozone to its senses, or its knees, so be it. But for God’s sake do something before we all end up on our knees.

It’s time to take the banks to task, regulate them into submission and recognise them for the greedy couldn’t-care-less-about-the-small people institutions they are.

Consider hiding your money under your mattress until they come begging.

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