September 20, 2013
Preface: Not all banks are criminal enterprises. The wrongdoing of a particular bank cannot be attributed to other banks without proof. But – as documented below – many of the biggest banks have engaged in unimaginably bad behavior.
You Won’t Believe What They’ve Done …
Here are just some of the improprieties by big banks over the last century (you’ll see that many shenanigans are continuing today):
The executives of the big banks invariably pretend that the hanky-panky was only committed by a couple of low-level rogue employees. But studies show that most of the fraud is committed by management.
Indeed, one of the world’s top fraud experts – professor of law and economics, and former senior S&L regulator Bill Black – says that most financial fraud is “control fraud”, where the people who own the banks are the ones who implement systemic fraud. See this, this and this.
Even the bank with the reputation as being the “best managed bank” in the U.S., JP Morgan, has engaged in massive fraud. For example, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report today quoting an examiner at the Office of Comptroller of the Currency – JPMorgan’s regulator – saying he felt the bank had “lied to” and “deceived” the agency over the question of whether the bank had mismarked its books to hide the extent of losses. And Joshua Rosner – noted bond analyst, and Managing Director at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher & Co – notes that JP Morgan had many similar anti money laundering laws violations as HSBC, failed to segregate accounts a la MF Global, and paid almost 12% of its 2009-12 net income on regulatory and legal settlements.
But at least the big banks do good things for society, like loaning money to Main Street, right?
Indeed, top experts say that fraud caused the Great Depression and the 2008 crisis, and that failing to rein in fraud is dooming our economy.
We can almost understand why Thomas Jefferson warned:
And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies ….
John Adams said:
Banks have done more injury to religion, morality, tranquillity, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they have done or ever will do good.
And Lord Acton argued:
The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.
No wonder a stunning list of prominent economists, financial experts and bankers say we need to break up the big banks.
This article was posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 4:57 am