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UK bank reforms are no reforms at all


Recent proposals from the UK Competition and Markets Authority bolster the position of the big banks, according to Alex Hawkes at This is Money: “Big banks have to set aside substantially less capital to issue mortgages. They pay rock bottom rates for funding because they are sitting on hundreds of …

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Osborne’s competence questioned as UK economy stalls

Osborne Rating

It was all meant to be so different.  Riding high after an unexpected election victory, and free from the moderating hand of his LibDem coalition partners, George Osborne was finally free to introduce full-blown Tory economic policies. It started to unravel almost immediately, of course.  The plan to cut the …

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Is energy about to topple the shadow banking sector?

Fracking Marcellus

The shadow banking sector is made up of companies that act as intermediaries in the credit market; arranging loans that regulated banks could not or would not want to make directly.  They are the same kind of companies that acted as intermediaries arranging all of those sub-prime mortgage loans that …

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UK banking reform hits the wrong target

Bank reform

Proposals from the Competition and Markets Authority to empower customers to switch banks are an inadequate response to the wrong problem according to Christine Berry at the New Economics Foundation: “They’re calling for customers to receive more information about their accounts and alerts when they’re nearly overdrawn, as well as …

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UK Government too fixated on Brexit


The UK government is losing sight of the economy, according to Szu Ping Chan and Lauren Davidson in the Telegraph: “The Government is ‘losing sight of the economy’ and using the EU referendum as an excuse for policy inaction, according to Europe’s biggest accountancy body.   In a letter to the …

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Blame it on Brexit!


Everything that happens between now and June 23rd will be blamed on Brexit.  In the unlikely event that Britain has to implement a hosepipe ban, it will because uncertainty about Brexit has caused rainclouds to hold back on precipitation until the outcome of the referendum is clear.  In the event …

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US economy stalls


In recent years, the US economy has been a beacon of economic growth set in a global sea of stagnation and depression.  But this may have come to an end according to Bob Bryan at Business Insider. Citing the latest Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS), Bryan notes: “Banks have …

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UK bank infrastructure on the verge of collapse

Computer code

More than any other industry, banking suffers from Kunsler’s psychology of previous investment.  Nowhere is this more true than in the UK banks. According to Kat Hall at The Register, British bank computer systems contain a third more “legacy code” than competitors overseas: “Another major banking outage similar to the …

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No Easy Answers

Sailing Ship

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness; the other to total extinction.  Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly – Woody Allen An excerpt from Tim Watkins’ book: The Consciousness of Sheep Here’s a predicament …

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British banks in worst state since 2008

City of London

Britain’s top banks are set for one of their worst first-quarter earnings seasons since the financial crisis, according to Lawrence White and Andrew Macaskill at Reuters: “Despite shoring up their capital bases and paying out strong dividends, the five biggest banks – HSBC (HSBA.L), Barclays (BARC.L), Standard Chartered (STAN.L), Lloyds …

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