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Archive for the ‘bank runs’ Category

Here and here are links to two very interesting readings about bank runs occurring in Greece and Spain. Why is the bank “jog” happening? In a couple of sentences, concerns about the safety of deposits. If you have deposits in a Greek/Spanish bank and the bank goes under, will you get your money back? What about if the country leaves the Euro — will you be paid in Euros or in the new, less valuable currency? Given the fears that either might happen, depositors are taking their Euros out of these countries to the banks of other countries.

What I think this bank jog is forcing, is a quiet but massive increase in the financial commitments of the ECB (Germany) to Spain and Greece.  The ECB is being forced to either lend to these banks or let them collapse; if they collapse, then Germany must decide to either lend to these countries or let them collapse/leave the Euro.  The loans are supposedly collateralized.  But the sheer size of the bank jog and the problems in these counties suggests that the collateral probably contains lots of bad collateral, like debt of sovereigns of questionable solvency and packaged highly-rated debt that should never have been highly rates.  That is, while we can call the current support loans, I suspect that many of them will be transfers (big transfers) in the case that these countries/banks do not grow and solve their fiscal imbalances.  How does it end?  It has to end when the banks run out of collateral that even the ECB in its most desperate hour cannot in good conscience lend against, and the banks start to collapse.  But it may end sooner, when some politicians have the good sense to finally pull the plug and default and devalue.

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Freaksternalities, Episode 1

Continental suggests in lawsuit that some pilots got fake divorces to cash out of their pensions early. What does this teach us about “runs”?

According to a recent ABC News story, Continental Airlines is currently suing nine of its (now mostly former) pilots alleging that they faked divorces to fraudulently gain early access to pension benefits prior to retirement. In particular, by getting divorced, federal laws on defined benefit pensions plans (ERISA) allow spouses of the beneficiary to cash out a share of these benefits immediately. In the case of Continental, these early payoffs reached as high as $900K.

Kondo - Pension Runs, Divorce

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