We’ve already talked about what happened in Cyprus last April : the confiscation of bank accounts over 100,000 euros to shore up local failing banks. We also explained that it was but a rehearsal for future settlement of banking crises : directly looting depositors’ accounts. And, case in point, there is a project being put in place to formalise this procedure.
Let’s say it again : This is nothing but pure and simple theft, a frontal attack on property rights. Involving shareholders is one thing, and it’s normal. But if this is not enough, the banking laws have to be reviewed so that savings banks cannot also be business banks, so as to avoid deposits be put in jeopardy. But what is happening, really, is that banks are not kept from getting bigger and accumulating more risks (faith in Basel III rules is overblown) and, if there’s a problem, all they’ll have to do is rob the depositors! Will the account holders be notified? Certainly not, because this could cause a panic movement...
In the night of December 11-12, the 28 member States, the Commission and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the wording of these directives. They will be implemented on January 1st, 2016 : we have been warned.
Many could shrug this off because of the 100,000 euro floor, but this would be a tragic mistake. Effectively, in Cyprus, accounts holding less than 100,000 euros have been spared, but only because the European Union and the IMF brought in 10 billion euros in the bail-out plan. For countries like Spain, Italy or France, hundreds of billions would be needed to spare those accounts. Who could bring in such an amount? Moreover, the directives forbid this type of outside help (bail-out), as a matter of fact, to force countries to solve the crisis hitting them by themselves (bail-in). I would bet that ALL accounts would be looted.
Obviously, with these guidelines coming into effect, all of those with accounts over 100,000 euros, up to a million euros, let’s say, will just open several accounts in order to remain below this amount. Multi-millionaires, on the other hand, will either leave the country or transfer their wealth in some financial montages to protect it. Only businesses will be left... But looting part or the whole of businesses’ accounts, their treasury, so to speak, only leads to making it impossible for them to pay their employees for the coming months and to have them face hardships or even bankruptcy, and thusly provoke a major economic crisis.
This 100,000 euro figure is just a smokescreen destined to reassure 95% of the population (the voters!), but it obviously won’t hold in case of a banking crisis. These directives are just another reason to seek shelter from the banking system.
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Philippe Herlin Finance Researcher / Member of the Goldbroker.com Editorial Team
Philippe Herlin is a researcher in finance and a doctor in economics of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. A proponent of extreme-risk thinkers like Benoît Mandelbrot and Nassim Taleb, and of the Austrian School of Economics, he will be bringing his own views on the actual crisis, the Eurozone, the public debts and the banking system. Having written a book on gold that has become a reference (L’or, un placement d’avenir, Eyrolles 2012), he wishes to see gold play a growing role in our economies, all the way to its full re-monetization.