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Friendly Banks

I went to Chase Bank yesterday and deposited $10.00 in cash. The bank teller asked for my identification. Why? Because all cash despots at Chase banks now require an ID.

Bank RobberyThis should concern you because it’s evidence of the government’s anxiety. Chase Bank is not asking of their own accord, they are being told by the Feds to demand this information. The government is beginning to track how cash is circulating in the economy.

Recently, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert (R), was recently indicted for paying hush money to an “unnamed individual.” Hastert was caught because of the frequency and amounts of  cash withdrawals he was making. Let’s remove the politics from the story and focus on the salient point. His bank contacted the federal authorities over the cash withdrawals. There is no crime for taking your money out of your bank; yet his bank contacted the Federal authorities initiating an investigation.

I use to travel frequently overseas and I always had to notify my bank, in advance, so that my ATM card would work overseas. But these simple policies (ID cards, permission) implemented by the banks are also psychological triggers to control and monitor the populace. I had to ask the bank to give me permission to take out my cash.  The American public has been complacent in letting the banks dictate how and when we can use our cash to the extent that we have forgotten it’s our cash!

If you look at the glowing reports by the media and the government, you would think that the economy is doing great. Interest rates are low, unemployment is down, the stock markets are higher and housing is in the uptick. Yet, if everything was doing so great why would the government care what you were doing with your money?  Why would they track cash deposits and, for that matters, cash withdrawals?

When a government over regulates and over taxes, as ours does, citizens will inevitably resort to barter and cash to escape the heavy hand of government. When banks start tracking when you deposit or withdraw cash, you know something is amiss. The government knows that when things are over regulated, people will resort to cash to avoid paying taxes. In addition, when an economy is weak, the government knows it is imperative that people keep their money in the system, lest a bank run begin.

This is why they are monitoring all cash transactions.

In fact, the government is manipulating the economic numbers to present a picture of robustness. If  the economy was doing so well, Donald Trump would not be leading in the polls! His platform of getting America’s business back on track, and workers back to work, has catapulted him into the lead because the American public knows the economy is not doing well.

If you look at TV or magazine ads, the banks try to portray themselves as friendly and willing to help you. America’s biggest banks spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create a pristine image. They’re here to help out families and small businesses. They’re conservative stewards of your capital and they play by the rules. In reality, they are not your friends. In reality, they are in cahoots with the government to watch and track you.

These banks are not friendly institutions. Many have engaged in criminal activities. Yet they treat their retail clients as potential criminals and alert the Feds whenever they think you might be doing something suspicious.

Here is a small sample of some of the crimes that the banks have committed:

  • Wells Fargo, which owns Wachovia bank, paid a $160 million fine for conspiring with cocaine cartels to finance their operations.
  • Citibank was caught laundering money for a Mexican drug Kingpin in 2001.
  • American Express Bank admitted to laundering $55 million in drug money in 2007.

However,  these crimes are small change compared to the massive crimes they have committed in the financial markets. These crimes are so massive they affect us all by defrauding  customers and rigging financial markets.

For example:

  • In 2011, Bank of America paid a $335 million fine for discriminating against minority borrowers.
  • In 2013, J.P. Morgan paid $410 million for manipulating the electricity market. They also paid $13 billion to settle claims that it knowingly sold toxic loans.
  • In 2014, Bank of America paid a $6.3 billion fine for selling faulty mortgages.
  • And in 2015, five big banks paid $5.8 billion for rigging the currency markets.

These banks have no problem breaking the law when it benefits them. Yet, when their customers deposit or withdraw cash they are the first to alert the authorities over your “suspicious” behavior. We are living in a world where the fox is guarding the hen house. The banks have been caught time after time taking advantage of their customers… while helping criminals skirt the law. The result? Their only penalty has been to pay small fines. They see that merely as the cost of doing business.  After all, they make far more money from illegal activities than they pay in fines.

With the nation’s largest banks operating this way, how much faith do you have that our banks will be able to withstand the next financial crisis when it comes?

I’m just sayin’…

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

Thanks to Bill Bonner and his team which inspired this article

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