Busted: Bankers and The Global Economy

July 3, 2009

U.S. Banks, Economy Continue Up in Smoke

Filed under: banking, economy, money — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 10:28 am

economic fire sale

economic fire sale

Even though this website hasn’t been dwelling on bank closures lately, the number of bank closures is definitely on the increase. In anticipation of the holiday weekend, seven U.S. banks have been closed, bringing the total of banks closed this year to 52.

What has made the closures this week unique is that many of the banks have been financially interlinked, which has exposed them to closure because of CDOs and loan losses. Local banks, not too large to fail, have been hit especially hard during the economic crisis, as a drop in home values has devalued mortgage-backed assets. The rising unemployment numbers have also impacted the banks, as more consumers are defaulting on their loans.

What really highlights the current economic crisis to me was a visit to a large retailer yesterday. I spent an hour in the store and as I shopped, I heard all manner of phone conversations and scuttlebutt between employees about the economy, economic failure, job losses and financial family crises. This snapshot in time on a Thursday afternoon would seem to indicate that the nation is enduring some uncommon suffering as you read this commentary. While I was shopping, I wasn’t looking for what I discovered. The conversations, many of them quite loud, were impossible to ignore. ~ E. Manning

August 14, 2008

American Households Face Financial Headwinds

Americans survived the attack of Hurricane Katrina and much of the nation felt the effects for years. What Americans are going now is not a hurricane or strong storm winds, but headwinds of a financial nature brought about by a number of converging factors. If you pick up the paper or look at the internet, you can hardly avoid the headlines and the details of economic carnage.

financing prosperity
financing prosperity

Aside from the banking and mortgage crisis, automakers are on top of the economic worry list, facing a continual onslaught of sliding auto sales as Americans can no longer afford to finance overpriced vehicles. Instead, many Americans out of necessity are keeping what they already drive. That is life in America today in the current economic cycle of life.

Gasoline prices have brought about hardship and fueled inflationary pressures for the nation and the world. Complaining sources indicate that retail sales have fallen again after downward pressure from lack of taxpayer stimulus payments. All of that bad news is presented with the auto industry, which is pulling down retail sales figures. Indications were that stimulus payments received by Americans did what they were designed to do, but never enough for the longing imaginations of business. Were it not for autos, retail sales would be up .4 percent, comparable to the month before. The nation has seen gains in retail since February for small ticket items, a bright spot despite the bleak outlook. The majority of Americans are buying smaller purchases for disposable items. Devalued money only goes so far and consumers are stretching it to the max.

retailer desperation
retailer desperation

Retailers are once again grousing about less than perfect sales as back-to-school shopping hits the retail scales. This reality reflects the desperate nature of retailers. Business inventories are overstocked, even despite negative forecasts, business chose to invest in stock for sales in the hope for a better holiday. They choose to talk about the cautious consumer, further enforcing a negative business mindset by downplaying the prosperity they have. The reality is that business is counting on the Holiday Season to somehow pull them through into a pinnacle of victory that rarely comes. They talk the same games every year. Talking business down even when business is up is not the way to foster prosperity.

Enough with the auto industry and consumer financing schemes! Americans don’t need all that now. This writer has made certain that he is on a spending vacation. Many others are in the same reality, whether out of necessity or self-imposed discipline. Americans need to regroup and explore the economic world they live in for any advantage that they can find to keep them moving forward. The nation is catching its collective breath after a financial burnout. The nation cannot continue to finance away the future for the moment nor continue to give money away. Money is our blood, sweat and tears: the building blocks of life. Bankers and Americans alike must face the facts. We are at a new place in the business cycle and in life.

If we stop grousing about how bad things are when they are not Mr. Retailer, we can actually enjoy what we have. Prosperity is relative. Unfortunately, Retail America has outrageous expectations and government statisticians are ever hopeful of a tax windfall, yet eternally unsatisfied that they can’t fleece their victims more effectively to bolster government agendas with more give-away programs.

big ticket greed

big ticket greed

Hope springs eternal in government to squirm away from the worst slump in housing in many decades and a severe credit crunch from pushing the country into a deep recession, ignoring the fact that we didn’t get here as a nation simply as part of an economic cycle or downturn. Bankers and financiers brought us here, fare and square to this place in the road and aside from a few unscrupulous home buyers, Americans are victims from lack of banking regulation and integrity, endless profiteering through investment vehicles combined with government inattention, always hoping for better on the gravy train of tomorrow. The nation has been firmly addicted to credit and keeping up with the Joneses. This part of the cycle is payment for that.

It time for a new chapter in America including rethinking what we do for a better future, inflation aside. Todays sales figures will ultimately take care of themselves as the nation rebalances from a huge economic and worldwide debacle perpetrated through boundless greed and financed through predatory lending across the board by winners like GMC, Capital One and Countrywide. Financial predators have abounded.

What the nation does will either slow down the cycle of recovery or get it over with faster. The decision is up to America, partly grounded in our own attitudes. As a retired financial analyst and economist, I know the difference between economic theory and reality. I’ve lived it in the trenches. This writer is for getting the economic pain over with instead of prolonging the pain through more addictive medication. ~ E. Manning

March 25, 2007

American Express Plans RFID for Marketing

Filed under: banking, government, money, RFID, security — Tags: , , , , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 4:03 pm

U.S. Patent Application #20050038718 details the use of RFID readers that American Express calls “consumer trackers” to closely watch people in stores. The idea is that RFID-embedded objects carried by the shopper would emit a “consumer identification signal” when queried by consumer tracker devices in the environment. Businesses would pick up this signal and use it to identify shoppers, track their movements, and observe their behavior.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office File

Here are the main features of the patent for the tracking system:

“…consumer interface [configured to…provide a consumer identity signal to a radio frequency identification reader via a radio frequency signal] may also collect and transmit time and location information (more…)

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.