There is a lot of news about the JPMorgan settlement for $13 billion and how tough the government is (finally) being. Well, I’m not sure how much the settlement really is but I know it is much less because:
- Some of it is not new. They’d already agreed to $4 billion of it
- Most of it is restitution. That is, compensating people for harm they did. They owed that money and they are not paying all they should. If I took $100 from you and then the police made me give $50 back, would you think they were doing their job?
- They are deducting most of it from their taxes. So, the government is essentially giving them a discount on it and treating it as a normal business practice.
There is one piece of potentially good news. JPMorgan asked the government to absolve them from criminal charges. The government refused. JPM actually agreed to help the government make a case against some past employees. This could conceivably be good if the government actually follows through and if they prosecute senior executives. I’m not holding my breath.
P.S. The Too-Big-to-Fail subsidy is worth tens of billions of dollars every year to the megabanks. (I think the $83 billion Bloomberg estimate is too high but it’s the right order of magnitude). JPM — the biggest of the megabanks — surely gets a decent chunk of that. EVERY YEAR. That puts the $13 billion fine (that really is costing them much less) in proper perspective.
P.P.S. According to the New York Times, the JPM board thinks that Jamie Dimon is a hero for arriving at this settlement. You can understand why.
“The bank’s board remains steadfastly behind Mr. Dimon, who holds the dual roles of chairman and chief executive. That support traces to a widespread belief among board members that the deals represent a victory for the bank as it tries to move past its woes.”
A videographer has been doing interviews of the authors of Occupy Finance
(those who are not camera shy).
You can see them here:
Chapter 1:Financialization and the 99%
Chapter 2: The Bailout: It didn’t work, it’s not over and it’s making things worse
Chapter 3: How banks make money, and keep it.
Occupy Finance, the book we published for the 2nd anniversary of the OWS protests has been very well received. So well that we are running out of the 1500 copies we printed.
We’d love to print more but we need your help. We have a campaign running on Indiegogo to raise the funds.
If you are inclined and able to help financially, please do so.
Also, please help us spread the word.
Here is a short url you can tweet.
We have published a book you can download here. Copies of the first printing have become scarce, more on that below.
We have been holding a book club before our regular meeting (2-3 PM on Sundays). We’ve had very lively discussions and attendance has been so good we’ve had to move to a larger room. You can see the schedule on our web site here.
We are trying to raise money for a second printing of the book. If you would like to help, you can donate on our web site (full disclosure, we are not a 501(c)anything so the donation s not tax-deductible and will go to an individual (who promises to use it to cover the cost of printing).
If you’d like to contact a person before donating, join our e-mail list or any other reason, our address is Alt.Banking.OWS@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!
The Alternative Banking Group has been hard at work on a book. It is finally done. We gave away a few hundred copies on S17.
It’s getting rave reviews
- FT Alphaville with Lisa Pollack
- NPR with Margot Adler
- Bloomberg with Matt Levine
- New York Times with William Alden
- Daily Kos with medicalquack
We also got a nice mention on occupy.com.
You can read it or download it here.
Better yet, e-mail alt.banking.OWS@gmail.com to request a copy or to be added to our mailing list.
Even better: come to one of our meetings and receive a copy in person.
Alternative Banking has good discussions every week. But this week should be especially lively. From 2-3 we will have a “pre-meeting” where representatives of the Occupy Money Cooperative will discuss their plans and we can have an open discussion.
From 3-5 we will have our usual meeting with an agenda collectively decided. But, we expect someone who helped blow the whistle on HSBC money-laundering to terrorists will attend.
Don’t miss it.
I was planning to post another complaint about the system as it is.
But Linda forwarded me this “Bank Attack” video that put a smile on my face. “I’ll show you how to organize this anger y’all got.”
I figured I would share it.
Good news from the UK. UK Uncut forces closure of HSBC branches in tax protest
In case you haven’t been following, HSBC admitted to money-laundering for drug cartels.
Stephen Green, a ordained priest of the Anglican Church, was CEO of HSBC during most of the scandal. He is now UK Minister of Trade and Investment..
From the UK, we have word that the PM will be introducing a “New Law to Jail Banksters“.
I suppose this is a good thing but I do have a problem with it. It promotes the fiction that past bank behavior was legal. The refrain is “yes, they did some terrible things but unfortunately they weren’t against the law. ” Reject this myth.
Some of the activities in the sub-prime crisis were borderline but there was also clear lawbreaking, then or more recently. For instance, a tape just came out of Irish bankers talking about how they would deceive the government into bailing them out in 2008 by lying about how bad their situation was.
I’m not a lawyer but doesn’t that sound like conspiracy to commit fraud?
Then there was the decade of money-laundering to drug cartels and others that HSBC has admitted to. Aren’t there laws against that?
And most recently, the NY Times says that the SEC is accusing JPMorgan exec Blythe Masters of “‘false and misleading statements’ under oath”
Isn’t that the definition of perjury? Isn’t perjury a crime?
This is why a chapter of Alternative Banking’s upcoming book is titled: The Legal Rules the Financial Sector Just Ignores: a list of crimes.
You can get a preview of the book here (unfortunately, not yet including that chapter).
So, we don’t need new laws as much as enforcement of existing laws.
Three years late, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally has a leader who isn’t just “acting”.
This only happened after extensive pressure from the public including hundreds of thousands of names on petitions sponsored by the Americans for Financial Reform and other public interest groups.
We need to keep the pressure on Washington.
For instance, Obama caved on getting good people approved for the National Labor Relations Board. In a shadowy deal, he swapped the people labor wanted for more “acceptable” alternatives. Perhaps with more outcry this too would have come out better.