Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
Gold and Understanding the Current Investment Reality - 10th Apr 20
See a Stock Price Gap? Learn to Capitalize on Them - 10th Apr 20
A Rare Bottoming Pattern on the HUI Gold Stocks? - 10th Apr 20
Here Comes Another $2T Support for Stocks - 10th Apr 20
Expectations For Higher Gold Prices – Fly In The Ointment - 10th Apr 20
Redefining Political Economy, Globalization & Business Models Consequent on Corona Virus Pandemics - 9th Apr 20
Plus500 Rreview - 9th Apr 20
Gold Price Closely Tracks Debt-to-GDP Ratio - 9th Apr 20
Gold, Silver and Rigged Market Socialism - 9th Apr 20
Going to School in Lockdown Britain, Dobcroft Sheffield - 9th Apr 20
Amazon Face Masks to Protect Against Covid-19 Viral Particles N95, FPP2, PM2.5, for Kids and Adults - 9th Apr 20
Is Natural Gas Price Ready For An April Rally? - 8th Apr 20
Market Predictions And The Business Implications - 8th Apr 20
When Will UK Coronavirus Crisis Imrpove - Infections and Deaths Trend Trajectory Analysis - 8th Apr 20
BBC Newsnight Focuses on Tory Leadership Whilst Boris Johnson Fights for his Life! - 8th Apr 20
The Big Short Guides us to What is Next for the Stock Market - 8th Apr 20
USD Index Sheds Light on the Upcoming Gold Move - 8th Apr 20
The Post CoronaVirus New Normal - 8th Apr 20
US Coronavirus Trend Trajectory Forecast Current State - 7th Apr 20
Boris Johnson Fighting for his Life In Intensive Care - UK Coronavirus Crisis - 7th Apr 20
Precious Metals Are About To Reset Like In 2008 – Gold Bugs, Buckle Up! - 7th Apr 20
Crude Oil's 2020 Crash: See What Helped (Some) Traders Pivot Just in Time - 7th Apr 20
Was the Fed Just Nationalized? - 7th Apr 20
Gold & Silver Mines Closed as Physical Silver Becomes “Most Undervalued Asset” - 7th Apr 20
US Coronavirus Blacktop Politics - 7th Apr 20
Coronavirus is America's "Pearl Harbour" Moment, There Will be a Reckoning With China - 6th Apr 20
Coronavirus Crisis Exposes Consequences of Fed Policy: Americans Have No Savings - 6th Apr 20
The Stock Market Is Not a Magic Money Machine - 6th Apr 20
Gold Stocks Crash, V-Bounce! - 6th Apr 20
How Can Writing Business Essay Help You In Business Analytics Skills - 6th Apr 20
PAYPAL WARNING - Your Stimulus Funds Are at Risk of Being Frozen for 6 Months! - 5th Apr 20
Stocks Hanging By the Fingernails? - 5th Apr 20
US Federal Budget Deficits: To $30 Trillion and Beyond - 5th Apr 20
The Lucrative Profitability Of A Move To Negative Interest Rates - Pandemic Edition - 5th Apr 20
Visa Denials: How to avoid it and what to do if your Visa is denied? - 5th Apr 20 - Uday Tank
WARNING PAYPAL Making a Grab for US $1200 Stimulus Payments - 4th Apr 20
US COVID-19 Death Toll Higher Than China’s Now. Will Gold Rally? - 4th Apr 20
Concerned That Asia Could Blow A Hole In Future Economic Recovery - 4th Apr 20
Bracing for Europe’s Coronavirus Contractionand Debt Crisis - 4th Apr 20
Stocks: When Grass Looks Greener on the Other Side of the ... Pond - 3rd Apr 20
How the C-Factor Could Decimate 2020 Global Gold and Silver Production - 3rd Apr 20
US Between Scylla and Charybdis Covid-19 - 3rd Apr 20
Covid19 What's Your Risk of Death Analysis by Age, Gender, Comorbidities and BMI - 3rd Apr 20
US Coronavirus Infections & Deaths Trend Trajectory - How Bad Will it Get? - 2nd Apr 20
Silver Looks Bearish Short to Medium Term - 2nd Apr 20
Mickey Fulp: 'Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste' - 2nd Apr 20
Stock Market Selloff Structure Explained – Fibonacci On Deck - 2nd Apr 20
COVID-19 FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN: Can PAYPAL Be Trusted to Handle US $1200 Stimulus Payments? - 2nd Apr 20
Day in the Life of Coronavirus LOCKDOWN - Sheffield, UK - 2nd Apr 20
UK Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Trend Trajectory - Deviation Against Forecast - 1st Apr 20
Huge Unemployment Is Coming. Will It Push Gold Prices Up? - 1st Apr 20
Gold Powerful 2008 Lessons That Apply Today - 1st Apr 20
US Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Projections Trend Forecast - Video - 1st Apr 20
From Global Virus Acceleration to Global Debt Explosion - 1st Apr 20
UK Supermarkets Coronavirus Panic Buying Before Lock Down - Tesco Empty Shelves - 1st Apr 20
Gold From a Failed Breakout to a Failed Breakdown - 1st Apr 20
P FOR PANDEMIC - 1st Apr 20
The Past Stock Market Week Was More Important Than You May Understand - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus - No, You Do Not Hear the Fat Lady Warming Up - 31st Mar 20
Life, Religions, Business, Globalization & Information Technology In The Post-Corona Pandemics Age - 31st Mar 20
Three Charts Every Stock Market Trader and Investor Must See - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus Stocks Bear Market Trend Forecast - Video - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus Dow Stocks Bear Market Into End April 2020 Trend Forecast - 31st Mar 20
Is it better to have a loan or credit card debt when applying for a mortgage? - 31st Mar 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Coronavirus-stocks-bear-market-2020-analysis

Reviving the Economy with Publicly Owned Banks

Economics / Credit Crisis 2009 Oct 15, 2009 - 04:59 PM GMT

By: Ellen_Brown

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleThe credit crunch is getting worse on Main Street, despite a Wall Street bailout that is now in the trillions of dollars. The Federal Reserve's charts show that "base money" is rapidly expanding - meaning coins, paper money, and commercial banks' reserves with the central bank. But the money isn't making it to where it needs to go to stimulate economic growth: into the bank accounts of American businesses and consumers. The Fed has been pumping out money to the banks, and their reserves have been growing at unprecedented rates; but the money supply in the real economy has been declining.


According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writing last month in the UK Telegraph, U.S. bank credit and M3 (the broadest measure of the money supply) contracted over the summer at rates comparable to the onset of the Great Depression. In the summer quarter, U.S. bank loans fell at an annual pace of almost 14 percent. "There has been nothing like this in the USA since the 1930s," said Professor Tim Congdon of International Monetary Research. "The rapid destruction of money balances is madness."

Chartered banks are allowed to create credit on their books equal to many times their deposit base, but lately they haven't been doing it. In more normal times, one dollar in base money has been fanned by the banks into $8.50 in loans. Today, one dollar in base money is producing only one dollar in loans. Although the Fed has been frantically pushing cash into the banks, it can't make them lend to consumers.

This is not because the banks are trying to be difficult. If they had prudent loans on which to turn a profit and the capital base to do it, they no doubt would. But their books have been choked with toxic assets, destroying their capital positions; and the "shadow lenders" who once took subprime loans off their books have gotten wise to the scam and gone away. Bankers who know the endangered state of their own books don't trust each other, so money is tight all around. And the Fed has already dropped interest rates as low as they can go, so it has no more leverage with which to entice borrowers.

Local Government to the Rescue?

The Fed may have played all its cards, but state and local governments still hold a few aces. Some local politicians are looking into the feasibility of opening their own publicly-owned banks, providing them with their own credit machines. A new public bank would have a clean set of books, untainted by the Wall Street addiction to gambling in complex derivatives; and its profits would go back to the local government and community, rather than being siphoned off in exorbitant salaries, bonuses and dividends. A publicly-owned bank could funnel credit where it is needed most, directly into the local economy.

One legislator who is considering a publicly-owned bank is Bruno Barreiro, County Commissioner for Miami-Dade County in Florida. In a September 23 article titled "Capital Sources: Recession Steers Banks Away from Business as Usual", The Daily Business Review reported that Miami-Dade is planning to conduct a feasibility study proposing alternatives for becoming its own depository. Said the journal:

"Barreiro notes that throughout the year, a portion of the county's $7.5 billion operating budget is deposited with outside financial institutions in return for an interest rate. However, he feels that given the instability of many banks, the county might be better off going into such a business on its own."

Brian Bandell, writing in The South Florida Business Journal on September 11, reported that Barreiro's concern is that bank accounts are insured by the FDIC for only up to $250,000. Some businesses have lost millions of dollars in uninsured deposits when banks failed. The county often has over $50 million in a single account. If the county were to open its own depository institution, it could safeguard against these losses.

However, said Bandell, Barreiro is not proposing to allow the institution to make loans. Rather, the state's money would be invested conservatively in Treasury bonds. The problem with that approach, said Miami banking analyst Kenneth Thomas, is that it would be a challenge to get good interest rates for the county's deposits without making loans. "There's a reason most other municipalities aren't doing it," he said.

In stopping short of making loans, the county could be missing a major business opportunity. The average interest rate on U.S. government bonds is currently 3.35%. If the funds in Miami-Dade's operating budget were deposited in the county's own bank, the money could serve as the reserves to support at least nine times that sum in loans. Assuming an average interest rate of 5% on these loans, the county could increase its revenues by over 1,000% (45% vs. 3.35%). [A fuller explanation and references are here.]

Maximizing the Potential of a Publicly-owned Bank

Economist Farid Khavari is a Democratic candidate for governor of Florida in 2010. He proposes a Bank of the State of Florida (BSF) that would take full advantage of the potential of a bank charter. It would not only act as a depository for the state's funds but would actually make loans to Floridians, at much lower interest rates than they are getting now. Among other benefits, the BSF could open up frozen credit markets, save homeowners many thousands of dollars in payments, produce major revenues for the state, and allow the state's own debts to be refinanced at much lower rates. All those benefits are possible, says Khavari, because of the "fractional reserve" banking system used by all banks when they make loans. As he explained in a July 29 article in Reuters:

"Using the fractional reserve regulations that govern all banks, we can earn billions per year for Florida's treasury, while saving thousands of dollars per year for Florida homeowners. . . . For $100 in deposits, a bank can create $900 in new money by making loans. So, the BSF can pay 6% for CDs, and make mortgage loans at 2%. For $6 per year in interest paid out, the BSF can earn $18 by lending $900 at 2% for mortgages.

"The BSF can be started at no cost to taxpayers, and will be a permanent engine driving Florida's economy. We can refinance state and local projects at 3%, saving taxpayers billions and balancing state and local budgets without higher taxes."

The state would earn $15,000 per $100,000 of mortgage, at a cost of about $1,700; while the homeowner would save $88,000 in interest and pay for the home 15 years sooner. "Our bank will save people about seven years of their pay over the course of 30 years, just on interest costs," Khavari said. "We should work to support ourselves and our families, not the banks. . . . What we have now . . . makes everyone work for a few greedy fat cats."

Earlier Models

This sort of healthy public competition for the private banking monopoly has earlier precedents, going back to the colony of Pennsylvania in Benjamin Franklin's day. Before Pennsylvania founded its own bank, the province was having difficulty attracting settlers, because there was a shortage of money with which to conduct trade. The settlers could get credit only by borrowing from the British bankers at a hefty 8% interest, and even those loans were hard to come by. The provincial government then got the bright idea of printing its own paper money and lending it to the farmers at 5% interest. When credit became cheaper and more freely available, the local economy flourished.

The only state that owns its own bank today is North Dakota. North Dakota is also one of only two states (along with Montana) that are on track to meet their budgets by 2010; it has the lowest unemployment rate in the country; and it has the largest budget surplus it has ever had, tallying in at $1.3 billion. Why this cold and isolated farming state should be doing so well when other states are teetering on bankruptcy has been the subject of several TV commentaries, including a spoof by Conan O'Brien on NBC's Tonight Show, which attributed it to theft by local farmers from tourists. But North Dakota's real secret seems to be that it has escaped the Wall Street credit debacle. The state has generated its own credit through its own publicly-owned bank for nearly a century.

The Bank of North Dakota (BND) was founded in 1919, when a political party called the Non Partisan League succeeded in uniting farmers suffering from an earlier credit crisis. The BND's website states that the bank was originally formed to create additional competition in the credit industry, while providing a local source of capital for state investment and development. The BND avoids opposition from other banks by partnering with them in loan projects. According to the bank's website:

"The primary deposit base of the BND is the State of North Dakota. All state funds and funds of state institutions are deposited with the bank as required by law. . . . Use of the banks' earnings are at the discretion of the state legislature. As an agent of the state it can make subsidized loans to spur development . . . . [It] underwrites municipal bonds for all of the political units in the state, and has been one of the leading banks in the nation in the number of student loans issued. The bank also serves as the state's 'Mini Fed' . . . . As a result of the banks' services, it enjoys widespread support among the public and the independent banking community."

Bringing the Model Current

The private banking system is in systemic failure, and the public is waking up to the fact. We have been fleeced by Wall Street, the banks are not providing loans, and our savings are no longer secure. The publicly-owned Bank of North Dakota has provided an alternative model that has worked remarkably well for nearly a century.

The BND has been around for so long, however, that skeptics can write off the state's remarkable success to other factors. A modern-day public bank that quickly turned its flagging local economy around could set a precedent that was irrefutable. If Florida were to establish a successful public banking model, it could blaze a trail out of the economic wilderness for local governments everywhere.

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her earlier books focused on the pharmaceutical cartel that gets its power from “the money trust.” Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are www.webofdebt.com and www.ellenbrown.com.

Ellen Brown is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Ellen Brown

© Copyright Ellen Brown , Global Research, 2009

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules