Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Next Financial Crisis Is Already Here! John Lewis 99% Profits CRASH - Retail Sector Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Why Is Apple Giving This Tiny Stock A $900 Million Opportunity? - James Burgess
3.Gold Price Trend Analysis - - Nadeem_Walayatt
4.The Beginning of the End of the Dollar - Richard_Mills
5.Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Hindenburg Omen & Consumer Confidence: More Signs of Stock Market Trouble in 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
7.Precious Metals Sector: It’s 2013 All Over Again - P_Radomski_CFA
8.Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk - Ellen_Brown
9.Gold Stocks Forced Capitulation - Zeal_LLC
10.The Post Bubble Market Contraction Thesis Receives Validation - Plunger
Last 7 days
2019’s Hottest Commodity Is About To Explode - 15th Oct 18
Keep A Proper Perspective About Stock Market Recent Move - 15th Oct 18
Is the Stocks Bull Dead? - 15th Oct 18
Stock Market Bottoms are a Process - 15th Oct 18
Fed is Doing More Than Just Raising Rates - 14th Oct 18
Stock Markets Last Cheap Sector - Gold - 14th Oct 18
Next Points for Crude Oil Bears - 13th Oct 18
Stock Market Crash: Time to Buy Stocks? - 12th Oct 18
Sheffield Best Secondary School Clusters for 2018-19 Place Applications - 12th Oct 18
Trump’s Tariffs Echo US Trade Policy That Led to the Great Depression - 12th Oct 18
US Dollar Engulfing Bearish Pattern Warns Of Dollar Weakness - 12th Oct 18
Stock Market Storm Crash, Dow Plunges to Trend Forecast! - 12th Oct 18
SP500 Stock Market Sell Off Well Forecast by President Trump - 11th Oct 18
USD and US Tr. Yields Retreat, GBP Gains on Brexit-deal Report - 11th Oct 18
Loss Of Yield Curve "Shock Absorber" Could Mean A Rough Ride Ahead For Markets & Housing - 11th Oct 18
Just How Bearish is the Stock Market’s Breadth? - 11th Oct 18
Here’s Why Gold Stocks, Gold, and Silver Are Great Buys Now - 10th Oct 18
Russian Ruble Technical Chart Analysis and Forecast - 10th Oct 18
Society Trends To Keep in Mind in the USA - 10th Oct 18
[eBook] How to Identify Turning Points in the Market - 10th Oct 18
Euro Vulnerable as Slowing Growth Reveals Underlying Issues - 9th Oct 18
Construction Companies to Watch For in 2019 - 9th Oct 18
ECB Meeting Minutes and US Inflation Data in Focus - 9th Oct 18
Interest Rate Shock-Time to Find Out Who has been Swimming Naked - 9th Oct 18
Unintended Consequences of Expanding Sheffield's Best Ranking State Secondary Schools - 9th Oct 18
Crude Oil Price Trend Forecast 2018 Update - 9th Oct 18
Inflation Is Starting To Heat Up - 8th Oct 18
Stock Market Seasonal Influence at Work - 8th Oct 18
Barrick Randgold Deal Breathes New Life into Gold - 8th Oct 18
Stock Market Sell Off, Dollar Rally Expected, Now What? - 8th Oct 18
The Chartology of Gold and Silver - 8th Oct 18
The Income for Life Playbook - 8th Oct 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Trading Any Market

Is Risk-Free Banking Possible?

Politics / Credit Crisis 2013 Sep 23, 2013 - 06:22 AM GMT

By: Mike_Shedlock

Politics

Reader "Nate" noted that Bloomberg columnist Megan McArdle stated that banning Fractional Reserve banking won't work.

Nate asked "What would a future without fractional-reserve banking look like?"


Let's start with a look at Megan McArdle's article: Banking Without Risk Is Impossible.

The fundamental fact of a banking crisis, which is different from a crisis in any other industry, is that if people believe a financial institution to be bankrupt, it actually is bankrupt.

As Arnold Kling puts it, banks exist to reconcile the desire of households to lend short and borrow long -- we want to have bank accounts we can empty at any time we want, but we want mortgage loans that carry fixed payments and last for decades.

This creates a vulnerability at the heart of modern banks: If too many depositors try to turn their bank accounts into cash at the same time, the bank will be insolvent, because it cannot liquidate the mortgages fast enough to pay the depositors. And when are you most likely to get a flood of people trying to empty their accounts? When they think the bank is insolvent.

So why not build a banking system where this can't happen? Well, alright. How shall we do that? Are we going to forbid the structure of modern banks ("fractional reserve banking," for those who are interested in the technical term).

Leave aside the irony that outlawing a practice engaged in by millions of upstanding Americans is not, at first blush, a particularly libertarian solution.

I've heard arguments that you could fix this by allowing banks to freeze withdrawals in the event of a liquidity crisis. But I'm unpersuaded because during the Great Depression many places did freeze withdrawals.....

Megan McArdle Wrong Twice

For starters a 100% reserve system is indeed a "particularly libertarian solution" for the simple reason fractional reserve lending is fraud.

If I lent you a house that I did not have ownership of (or rights of control to), I surely would be convicted of fraud. If I sold you 100 tons of wheat, and only had 10, I likewise would be convicted of fraud.

Reflections on "Legitimate" Right-To-Use

Some argue that as long as customers agree to these various banking schemes it is OK.

However, it's not OK because such lending is nothing more than a gigantic kiting scheme. Moreover, it affects others by cheapening the value of money, pushing up asset prices for the benefit of those with first access to money, the banks and the wealthy.

Logically, two people cannot have the right to use the same money at the same time, whether they agree to such a scheme or not!

Banks are allowed to lend money that does not exist, but if you or I did it, we would be convicted of kiting (fraud).

100% Reserve System Does Not Mean There Will Be No Loans

Megan McArdle is also wrong about lending. A 100% reserve system does not mean there will be no loans. Instead it means banks cannot make loans for longer duration than they have ownership or control of the money.

If banks want to lend money for 30 years then need to have 30-year term deposits. If banks want to lend for 5-years then they need to secure money for 5 years. Might this mean the end of 30-year mortgages?

Perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps it just means the end of cheap 30-year mortgages. As far as I am concerned that would be a good thing. 30-year mortgages with credit created out of nowhere fueled the property bubble.

Would it mean the end of mortgages? Certainly not but 10 and 15-year mortgages would carry a far lower rate than 30-year mortgages than they do now. And why shouldn't they? Are not 30-year mortgages inherently more risky?

Checking Accounts vs. CDs

Since checking accounts represent money on demand, banks could not lend them at all in a 100% reserve system. Such deposits would indeed be risk-free. They would be fee-based, but without risk.

Want to collect interest on CDs? OK, but such deposits would no longer be risk-free.

Notice that a run on the banks in a full reserve system is not likely. 100% of demand deposits are always available. And term deposits would match term-loans and no longer.

Of course, banks can foolishly lend money and not be able to return it at the end of the period. But that is the risk people take when they lend banks money. If people do not want to take those risks, they can leave the money in checking accounts and pay a fee for storage.

For more on the case against Fractional Reserve Lending please see

Please click on the second link above and read it.

On page 46 of the book Case Against The Fed Rothbard says "By the very nature of fractional Reserve Lending, banks cannot honor all its contracts".

Does knowingly entering a contract that one cannot possibly honor, constitute fraud? Of course it does.

I have talked about these issues many times before. For a synopsis, please see Central Bank Authorized Fraud; Fractional Reserve Lending Problems Go Far Beyond "Duration Mismatch".

Megan McArdle seriously needs to read the eBooks above, starting with Case Against The Fed.

By Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management . Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Visit Sitka Pacific's Account Management Page to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

I do weekly podcasts every Thursday on HoweStreet and a brief 7 minute segment on Saturday on CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver.

When not writing about stocks or the economy I spends a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at MichaelShedlock.com .

© 2013 Mike Shedlock, All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Mike Shedlock Archive

© 2005-2018 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